Three Part Creative Vision

Usually, but not always, I’ll have a plan for post-processing an image while I’m setting up to take that shot in the field. The image below is a good example.

Lodgepole pine forest

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Out in the mountains this past fall, Darwin and I were meandering along my favourite highway, the Bow Valley Parkway. The bright overcast light was turning the forest into a magical realm, highlighting the skeletal branches and brightening up the underbrush. The bright yellow caught my eye, but even as I worked this stand of pine, I wondered if this might be a candidate for conversion to black and white later on the computer. The reason I thought this might work better than the lovely colour which first attracted me is that I didn’t like the green colour of the trees in the background. Converting to black and white would preserve the bright tones in the yellow leaves but strip away the interest in the dark green background. So did it?

lodgepole forest in black and white

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Creativity and vision are tough concepts to define sometimes. They’re even a little overused. When Darwin and I think of creativity, we think of original expression, as in, something you made yourself from your interests and passions. In a world saturated with images, it can be tough at times to even know what our interests are! That’s why getting out by yourself to photograph what catches your eye is such an important part of being a photographer. And when you are more comfortable with knowing what motivates you to press that shutter, that vision is going to carry you through the process in three parts: ‘seeing’ the image, making the image and processing the image.

What do you think? Is your creative vision a three-act play?

About the Author

Photographing the incredible beauty of natural things, filming quirky videos, trying new foods with unpronounceable names, curling up with a good book, sharing ideas on how to live lighter on the Earth...these are a few of my favourite things!


  1. Dave Benson
    November 25, 2015

    most definitely…

  2. Peter
    November 26, 2015

    I love the last three posts on creativity and making room for it in your life. It has reminded me that I have let life intrude on my creativity over that last few months. I also agree that the three parts you mentioned are part of my creative process as well though I would add a fourth, and in my opinion the most important and is the first step in the creative process. I believe creativity is a conversation that your have with your self, your soul that inner part of you that can only communicate through instinct vision and emotion. So the first step is paying attention to that part of you that says “HEY this is cool”, or “HEY check out the light on those trees”, whatever it is something drew you to notice a scene. That is the one thing that will guarantee your own personal vision and creativity which will be unique. Everything that comes after that is process and needs to build on your initial gut instinct to somehow refine that and produce an image that speaks to you, that honestly reminds you of that first shout from your gut (or your soul for the less spiritually timid). Listen to that voice and trust it – it is where you find out who you are!

    • Darwin Wiggett
      November 30, 2015

      I like having a conversation with my gut… mostly it tells me I am hungry, if not for food then for honesty with my creative process (after I have snacked of course!)

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