Creative Expression Through Photography

Every time we pick up a camera, we have the opportunity to exercise our creative expression through photography. The subjects we choose. The lighting that attracts us. The lenses we use. The shooting angles that appeal to us. The camera settings we select. What we decide to do with our images in post. All of these factors help facilitate our creative expression through photography.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/2.3, 1/125, ISO-500, microscopic mode

How far we push our creative expression through photography is a very personal decision. It is something that we define for ourselves. It doesn’t come from others.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/3.2, 1/250, ISO-100, microscopic mode

We can choose to set rigid photographic boundaries for ourselves and work diligently within them. With this approach our growth as a photographer can come from incremental… but meaningful, improvement.

Olympus TG-5 @ 11 mm, efov 61.1 mm, f/3.6, 1/100, ISO-200, microscopic mode

Looking at photography with a historical context is another option we can choose. We can study and learn from the work of great photographers like Ansel Adams, Yousuf Karsh, Henri Cartier-Bresson and a host of others.

Olympus TG-5 @ 15 mm, efov 83.3 mm, f/4.5, 1/200, ISO-800, microscopic mode

Pursuing a journalistic orientation may be beneficial. It can force us to capture the world around us in a gritty and unvarnished way.

We could list many other orientations. No one photographic approach is better than another. They’re just different. People should pursue their photographic passions in ways that are both personally challenging and fulfilling.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/100, ISO-800, microscopic mode

Assessing others based on our own photographic approach is counterproductive. We have no way of knowing the creative intent of another photographer. Or understanding the choices they made to bring their vision to life. Judging the photographs created by others is an exercise in subjectivity. When we find ourselves being judgemental and critical, we still have an opportunity to grow. Our personal preconceptions define our subjective framework. The key is to recognize them for what they are.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/400, ISO-640, microscopic mode

Every time each of us display our images to the public… we take a risk. Photography chat rooms are full of trolls that are quick to pounce on the work of others. Quite aggressive and mean spirited comments are common. We have the choice to internalize these comments, or simply shrug them off and pay them no heed. The first choice inhibits us… the second one liberates us.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/400, ISO-800, microscopic mode

At the end of the day the only thing that really matters is that we follow our creative passion… whatever that happens to be.

Olympus TG-5 @ 11 mm, efov 61.1 mm, f/3.6, 1/250, ISO-400, microscopic mode

Each of us grows every time we push our creativity. Every time that we work to hone our craft. Every time we try something new.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/160, ISO-800, microscopic mode

If we want to grow… we need to take risks. We need to challenge our existing beliefs about photography. We need to identify the limits we place upon ourselves and our creativity.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/3.2, 1/640, ISO-640, microscopic mode

None of us will reach our potential in life if we hide timidly in a corner. Life is meant to be lived. Creative expression through photography is available to all of us.

We can choose to challenge ourselves to be limitless creators. It begins with us going out with our cameras for the simple joy of creating! Allowing ourselves to be fully immersed in the moment and letting our creativity flow. When we do… we live that day as an artist. Remember, there is only one worthwhile competition in life. It is with our own best self.

Technical Note:
All photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process, as well as some additional image customization that was done in post. Readers who viewed my last article will have already seen many of the flower images featured in this posting.

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6 thoughts on “Creative Expression Through Photography”

    1. I certainly did Pam! I’m not sure what PhotoShop may have as I only use it for a relatively small part of my overall process. I do enjoy using Topaz as it is very easy and quick to change from one filter effect to another.


    1. Hi Jack,

      It is actually pretty simple… the art treatment is ‘Glowing Edges’ that is in old copy of Topaz that I own. I’m not sure if newer copies of Topaz still have this filter or not.

      Topaz works as a plug-in to PhotoShop and, I think, Lightroom. The ‘Glowing Edges’ filter has three adjustment sliders: Edge Width, Edge Brightness, and Smoothness. A wide range of effects can be achieved by adjusting the strength of each slider to taste. Each subject flower needs its own settings. Some photographs work much better than others. Some just didn’t work at all in terms of what I was trying to achieve in post.

      I think as I get more familiar with individual art filters I will start composing images specifically for adaptation in a particular filter. The trick is trying to envision the blossom that one is photographing as photo art in advance of composing an image.


  1. Tom,

    Your flower experiment is, in a word, stunning. Yet another, different. Sort of a mix of psychedelia and how I presume some insects may see/perceive flowers in the spectrum their sights have evolved in (e.g. bees or some butterflies who see mainly blues and yellows but not reds)

    Which drives home the point you’re trying to get across — to grow is to risk, especially when trying something that’s out of the norm, a bit far from the mainstream. It’s comforting to be ensconced in our own comfort zones alright but every once in a while, we must open the windows and let fresh air in 😀 We can learn from kids, be unafraid to do something which may not catch on or be popular but hopefully, enrich ourselves and feed our creative spirit.


    1. Hi Oggie,

      I think your adjective of ‘psychedelia’ fits very well! This was really a fun experiment that I intend to develop further with this particular subject matter.


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