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An Instant Way To Practice Creativity - Daniel Livingstone Photography
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An Instant Way To Practice Creativity

An Instant Way To Practice Creativity

During the quarantine, I’ve been spending a lot of my time editing, organizing, and binge-watching movies but not necessarily creating as much as I used to. I, personally, struggle with feeling the need to be in a different environment with the right conditions to be creative. I tried to figure out ways to keep my creativity in practice without having to leave the house or every single tool at my disposal until I finally came up with an idea.

Step 1: What’s In Front Of You?

There’s a 99% chance you have your phone on you or within arm’s reach. Grab your phone and simply take a photo of whatever is right in front of you. Don’t even move. Just take a photo of your head-on view. What makes this exercise so useful is that it challenges you to create something out of seemingly nothing. For me, I’m at my desk in front of my TV and window. It’s not the most pleasant scene, but it’s definitely something I can work with. Keep in mind you shouldn’t have an immediate goal to make something great off the bat, but rather slowly transition into a mental state that is more creative.

Step 2: Change Your Perspective

Once you have your starting image, it may not be very inspiring. We’ll improve on that. From your initial photo, look at the part that interests you the most and change your positioning and angle to highlight it. I think that the window has a lot of potentials to make for a cool scene, so I decided to line up with it. I’m already starting to picture references of other images using windows and how I can put my own spin on it. 

 Step 3: Time To Get Involved

Now that you’re starting to develop your idea, this is where you can take the most control. Interact with your scene by moving objects, incorporating yourself, or whatever comes to mind to help complete the new concept you’re developing. I chose to clear off the desk and remove any distractions from my subject. This is where I began to really get a concept for the image I wanted to create despite being so late in the process, which really goes to show how much this exercise can inspire creative activity.

 Step 4: Fully Realize Your Vision

You finally have all the source material you could possibly need. Now it’s time to take your image to your computer and post-process away at anything that will fully realize your vision. I like to use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop when editing my own photos, but this exercise isn’t limited to professional photography. You can do all these steps with a phone and a few free apps like Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile, or VSCO. For my creation, I decided to composite a sky into my window and make it look like my room was super high in the air. Once I added the image in, all I had to do was match the colors of my room to the sky and it was practically finished.

My main goal in creating and doing this exercise is to show myself and others that you don’t always need perfect conditions to create something interesting. Creativity can allow you to make something from nothing no matter where you are or what’s around you. Another point to add is that you don’t always need a clear and concise goal when creating artwork. While this photograph certainly isn’t a portfolio piece, nor will it make me any money, it was fun to simply create and see what I could do with my skills completely umprompted.

If you try this exercise on your own, please post it to Instagram and other social platforms with the hashtag #4StepsToCreate and tag me (@daniellivingstone) in it. I’d love to see what you all are creating and how this has helped you.

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