What is Creative Photography? | Definition, Tips, and Examples

In this glossary definition, we’ll be discussing creative photography.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn about:

Creative photography, a recurring theme that has become a lifelong challenge to photographers who seek better photos.

The term itself is often misused to describe unintentional pictures that look abstract or ordinary photos that just look good.

Let’s dive in.

creative photography

What is Creative Photography?

Creative photography is a photo that is intentionally made more unique, thus making it creative.

Let’s call it a somewhat unique category in photography. This category includes photos and edits that are specifically made to give a certain mood, focus on a certain theme, or anything to be honest.

It involves adopting a new, different approach towards a photo, without which it would be seen as a common picture.

Adding extra elements to a picture to highlight certain textures and features has become a common practice in the industry, although the amount and the post-processing will often separate creative photography from common photography.

The key is out-of-the-box thinking and creativity, which is easier said than done.

Ask yourself, “what can I do differently in this shoot?” Many ideas will then pop up. Execute each of them, and maximize the potential of each photo that you take.

Start off by carrying your camera everywhere to seek out some pictures and ideas that randomly cross your mind!

creative photographer
Photo by Andre Furtado

Maybe you see a beautiful sunset, and what’s better than a sunset? Two sunsets! Pour some water onto a surface and try to shoot its reflection on the water.

You could also go the extra mile to re-photograph it after adding some strokes or smudges using paint or any other medium, to highlight the main focus even more (or cheat and use Photoshop)!

If paintings aren’t your forte, then feel free to rescan it after adding objects on it as long as it fits the theme and your goal.

How Would You Define Creative Photography?

The tricky part of it is the ‘creative’ aspect. With how ‘abstract’ the word creative can be, combined with how different people’s standards are for each creative artwork, it is difficult to please everyone.

Some see bokeh or fictional shoots as creative, some ask for a deeper meaning, and some just don’t need that much “abstractness”.

In the vast world of photography and creativity, it may be hard to fit everyone’s criteria. But certain techniques have been so popular that they have become the specific photographer’s trademark.

If a picture has intentionally been treated in a way that gives it a deeper meaning, then it can be categorized as a creative photograph!

What is a Creative Photograph?

A creative photograph would be a photograph that intentionally uses various techniques and effects to reach the desired result.

At the core of it, it is about conscious attempts to manipulate and take photos, where your imagination becomes the limit.

Many photographers have different takes on what a creative photograph is, but after skimming through them and drawing connections between them, we’ve concluded that a creative photograph is a photo given a twist to invoke certain meanings.

creative photograph
Photo by Lukas Rodriguez

Popular Creative Photography Techniques/Ideas

The term itself may be a bit confusing for new or even experienced members of the photography community.

Some people have many ideas for creative photography but are afraid to execute them because they think creative photos must be super extravagant and abstract.

This isn’t always true, and in order to give you a rough idea of what creative photography looks like and how it’s done, we have put together a few techniques, ideas, and some creative photography examples.

1. Creative Photography – Bokeh

A popular example is “bokeh”, which looks like small glowing orbs.

These orbs appear when your camera lens tries to record unfocused points of light.

Photo by Kat Jayne

It is typically unwanted and appears unintentionally in the background when shooting photos. Try and figure out different points of view, depth of field, and settings that can create bokeh in a beneficial way!

2. Creative Photography – Painting

Other creative photography examples that we love involve painting!

After printing the photo(post-production), incorporate paint or any desirable medium by smearing, dipping, redrawing, and the list goes on.

3. Creative Photography – Double Exposure

Another cool technique is to project images onto textured surfaces and re-photograph. This is called double exposure.

These techniques give a normal, mundane, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary picture some extra meaning!

double exposure creative photo
Photo by Nguyễn Thanh Ngọc

You could take a picture of a nearby tower and project it onto a water ripple or any textured surfaces that you deem fit, and voila! A unique and creative photograph is born!

A similar alternative is to perform a double exposure – a favourite trick of film photographers, some modern SLR’s are incorporating this feature.

4. Creative Photography – Motion Blur

Motion blur is another popular technique that brings life to a photo.

motion blur creative photo
Photo by Lalesh Aldarwish

This can be achieved by either photographing moving objects with a longer exposure or by moving the camera to follow a moving object.

5. Creative Photography – Get Macro

Macro photography can bring smaller objects to life. With a macro lens you open up a whole new world.

There are many more creative photography examples out there.

creative macro photography
Photo by Pixabay

Find a photograph that you like, use it as a source of inspiration, and give it a unique twist. Push the boundaries and find what works best for you!

Also, if you need help creating a creative effect, you can use special lenses to create creative camera effects.

The Importance of Creativity in Photography

Creativity is an integral part of photography.

With the rise of social media and the mundane shots that often circulate on those platforms, there seems to be less space for creative photography to thrive.

All of these creative photography ideas offer something new, refreshing, and more noticeable.

When it comes to photography, being creative is beneficial in many ways.

It gives you a huge advantage over more mundane photographers. The reason behind this lies in the uniqueness, which can make your photographs more eye-catching when people are skimming over photos.

This uniqueness shows the audience your capability in expressing yourself.

Creativity allows you to slap all the emotions you want onto a picture.

Indirectly, your photograph will be able to inspire many more people and possibly start a new trend!

Do you remember when someone made a surreal edit which turned the ocean into the sky? That became a trend and many adapted the concept and did some new takes on it.

Concluding Remarks

Creative photography is an interesting and simple, yet unique category of photography.

Many people can enter the scene yet not every artwork will become a trend. By intentionally doing something new and unique to a normal photo, it can turn into a creative photograph.

People do have different standards about how a creative photograph should look, which makes it a bit hard to please everyone in the photography community.

But, in this category your imagination is the limit! And although it might sound cringe-worthy, some people rely on their hearts and their emotions to guide them in making a creative photo.

So, think ahead and make your photos shine!

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