Friday, July 10, 2009

Soap Box Friday: Give Yourself A Creativity Boost

maternity photography
Originally uploaded by Dalia Drulia

Good Morning Everybody,
Oh, the revelations one finds on the Internet. My buddy Damien was showing me his new iPhone yesterday. He brought up Google Maps to show me how cool that was on the iPhone. With some quick finger gymnastics, he brings up Google Street View and there it is, our home right in front of me - on Trash Day - now for the entire world to see.

I wonder if I could send Google an updated pic that shows the house in a much better light;~) Anyway, still haven't picked up the iPhone yet - too many buttons to make a phone call if you ask me - even if it is so easy a "caveman could do it."

Today I thought I would be showing you some burning sunsets from my shoot last night. Unfortunately the sunset was a "grey" sunset - not much happenin'. We're rescheduled for next Monday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate then.

One more thing - I'm asking you guys and girls the best time to schedule webinars. The first one I did went "gangbusters" so I thought 2:00 P.M. EDT was a good time for a worldwide audience. Anyway, please give me your feed back in the POLL to the right - I sure would appreciate it.

So how about we get on with today's post. Here we go...

Give Yourself A Creativity Boost
I received a call earlier this week from a very good friend of mine, Ralph Romaguera. Ralph and his sons run one of the most successful high school senior studios in the country - Romaguerra Studios. They are head quartered in New Orleans, Louisiana and have been doing business there - even through Katrina - for over 37 years.

Ralph called for two reasons. The first was to invite LaDawn and I to be part of one of the Krewe's in next year's Mardi Gras celebration. It looks like this time I'll make it -- I can't wait. I'll keep you posted when Mardi Gras rolls around next year. The other reason for the call was to share with me a story and experience he had recently with one of his employees. I think it really brings to bear something we all need to consider if we really want to bring our best to our photography in our studio operations.

It seems Ralph's employee had just finished a maternity shoot. The results were okay but Ralph, with his years of experience, thought the shoot could've hit a higher level with the images captured during that session. He says to me, "You know, a singer would never hit the stage without warming up his/her voice. A runner would never run a race before without going through all the muscle stretching warm-up exercises. A pilot would never fly a plane before working through his pre-flight checklist."

He mentioned to his employee that he personally spends 30 minutes each day cruising the Internet for image ideas which you can use to enhance the images he produces for his clients. I thought that sounded like a GREAT idea. How much time do we spend practicing our profession? For many of us the answer is not much at all.

Practice means more than just shooting. Practice also means exploring the possibilities of like-minded photographers to see how they photograph similar subjects. Back in the old days, Ralph and I both purchased what many of lecturers of the day provided. These were called The Master Sets of images.

We used these image Master sets as our guides to improve our own photography. My first Masters set of images was purchased by legendary wedding photographer, Monte Zucker. Monty unfortunately passed away a few years ago but his website Monte still offers some great insights for classical portraiture.

Today we have no excuse not to explore the creative ideas and practice the possibilities presented by so many other photographers on the Internet.

Let's just do a little exercise here. Let's say you were the photographer working for my friend Ralph. You have a maternity shoot at 10 o'clock on Tuesday morning. When you approach that shoot with only your current "toolbox" of ideas, will you be satisfied with the result? Let's hit the Net and see what the other possibilities are for maternity photos shown by other photographers. Here is the link for several that I found online at Flickr.

Sure, you have to separate the "wheat from the chaff". But as I browsed through the first 10 pages of thumbnails, I found images that in many cases were creative, sexy, and simply striking in their rendition of the subject.

This exercise can be played out in so many other aspects of our photographic endeavors. I love Ralph's idea of just spending 30 minutes each day studying and practicing our craft. The obvious benefit is that you give yourself a mental squeeze of our "brain juices" to get that stream of creativity flowing. Heck, maybe your next shoot will reflect some of that newly discovered creativity.

Hey gang, that's it for me today. We've got a big wedding again this weekend and I've got batteries to charge, lenses to polished, and flash cards to be cleared. Have a great weekend and I'll plan to see everybody on the flip side of the weekend. Arrivederci, -- David


  1. I signed up for the first webinar without thinking of the time difference and was very upset that I was at work and missed it. Not all of us are pro photogs and can just drop what we are doing and tune in. (I live in California and work from 8am to 5pm).
    I go through the "What should I write about" questions once a week and I am very interested in some of the topics..I even suggusted one my self. Please find a way to include me in on the webinar!

  2. On the iphone...if you use voice control, you only have to hit one button to make a phone call...I use it all the time and it works great!

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  4. I recently read one of Monty's books- certainly some great information there.

    I have to agree that we all should practice ... especially professionals and those who aspire to be the professional, people don't pay you for mediocrity - people are likely to be doing what you should be doing, checking others' work! when they walk into your studio, they've probably got a preconceived notion of what it is they want to see. They certainly will expect you to astound them, and you sure can't do that when you only shoot one way, every day!

    We all have limits to our creative-ness, so we look at others' for more inspiration ...

    The inspired artist will deliver more satisfied client smiles, than the uninspired.

    At least that's my opinion.

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  6. Hi David. Thank you for your thoughts. I know that in the past (as a very green photographer) I would think that the ideas should already be in my head. I felt that looking at others work was cheating or even stealing.

    But now I see the wisdom that comes with doing my homework. There is nothing new under the sun, and there are a lot of photogs out there that are tons more creative than I am and I can learn from them. Thank you.

  7. Hi David. I signed-up and was lucky to catch your first webinar but I have a day job and more times than not I would not be able to attend. As small as the price tag is, that's the only reason I haven't signed-up for the upcoming webinar. Thanks, Brian F.

  8. David, I get up every day and the first thing I do is grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer and catch your blog, The Stobist, Joe McNally's blog, the PlanetNiel blog, Flash Flavor, and a couple of others. FotoFriends of mine cannot believe I do this regularly, and complain that they wish they had time to do it. Well, ya gotta just make time for it.

  9. One thing that the iPhone (or an iPod Touch) does REALLY well for photographers is that it can work as a very nice portable portfolio device. Load up some great photos and it can be easily shown to anyone you come across.

  10. For iphone based inspiration, there is a portfolio available in the app store for Australian Wedding Photographer Jerry Ghionis shots include set-up information also. Jerry is revered as one of the top-twenty wedding photographers in the world.