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Technical vs. Creative
by Brian Braun


Many of the world's most iconic photographs were taken with just a camera. No flash. No Assistants. Just a photographer with a camera that by today's standards would probably be obsolete. Yet we find ourselves gazing into those photographs time after time just like the first time we saw them. It's because the photographers that took them had taken thousands and thousands of photographs before that, honing their skills. It's like a professional sports athlete that is a superstar. You see him/her doing amazing things. You don't see the countless hours of blood, sweat and tears they spent practicing to get there. Same thing with photographers. You learn the technical stuff so you can apply it with your creativity when the time comes.

Think of a carpenter. He might not use every tool he has but he knows how to use all of them. Know how to use the tools to achieve what is needed creatively. Sometimes things get slow, and this is an excellent time to grow technically.

I think it's so crucial to stay inspired. We're at the coolest point in history because we basically have the entire world at our fingertips. 20 years ago that didn't exist! I use Tumblr.com to archive my inspirations. (
BrianBraun.Tumblr.com) As an advertising photographer, I work with a lot of ad agencies and almost all of the art directors have their office walls covered in inspirations they find. Whenever I'm lacking that spark for ideas I dive into my archive and always come out with a creative bug. IMPORTANT: This is of course is a double edged sword. You can overwhelm yourself or numb out. Looking at too much can frustrate you because you may feel you're not to "That LevelĒ. The important part is to take the creative edge from the image and then focus it to what you want to do.

Ideas for Sparking Creativity
1. Put one lens on your camera, and if itís a zoom set it only at one focal length: example 50mm. Then use that setting for the entire day. It sounds contradictory for being creative, but limiting options forces you to get creative. You will be forced to think only in the terms of that focal length, and to make it work!

2. Switch to BW mode in the camera. Yes, I know you can do it in Photoshop/other editing software. However, like the above suggestion, your brain operates differently when you know itís going to be black and white. Try this - I do this ALL THE TIME.

3. This is a super hard one but has forced me to grow significantly. Take ONLY ONE PHOTOGRAPH per day. When I say one, I MEAN ONE, not take 4 and pick the best one for the day. Knowing you have only one photo, one chance, to get it right...you pay attention much more than our normal trigger happy digital spoiled selves. (I too am a trigger happy digital spoiled guy). I learned of this technique when I heard about a photographer that rented a secluded cabin and did this exercise for 30 days. When he came back he (and many, many) others felt he had taken some of the best images of his career. He was forced to really choose and focus. Forced to know how his camera worked. You can do it.

4. Lastly. Take a photo a day. (this is a different challenge than #3) Giving yourself a daily goal makes you open your eyes to the world around you. Whatís worth photographing today? Whether you're at WalMart, CarMart, or a beautiful garden there is something to capture. Some of my favorite images have been taken with my iPhone while running around all day. Be open to capturing your life through a lens. That's what it means to be a photographer.

Brian BraunMy name is Brian Braun. I'm a photographer that specializes in primarily advertising and commercial imagery, but I definitely enjoy other sides though, from bands, to fashion, to high end portraits. I was born and raised in Dallas....and I love taking photographs.

website: BrianBraun.net
blog: Blog.brianbraun.net
twitter: twitter.com/thebraun

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