I was listening to the latest episode of Camera Dojo on my way to work today and one of the topics that Kerry and Chris kept touching on was the difference between being artistic and being creative when taking photographs. It prompted me to try to set up a definition that works for myself.
Artistic Photo –
I’m thinking, at this time anyway, that making an artistic image is when you use what is in the scene already and set your camera up in an artistic way. Settings such as adjusting your shutter speed to get motion blur or to blur a waterfall. Settings such as adjusting your aperture to set your depth of field deeper or shallower than what we see normally. To me these things and post processing to enhance them would be an artistic interpretation of the scene.
This image of a duck is artistic. I used the light and subject that was there but I selected a wide aperture to give me a shallow depth of field and I played around with it quite a bit in post to get the weeds in the background just right. I gave it my artistic spin.
Creative Photo –
For a creative photo, I think anytime you add or remove any element from the scene you are creating that scene. Things like adding light or removing light. Adding people, removing people when they are in the way. To me these are creating the scene.
Now this image is creative in my books. I used the window blinds to create the shadows on her face. Sure, I used a shallow depth of field on it but that was not the main technique I used on this image. It was the creation of the shadows on her face.
For sure you can be artistic and creative at the same time by the way you add light to get your subject lit better and adjust your shutter speed to blur a water fall behind them for example but that to me would be more creative than artistic because you added the light on the subject.
Some may agree with me and some may disagree but there is the fun in this art of photography. You are never really right and you are never really wrong. It’s all up to you.