Exercise in creativity

Creativity is not something that “just appears”, or that “some have and others don’t”. It’s easier for some, but it really comes down to learning how to think differently. And that is a training thing!

I often do little exercises to boost my own creativity. and I will share a really simple one here:

Take ten photos of the same object, all different. End of instructions.

Now. What can you change? Let me give you some ideas:

  • Composition
  • How big the object is in the frame
  • Light
  • Angle
  • Environment
  • Background
  • Props
  • Depth of field
  • Is it moving or not
  • Focal length

And that’s just when you take the photo. Add editing, and your possibilities are endless…:)

I did this exercise with a tennis ball (to Midoris great joy). Which one do you like the best? (Click on them to see them individually!)

 

So the question is:

Are you up for a creativity challenge?

 

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Challenge (almost) completed!

Today is day 15, and I have done my last photo. Well…almost…I’m still two days short, and I will do them. Some day 😉

I have really pushed myself, done things I have never done before, and learned a LOT!

Some photos I’m really proud over. Some not so much. Live and learn 🙂

Here they are, in order!

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And the challenges:

  1. Rebirth – enclosed space (inside my mind)
  2. Emotion – no face (fear)
  3. Endings – door
  4. Beauty – my idea
  5. Spellbound – warm light
  6. Potential – open space
  7. Breaking – shattered (my self esteem)
  8. Curiosity – new location
  9. Being alive – rope
  10. Pressure – water
  11. Forgotten – paper
  12. Flight – wings (mine are made of light)
  13. Growth – myself

Some of these are very emotional to me, and I have put a little (or a lot) of myself in every one of them (visible or not).

What have I learned?

Apart from the technical stuff (thank you, youtube!) I have started THINKING differently. And that is always interesting! Let’s see where it leads…:)

 

Content Creation Challenge

Almost ten days ago I joined Brooke Shadens Content Creation Challenge. Create a new piece of art every day for 15 days. Make sure it has some kind of content. And then there’s a theme for each day, and a challenge to use or do something special.

Interesting. Hard. Crushing my self-esteem to smithereens at times, but also making me try new things and walk new roads. Frustrating. And fun.

This is the one I like the most so far (potential and use open space)

 

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Keep reaching for the stars…

 

This one was most self-reflecting (breaking, use something shattered – I guess it’s my self-esteem that is in a million pieces…And it’s two “me”, representing my constant struggle within)

 

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Not. Good. Enough.

 

And I still have six more days to go!

So…why did I choose to do this (and why do I continue creating, even if I feel like I lack both time and talent)?

Because: I don’t feel good enough.

YET.

And that three-letter word is all that matters. The fact that I lack skills and that I feel that I want to create MORE and BETTER is a matter of practice. Practice does not automatically make perfect, but it makes better. It’s the ONLY way to get better.

I may not feel like I’m good enough yet – but in the future, I will be better than I am now.

To be creative, to me, is a constant struggle and I think most people strive to get better. Some give up and say “this is all I am. This is all I will ever be.” and they may or may not be content with that. Giving up is not for me though 🙂 I will keep on practising till the day I die, and probably after that as well.

If you want to see all my photos, you find them on my Instagram. If you like any of them please let me know, that makes me happy.

How to take a self-portrait with your dog

I think EVERYBODY should have a portrait of you with your dog! You have the option of hiring a photographer (excellent choice!), asking a friend (can turn out absolutely fabulous or really bad), or taking the photo yourself: a self-portrait. That’s what I have done today.

 

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Mårran and me

 

I make a difference between “selfie” and “self-portrait” in this blog post. Of course, a selfie IS a self-portrait, of a special kind! And I love a good, funny, original selfie! I don’t think it’s less valuable, or easier to take, just different.

The difference is (according to me): “selfie” is when you hold your phone/camera/selfie-stick in your hand, look at yourself in the display, and take the photo. “Self-portrait” is when you make a set-up, place your camera, and use the timer or a remote to take the photo. Advantage: you don’t have to try and hold your camera, and that makes you free to set the scene and pose as you like. Disadvantage: it’s harder to get the focus right, and you can’t see what you are shooting.

When I started photographing I took a lot of self-portraits. I was the only model around, I had no choice if I wanted to photograph humans! Then I got bored with my appearance and started shooting other things instead. Dogs mostly. But I gained valuable experience – and I will share my simple setup that I have used ever since.

  1. Choose your location and camera settings to get the effect you want.
  2. Place the camera on a tripod (or a chair or table).
  3. Put something at the spot where you are going to be. Whatever.
  4. Focus your camera on that thing, and then switch to manual focus. That way your camera will stay focused at the same distance.
  5. Press 10-second timer or use a remote.
  6. Place yourself where the thing was. Strike a pose (vogueing is optional). Wait for the click, or press the remote.
  7. Check how the photo turned out, make adjustments, redo as many times a necessary.

 

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Midori and me

With a dog, it’s easier – leave out the thing to focus on, instead put your dog where you want it to be, focus on the dog, switch to manual, press the trigger, and join your dog. That is how I did these two 🙂

I have one photo missing: Valle and me. That is because Valle does not like it when I get too close. He likes to be close to me – but it has to be his choice, and he has to be the one closing in. I will need another person holding the camera for that photo!

I challenge you: take a self-portrait with your dog. Do it now. It may take a few tries to get a good shot – but it’s worth it. I mean, it’s going to be a portrait of you and your dog!

That. Is. Priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge: get up or get down!

At the beginning of my photographic career, I read A LOT about photography. And everywhere it said that “the best light is early mornings and late evenings”. I got up at seven, but was the light “soft and warm”? NOPE! It was harsh and low and the shadows were really sharp and hard to avoid.

My mistake? About two hours (or 16). At summertime, it’s not seven o’clock. It’s FIVE o’clock, just after sunrise, that the magic happens. Or at sunset, at about 22.

How do I know this for a fact? Because I have tried it.

Sunset is fairly easy, and the light is really nice:

I have to admit – I’m not fond of the idea of rising before the sun, take my camera, and meet up with a client before sunset. But that is exactly what I did two weeks ago – and I am going to be forever grateful for that! Why? Because I got this:

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Sunset is beautiful, but sunrise…sunrise! All of a sudden the word “set alarm at 4.30” doesn’t sound too bad anymore…

So that is my challenge: catch the “golden hour”, that occurs about one hour around sunrise and one hour around sunset. Share your photo at KelpiePhotos FB-page. I look forward to seeing the beautiful golden light!

Easter challenge – the results are in!

I’m so glad so many wanted to join the challenge, and I loooove the photos you sent me!

I’ll just put the photos here, in no particular order, for everyone to enjoy! I see happy dogs, a good time, and photographers who maybe struggled a little to find different interpretations of “easter” and now have a little more experience than they had before 🙂 And cute puppies! They are always right.

Don’t forget to click on the photos to see them full size!

All these photographers will receive a reward from me in their inbox this week. I am a reward-based trainer after all 😉

Coming up: a surprise that I think you will really like! I put a lot of time and effort into this, don’t miss it!

Five easter-photos that will bring a smile to your face. Kelpiestyle!

The week of easter has begun!

To give you some inspiration for the perfect easter-photo with your dog, here are five different ideas to try out!

  1. Sitting with an easter-basket. This is the one I already had in my head. Now, I wanted her to lift her head up towards me (left), but as I look at the photos I like the one to the right better. Lesson: ALWAYS try different angles and perspective!

Want to see how I taught her to lift and hold the basket? Look at the film in the challenge!

2. When you work with a dog, things will happen and the dog will move. Go with it! You can always put the dog back in a location where you want it to be, but it’s the photos of the dog doing her own stuff that often comes out looking the best!

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I love this one! Maybe she caught sight of the easterbunny?

3. “My precioussss…” Midori knows how to touch stuff with her nose and hold still – perfect to make her pose with an egg!

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4. Let the creativity flow, and put some humour in it! (No real chickens were harmed during this shoot!)

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5. Don’t forget to just let the dogs personality come out! I chose the background and light carefully, and just started shooting. After about ten photos I got this.

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I look forward to seeing your photos! E-mail me at hello@kelpiephoto.com, or post a comment with a link, or post your photo at Kelpiephotos facebook-page, or tag me on instagram @kelpiephotography!

Coming up: use photoshop to create an easter-postcard!

Five ways to destroy a would-be good photo

Of course there are more than five ways to make a photo look terrible, but let’s focus on surroundings today. Choosing poorly when it comes to location is a sure way to ruin a good photo!

Here are my top five worst nightmares when it comes to background in photos:

1. Do not think of the surroundings at all. There is a fence, a building, and a dog, but all you look at is your model-dog. Because he’s cute anyway, right? Of course he is. But to someone that isn’t as in love with your dog as you are it’s simply a bad photo.

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Our brain tricks us into “not seeing” the things that are not important to us, expecially when we look in the viewfinder. Train yourself to be observant and avoid photos like this!

2. Choose a messy background. Not necessarily unclean, but with a lot of stuff going on. Shapes, colours, chaos. Your dog gets lost in the surroundings and the viewer gets confused. But maybe that’s what you want? I sure don’t.

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This actually has potential, I like how the colours match. Maybe I´ll come back to this and give it a try. But right now – too messy!

3. Think that a large aperture will make it blurry enough to save any photo. Sorry, that’s just lazy AND wrong. The background you choose should have a purpose, and bring something to the photo. A large aperture can make stunning soft dreamy photos, but you still need a nice background to begin with.

4. When you do find a nice place,  stay in one angle and take one photo. I mean, why experiment? I am sure that you – unlike me – always get it perfect in the first shot. God forbid that you try to think differently and get another result than the obvious!

5. Believe in the power of photoshop. You can edit anything, right? No need to move on meter to the left and avoid a house, that’s what the clone-tool us for!

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Of course I can remove the tree, the wires and the branch in photoshop. (And the collar.) But it is so much faster and easier to just move my feet a bit…

I actually think a lot about choosing the right environment for (almost) every photo. What do I want it to “feel” like? Urban, natural, freedom, cozy? What colour should it be? I often want it to complement the colour of my dog. Normally all dogs look good with green grass and blue skies, but you can do so much more!

Maybe I want the background to help the viewer “get the story”? Sheepdog with sheep, agiliydog on the agilitycourse, huntingdog in the forest, and so on. That also helps my decision of aperture-setting, do I want the background sharp or blurry? It all depends on what I want to portrait.

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And I’m lazy. I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time fixing stuff with my computer, I prefer to get it right from the start. It’s easier that way.

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Colours that complement, clean and makes it easy to focus on her face, and a nice bokeh. I love this one.

So…back to your easterphoto-challenge. What background do YOU want in YOUR photo? What story do you want to tell?

I challenge you – easter photo!

In two weeks it’s easter. Eggs, bunnies, daffodils, chickens, and feathers…(And candy. Lots of it!) I find that every feast is an excuse to take a theme-photo, with props and stuff. This is one of my easter-photos from last year:

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“Glad påsk” means “happy easter”.

This year I have a different idea, and I will let you tag along behind the scenes! And more than that:

I CHALLENGE YOU!

Take an easter-photo of your own! It can be of anything, but it must relate to easter. E-mail it to me before 16/4, and I’ll post it here. Fun, right? I KNOW!!!

And share it with your friends, if you want to challenge them in your turn…The more the merrier 🙂

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Easter-lamb anyone?

Let’s get you started!

  1. Find inspiration. Pinterest, google, facebook…
  2. Find location. What environment?
  3. Props or no props?
  4. Do you need to train the dog (if you are using a dog), or get it used to anything?
  5. Take photos. Many. Different perspective, angle, distance…make sure you reward your dog for being a good model.
  6. Choose your favourite photo.
  7. Edit it – if you want to.
  8. E-mail it to me!

DONE! I’ll even reward you with a little something 😉

So…I have my goal-photo in my head, I know the right location, I have bought my props. Yesterday I trained my dog, and I will give you the short version instead of all 16 minutes of how I did:

Only one thing left:

GET GOING!

Need some pointers?

Download five steps to better dog-photos!

CLICK HERE!

Coming up: how do you choose your “perfect location”?