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Learn Digital Photography - 3 Ways to Start Thinking Outside the Box

The creative photographer is one who has learnt to think outside the box and take their photography to a higher level. Now if you are like me this statement doesn't mean much but it has been bandied about for decades. Often I am told that successful people think outside the box.

How do you think outside the box when applying it to photography? It easy to say it but how do you do it? That's the million dollar question. Wikipedia says, "Thinking outside the box is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking." Applying this to photography you could replace the word thinking with seeing. You have to look for that which is unusual, unconventional or from a different perspective. 
I first saw this applied to photography in a farewell gift when I left New Zealand. The book had been produced by a photographer that saw outside the box. He had photographed New Zealand from a completely different perspective than normal. Many of the angles made the famous sites and locations look completely different and 30 years later I still have the book, an inspiration for seeing outside the box.
So how to begin would be the question I need to answer. Let's look at a few points that will help you see outside the box.
1. A clever outside the box thinker ponders the scene carefully. 

Time a thought is vital to a creative thinker. Stepping into a location and shooting fast does not allow you to be creative. You need arrive at your location and take time to quietly take in the scene and think about what you are seeing. Relax and visualise the possibilities. Exclude preconceived ideas and photos you may have taken there or seen. Walk around the area and find new angles, perspectives and vantage points. Open your eyes and look for the out of the ordinary  and things that interract or relate to each other.

2. A creative thinker breaks the rules

Some say that rules are made to be broken others say they are there to provide the boundaries. I think that boundaries should be pushed and tested because it's only once you know the true boundary can you push the limits. If the rule says never place the subject in the centre of the compostion try breaking it and see what happens. Most times it doesn't work but there are times that it creates an amazing image. If the rule says that two colours or patterns should never be seen together try it and see what happens. If you stick to a traditional approach you might never find the one occasion when breaking the rule works. Never be afraid to try new things.

3. Thinkers aren't scared to make fools of themselves

A strange statement you may think. Not so. Many of the great pro photographers try things that others are too scared to attempt and get the great shot. I know one photographer that lay down in the middle of a cobbled square in France and got the most amazing shot. He looked a fool and everyone stopped and stared. He now sells that image on srtock photo sites and makes money from it all year round. Lie on you back, crawl on your stomach and hang from a tree (exercising care of course) and find that elusive angle or perspective. Who knows you too might hit the jackpot. Don't be afraid to venture outside you comfort zone.

To most of us thinking or seeing outside the box is a daunting challenge as it doesn't come naturally but bottom line is do you want to be better than the next person. If you do, then you need to fly against convention and try things that might seem normal. Use your imagination and look for things that are different and maybe a lot more challenging. Once you start it becomes easier and easier and before you know it you'll be a creative outside the box thinker.

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Do you want to learn more about photography in a digital world? I've just completed a brand new e-course delivered by e-mail. Download it here for free: CLICK HERE You can also learn to take perfect photos in 21 steps by taking a look at my new ebook 21 Steps 2 Perfect Photos
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years and has written three books on photography.

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