6 Important Traits Shared by Creative Photographers


There are countless ways of expressing creativity. Some write, some draw, some make photographs, others create sculptures out of bubble gum. Each of these activities surely differ from one another in various ways, but all creative quests are facilitated by a certain way of thinking about these endeavors. Some of the following traits may apply to you, some may not; there are, of course, many other habits that could be listed here but these are among the mostly commonly cited and will benefit anyone who dares to embrace them.

They Know How to Deal with Criticism

Much of the time this will mean ignoring it. There are plenty of people online who love to crawl out from underneath their rocks for no other reason than to say something negative — explain how you should have done it, inform you as to why their way is better, state that they get nothing out of your work. There’s no point in arguing with or defending yourself to small-minded people. But it’s important to recognize when someone is being genuinely constructive and helpful. It may seem that there is a shortage of this kind of individual, but whenever you get the opportunity to absorb some knowledge and wisdom from a fellow creative, embrace it.

Angry... ?
Photo by Navaneeth KN

They Notice Everything

When you enter a space, take notice of the light and the shadows; look for interesting geometry or converging lines; notice textures; study the colors; evaluate structures within that space. No matter where you go there will be elements all around you that might contribute to a sublime photo. Be ever aware of those elements and use them to your advantage.

They Don’t Make Comparisons

Perhaps the most damaging thing you can do to your creative impulses is to compare yourself to other photographers. It’s fine to study the work of the masters and appreciate good photography wherever you may encounter it, but your goal isn’t to copy those photographers, nor should you spend your time worrying about how you don’t measure up. Accept your own and be yourself.

Apples & Oranges - They Don't Compare
Photo by Michael Johnson

They Never Stop Learning

I’m stating the obvious, but there is always something new to learn and there is always something to improve upon. If you feel you already know a lot about the type of photography you spend most of your time doing, learn about a new type of photography — macro, architectural, underwater. Expanding your understanding of one is sure to have a positive impact — whether directly or indirectly — on another.

They Are Fearless/Ready to Experiment

At the heart of artistry is experimentation. Experimentation takes courage. Finding fulfillment as a creative photographer means that you can’t rest on your laurels; you’ve got to try new things and push yourself in different directions. Experimentation requires you to break rules and take risks, and you will quickly have to come to grips with the fact that not all your experiments will be winners; that’s okay. In time you will find your footing.

Photo by _overfly_

They Trust Their Own Judgment

Be your own worst critic. Don’t let yourself get away with practicing habits and techniques that are detrimental to your creative growth. If you’re not happy with the photo you are getting ready to post to the Web, don’t click that submit button. If you are happy with it, post it proudly and don’t worry about how many “Likes,” “Faves,” or “+1’s” you get — or don’t get. If the shot represents your vision, that’s all that matters.

About Author

Jason Little is a photographer, author and stock shooter. You can see Jason’s photography on his Website or his Instagram feed.

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