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    Technology versus artistic creativity in photography – How important is it to find a balance?

    The post Technique versus artistic creativity in photography – How important is it to find a balance? first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Kevin Landwer-Johan.


    Discussion about technology versus artistic creativity in photographic circles can cause tension. Much of what is focused on when learning photography is camera technology. Creative aspects are often left out, even after you have acquired a number of camera skills.

    Developing a balanced approach to photography is important. Do not worry if you are satisfied with documenting what lies ahead. You need to know how to operate your camera competently to be creative with it. Camera technology versus artistic creativity is a matter of involving both halves of the brain.

    Image: © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    Left brain versus right brain functions

    It is said that the left hemisphere of our brain is more academic and logical. The right half of the brain is more imaginative and artistic. Technology versus artistic creativity seems to be somewhat different in our thinking.

    Learning to work well with a camera requires a good understanding of the basic functions. Controlling the amount of light that enters your camera is essential to control. Of course you can leave this left brain function to the artificial intelligence (AI) of the camera. This happens when you use one of the automatic or semi-automatic modes.

    Relying on the AI ​​of the camera removes some technical challenges when using the camera. It also inhibits the full expression of the artistic creativity of the right hemisphere. When your camera chooses the exposure setting, you specify a lot of your creative expression.

    Image: © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    Photography means “drawing or painting with light”

    Cameras do not take fantastic photos, but fantastic photographers do. Just as an artist’s brush does not make a beautiful painting in itself, a camera is only as creative as the person who uses it.

    The word “photography” comes from the Greek language. It means “drawing or painting with light.”

    The amount of light that enters your camera influences the way your “digital canvas” will appear. To understand how the camera captures light, left brain function is required. If you leave the camera behind to determine the right amount of light, much of the function of the right brain in creative photography is destroyed.

    If you can’t manage your exposure properly, no matter how good your composition or timing is, your photos will lack creativity. Painting with light requires a lot of creative decision-making.

    Image: © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    Control your camera

    If you have mastered your camera, you are in a stronger position to balance technique and artistic creativity. You will be released by learning how to operate the essential functions of your camera. Then you can concentrate more on the creative aspects of taking photos.

    Regular use and investigation of the camera gives you the opportunity to use your camera smoothly. The more you learn and practice with your camera, the less you have to concentrate on it.

    It may be as if you are learning to touch the type or driving a car with manual shift. In the beginning, these are difficult and require a lot of concentration. Many errors happen. Spelling errors happen. The car will hop and crack. But with a dedication to learning, mistakes are minimized. You can start focusing your attention on other things. You no longer have to look at where you place your fingers on the keyboard. Driving becomes smooth and you can enjoy the scenery.

    Camera use is no different.

    Once you have studied and practiced enough, you free your mind to focus on the creative aspects of photography. The technical actions required to take photos require less attention.

    Image: © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    Let go of your creative expression

    As soon as you can operate your camera comfortably, you can be more creative with it. If you understand how it captures images, you can manage the settings artistically. If you know how the sensor reacts to light, you can operate it with more innovative expression.

    If the exposure is left to the AI ​​of the camera, this usually results in rather boring results. Your photos look like those of anyone who uses automatic mode. This is because the AI ​​is not creative. It is all based on algorithms and calibrated in a technical laboratory.

    Technology versus artistic creativity in photography - How important is it to find a balance?

    Your camera does your photos pretty well. The aim is to provide uniform lighting, not to blow out highlights or to reduce shadow details. However, this does not often make the most expressive exposures.

    Properly exposing a photo manually adds depth and feeling to the photo. Scene modes on some cameras include options for portraits, landscapes, action, and the like. I have never come across a camera that offers automatic modes for taking dramatic, cheerful or sombre photos. By operating your camera manually, you can make creative choices.

    By keeping your exposure under control, you can make choices based on what your main subject is. Your camera does not know what it is. Some AI systems in cameras guess what you are photographing and return results based on this suspicion.

    You will know exactly the nature of your composition and, if you have any understanding of light, you will expose it the way you want it.

    Image: © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    Go beyond what is considered correct

    Technology versus artistic creativity education is often dominated by people who want to take technically correct photos. Photos that do not fit in the technically correct “box” are scorned.

    For creative photographers, “right” photos are usually considered boring, regardless of the subject. Whether a certain composition rule applies does not matter to them. If the entire image is not exposed evenly, the photo is still acceptable.

    I have met far too many photographers who think that their photos must meet certain technical standards to be good. This is what they focus on, and their photos often have no creative expression.

    Knowing how to properly manage your camera settings is vital for creative photos. The technique is very important, but the rules are not.

    Image: © Kevin Landwer-Johan

    © Kevin Landwer-Johan


    Try using your camera without consciously thinking about it – just like you will drive with a manual shift car after enough practice.

    Instead of thinking about your shutter speed and aperture settings, you can focus on how you feel. What do you want to express in the photos you take? Be present in the moment and relate more to your subject than to your camera. Then you will find the balance between technical and artistic creativity.

    Share your opinion about this in the comments below.

    The post Technique versus artistic creativity in photography – How important is it to find a balance? first appeared on Digital Photography School. It is written by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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