Your Camera Sucks. Your Lenses Suck. But How Is Your Creative Vision?

Creative vision outdoes the best camera gear any day of the week.

I’m writing this blog post fully admitting that I haven’t done a truly creative project or even image in a little while. It’s been well over two years since I’ve given myself a project and a few months since I created an image. When I say create, I don’t mean document. I don’t mean put a light in front of a model and just shoot. I mean full set creation, manually controlling every aspect of the scene, an original idea, etc. What I’ve known for many years is that new cameras don’t make you a better photographer. They help you do new things that you couldn’t do before if you use certain features, but at the end of it all, you’re the one who creates the images. And a solid creative can shoot sports with a pinhole camera in a very unique way that only they can do.

I think creative vision is fully realized when you are able to match the artistic side with the technical side of you. When the two sides can talk to one another through you, the interpreter, they can create art. Sometimes it’s hard because you have to listen to two conversations at once. And the technical execution of an emotional idea isn’t so simple. There is no Google translate for it. Your camera and your lens will always only do what you tell them to do, not what they think you want, because they can’t think!

This takes practice. It takes planning. It takes setting and achieving goals. That’s why professional photographers have producers. Where I see this lacking the most is in groups where photographers simply just do nudes. What’s the intent of the nudes? What are you trying to express? Are you doing everything in the scene to express such a thing? I see this talked about more and more in groups on Flickr, Facebook, Reddit, etc. Saying that you’re nude and that you’re being set free, with nothing in the photo to really convey that, is saying a lot. I learned this in photojournalism. The elements of the scene are key and always have to be there. It’s incredibly difficult to do that and capture things in a scene that say that. But when you’re creating the scene, you have the freedom to place all the elements in there.

It’s very possible that you’re a person that doesn’t care about being creative and instead just cares about taking pictures. You might like pixel peeping. But where is the human element to what you’re doing?

I think before folks move onto another camera, they should explore every aspect of what they have. Got an Olympus? Why don’t you use the Art filters? What about a Nikon? Have you tried their timelapse features? Or Panasonic’s 6K Photo mode? We should be true creatives and more importantly, we should be creative before we even pick the camera up to take a photo. There ideally should be less time with the camera in your hand and more time with you seeing the shot beforehand. Figure it out, then shoot. I’m specifically speaking to the creative process here, not the documentary process. But overall, what I’m saying is that we should be concerned more about shooting with intent. And that intent should fully realize our emotions and our technical prowess.