This is kind of a throw back post but I really am feeling this right now and wanted to share a realization I had these past few years...
I stopped being creative. Yep, I did.
Don't worry, I don't mean I stopped being a "creative" or I stopped creating great moments, what I mean is, I stopped the need to be something I wasn't.
When I started photography I had this need to be uber creative and artsy and do all these cool "set-ups" and outfits and over the top locations and poses, angles and filters, presets and "vintage" blah blah blah... but over the past 7 years of shooting sessions and weddings I have found that when I let all that go, I found myself.
Experience has surely changed things for me, both shooting and post processing. I do admire other photographers who have many different styles and techniques and post processing look its always a struggle to narrow down the look and style you want to be as a photographer with endless options and even changes in your mood can be a factor. So it seems, as time has gone by that has started to fall into place for me. Sure, there are a lot of photographers out there I would love to be like, they are doing new things, going places, building businesses. But, I realized there's only one me so I have to find my own way and do my own thing.
When I talk to couples about their weddings or sessions I stopped trying to find this amazing location or theme or props. What really clicked with me these last few years is when I started to focus more on my couple and less on creativity and let sweet, genuine moments happen naturally. After the session a lot of couples say things like "we could really just shoot anywhere" or "your right, those things I was worried about don't really matter" such as outfits, themes, props ect..
When other photographers look at photos they see the tones, color, contract, exposure, etc.. but not couples. I think people/couples look at photographers and see what the couple is doing in the photo. That's what people see. The photo could maybe not be all that great, the colors and tones and exposure could be way off in a photographers eyes but not in the couples and their loved ones. They see love and happiness.
The day I stopped being creative is the day I realized I didn't want to be trendy anymore. I didn't want extreme angles, trendy filters/colors, over the top locations, Pinterest-worthy poses, creative ideas, places, props. I did all of that. Believe me, I've been around a while.
The day I stopped being creative is when I decided I wanted more real and genuine and less creative and artsy. More classic and more fun and less copied and less "that will go out of style in 3 years".
The fun part is, when I show up at a shoot or wedding, I have no idea what will happen, what photos will be made, it's all random, it's all real, it's all in the moment and unprepared. Of course I love when couples bring ideas to the table, or when they bring a six pack of PBR and a quilt! I'm all for that, I'm all for adding in meaningful ideas and even locations. But as far as creativity goes, I think there are different kinds or levels, I didn't stop being a creative I lost that urge to be over the top with creativity and found me, the photographer, that creates great moments.