How I work as photographer:
The thing is, I cannot force creativity upon myself - heck, I have weeks, months and sometimes years were nothing photo creative happens to me. I can take a lot of pictures on "autopilot" and get a decent amount of keepers - sometimes even pretty good ones - based on my photography experience and what others inspire me to redo, in my own "adjusted" way. It's pretty da** rare I'm actually genuinely creative, so I have learned myself a modus operandi that works, but unfortunately does little to stimulate proper creativity.
My approach is to start shooting with autopilot engaged to find inspiration for images that can leverage the compositional preferences and subject matter experience I have. This usually gets me decent but hardly unique or new images, but then - once in while - true creativity hits me, and I open a whole new door compared to my previous work, motives or compositions.
I'm VERY FAR from the kind of photographer that "sees" the image before I press the shutter. In fact, I rarely even have any real inspiration before I press the shutter. What I generally do is this:
- I see something interesting, pretty or very OCD friendly (Lots of symmetry, lines and clutter free)
- I take an initial photo to see how it looks as a thumbnail image
- OR -
- I see the photographer next to me shoot a motive that I never thought about for two seconds, but the camera thumbnail looks interesting.
- I try not to be the obvious copycat and take an initial photo from a very different position to see how it looks as a thumbnail image.
For both approaches I then complete the process by:
- I evaluate the thumbnail and start thinking about how I can reorganize the lines, the composition and subject itself to make it interesting.
- I try to realize my experience based, thought out improvements, into a final new image
As you can see it's hardly original creativity and inspiration that makes up the bulk off my images - rather it's experience, sheer numbers and a disciplined shooting strategy that pays off. As the years have gone by, I have gotten better at each step in this modus operandi, and when the subject is obviously right at first sight I can sometimes even start directly at the last step. I have also gotten increasingly better at pre-qualifying the subjects in step one, and saving me a lot of shots.
I like this process of improving, and I am king of the world when true creativity strikes me. My photography is the continued search for that kick :-)