In the last segment, I posed the challenge of photographing something that you can share at different stages. . .such as a garden or work project, and to also use this as an opportunity to practice different lighting techniques discussed in previous articles. Anyone want to share what they've done?
Today, I'll give information on creating images with impact. Sometimes, all that is needed to make a better than average image is a perspective shift- in the natural and, also, in the spiritual.
The Natural Perspective Shift
Take a fresh view on an ordinary subject. I'll use my images of poppies that bloom where ever they choose to in my backyard. Here's an image (left) that I created, and then here is what the area actually looked like at the time the photo was taken (right). The surrounding grass is still dormant and still looks pretty much dead. At first glance it doesn't look too promising for creating something beautiful. (Sidebar: this area is on it's way back to life!)
So how to go about getting a better-than-average photograph? What most will probably think to do is to move in, and capture the top of the flowers, which will indeed make a better photograph.
However, by changing your position or angle of view, thereby changing your perspective, you can create an image beyond the usual. In this case, I needed to get more ground level. So by sitting, and even laying on the ground, I was able to shoot, angled upward, to capture the beauty of the flowers, and use my lattice fence and the blue sky as a subtle background.
For the image on the right, I changed position slightly (still ground level) and used a larger aperture to blur out the background and focus just on the flowers.
By taking the time to evaluate your subject a little more, and challenging yourself to try something beyond the ordinary or what you would normally do, you may be surprised at what you come up with. I like this quote that says:
Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.
The Spiritual Perspective Shift
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:!7 NKJV)
Can one be "spiritual" when pursuing creative expression in something like photography? Certainly! God is the CREA-TOR who has put within us the desire to be CREA-TIVE. By purposely bringing God into your creative endeavors, you add a dimension to your work where it becomes more "God-breathed", or God-inspired. By consciously inviting the Lord to be with you, and to 'open your eyes' so that you can see things you may normally miss in your photographic ventures, you open yourself to receiving added inspiration from our Father of lights, who gives good and perfect gifts.
I personally have made a practice to do this every time I pick up my camera to capture something, so that it has become second nature for me to invite the Lord and consult with him as I'm photographing. I've even made it a practice in my business to pray with my clients before their photo sessions, to ask for His blessing and to be able to capture the vision that they have.
For those desiring to know more about how you can tap more into that God dimension of creativity, I recommend you get a copy of the book Scribbling in the Sand; Christ and Creativity, by award-winning musician and songwriter Michael Card ( El Shaddai, Heal Our Land ). In the book, he explains our hunger for beauty, which is our hunger for God, who is beautiful, and how our creative pursuits are a response to that beauty.
Making an Impact for Jesus With the Images You Create
No matter where you are as a photographer--hobbyist, amateur, semi-pro, etc.-- and at whatever skill level, you can use the images you create to touch someone with the love of God. Create your own cards with scriptures to inspire, encourage, and uplift; your own e-cards or inspirational tags that you can send with an email (I personally prefer to make cards to be sent via snail mail); calendars that can inspire year round. There is somewhere you can start.
Also, don't let the fear of your creation not being "good enough" in your own eyes hold you back or cause you to procrastinate. Most of the time we want something to be 'just a little better' than it is before we move ahead. Don't wait. Trust me, wherever you are, whatever you have, it will be a blessing when you add the Lord's blessing to it.
Now, my challenge to you. . .whatever it is you like to photograph (nature, children, animals, etc.) go out with the intention to create something you can use to bless someone else with, invite the Lord, asking Him to help you 'see', take your pictures, and then make that card to inspire someone. OR, go through images you already have and ask the Lord what would be a blessing to a certain someone. Select several images you're drawn to, and then just do it! Make a card, add a scripture and encouraging note, and send it on.
Then share what you did with us. I'm thinking of an incentive I can give to those who do take the challenge and post, and I'll announce it in an email next week.