Creative photography is the art of visioning things with a different perception. Usually, scenic photographers capture nature as accurately and sharply as possible. More often than not, too much effort is put in getting things perfectly in frame, getting sharp pictures, avoiding motion blur, preventing backlight etc. However, the whole idea of creative photography is anything but all this. It is more about creating the right mood and looking at it from a whole new light and perspective. Creative photographers have also been seen to break all rules of photography by producing more backlight, zooming in and showing only a particular aspect of the whole frame. It is said, that the aim of a real photographer should always be to highlight an aspect of the object excluding everything else that may seem important. Because creativity has no standard definition, it is always open to interpretation and is strictly subjective. A painstakingly created light effect may be considered as a moment of coincidence or fluke by another. Leaving it to that, let me just take you to a couple of images that I thought were creative. I would also like to explain the technique used and the thought process behind the whole picture. The readers however can feel free to beg to differ. The following text also sheds some light on how you could use some techniques to your favor.
Lighting effects: Use of external light and exposure control to create and achieve various effects While treading the beautiful journey of creative photography, always start with lighting. Play with light as much as possible and you will see how easy it is to achieve and produce interesting and unique effects. While I was at one such moment, a ray of light fell on the leaf beautifully. This put me in an instant contemplation as to what would the ant see from within the leaf. Like the sound of a bell, I instantly pulled out my external flash, leaned as close as possible and captured the image that you see below. This image shows a highlighted leaf texture with the help of light because of which interesting colors have been created. The right exposure and accurate flash power did the trick.
I have displayed this image in many of my exhibitions and my win here is that not many have been able to comprehend that this green color is nothing but just a leaf. Another way of playing with light is by using either under-expose or over-expose. When you capture leaves or flowers, the colors are strongly dependant on the exposure. For the amateurs, let us understand what these terms mean.
Over-exposure: Over-exposing a purple color flower usually turns it into shades of pink. The image shown below is a karvi flower with no edits done. Nevertheless, by over-exposing, you can add pastel effects and colors and give the flower a dreamy and transparent look. My aim here was to portray this flower in a much softer ad gentler way for which you can use exposure control to play with textures and colors.
Under-exposure: Colors like red are always prone to over-exposure which destroys the color depth. To avoid this, it is always wise to under-expose the color red so that the tone is maintained. It also keeps the contrast intact giving it an interesting look as shown in the image below. This particular flower is deep red and I have tried to display the color depth.
Details as an anchor point: There are times when capturing a certain aspect of a whole image creates a rather interesting frame with unique characteristics. This usually happens with super macro. Flowers are the best subjects that tend to lend themselves very well to this technique; because flowers have layers of petals, sepals and stamens, you can choose an image of your choice. Image shown below is a capture focusing on the central part of the flower. The angle and the composition were set in such a way that the delicacy and color of the flower has been highlighted. Often, many photographers find challenge in clicking such photographs to get the right frame and depth of field. The zoom in so much that it often becomes difficult to capture the right frame and also since flowers has many petals. How you move your camera is how well your picture will be. Photographers also find many challenges while capturing frames in the wild because of unusual yet interesting sights. For instance, in the image below, you can see that the ant has eaten up a section of the leaf which has changed the color of the leaf to a great extent. This was probably the easiest frame to capture. But I had to ensure that the camera is held right with correct background, angle and plane.
Perspective/Position: Here is an insight to one of my many beautiful experiences as a photographer. I was at kas plateau at that time of the year when “Topli Karvi” was in full bloom. The beautiful scene remains etched in my mind till this date. The field was filled with an array of Topli. But, because it was very windy and rainy, getting the right shot was difficult. The weather was certainly not in my favor. But not wanting to give up, I went down to the height of the flowers and noticed water drops on the flowers and I my heart said you have found your frame. The image below is the same and if you ask me it is one of my favorite images so far.
Shooting water: Having said that, I personally think one of the easiest subject to capture creatively is water drops. For those who intend on starting creative photography, start from capturing water drops. I will take you through 4 images with water as the main subject but with different characters respectively.
This particular image was taken at the onset of a beautiful morning. As I was strolling I noticed a spider web close to the ground in a particular angle. The web had a nice lighting because of sunrays. I couldn’t miss this chance and I took out my camera. Exploring various angles I finally managed to get this shot. The only challenge was to get the right angle and exposure. Such photographs are also opportunity-triggered. You have to get the right shot before the sun sets or rises. So do not miss any good opportunity that makes way for a good click.
Another interesting shot was this, “string of pearls”. This had an almost oblique overhead lighting angle. This image was taken from Yeoor. The specialty of this image is that there was lighting provided by background objects and the depth of field had to be adjusted in such a way that the objects are seen but not lucid. This frame came to my attention when I was busy capturing another picture. I was completely oblivion to the fact that it would turn out to be such a brilliant picture. My idea here was to show the background and use the droplets and the stem as a disjointed object of interest with the help of rules of composition to keep a fine balance.
The image below did not really attract me in the first glance. It looked like any another grass with droplets hanging from the edge. So I waited till the sun was shining bright enough so that the sunrays can bring out a certain shine from the droplets creating star-like patterns.
The above images were shared with an intention talk about my perception about creative photographs. People who think differently may find the same photos as junk. Usually, this genre of photography is very difficult since it is situational. But every photographer tries his best to capture these images as accurately as possible. I hope this has helped you understand the concept of creative photography in a better way. As you can see from the above images, there are really no rules in creative photography. Indeed, what seems creative to me would be junk to someone else. This genre of photography is actually a bit more difficult. In normal nature photography, the photographer is trying to simply record natural phenomena, usually in as faithful and accurate a manner as possible. In that case, the artist is only recording the natural artistry. In creative photography however, the photographer is trying to impose his or her mood in the frame by using natural objects and interpreting them in his own vision. Nature does not lend itself to alternate interpretation .You need to know with a fair bit of clarity about what is the desired output. My advice to nature photographers who want to explore it creatively is to select an object. It might be a stone, flower etc. First observe it thoroughly and then shoot it from 5 different angles, focal lengths and lighting conditions. It’s really an eye-opener and can often reveal many startling and interesting things.
Or more inputs, you can look at http://creativenaturephotography.net/ and follow the works of Ganesh H Shankar (www.naturelyrics.com) who is probably one of the best proponents of creative nature photography in India.