I do a lot of photo shoots were I know the type of image I’m expected to get. Sometimes they aren’t particularly exciting, but it’s what I need to do. A customer might want a particular look, people might want a standard group photo, or a business person might want a conservative headshot. Those are all well and good (and they pay bills!), but sometimes you have to look beyond the job to maintain your creativity.
For example, I recently was assigned to photograph Mardi Gras float krewes and float heads. This is the type of image they wanted:
But while I was walking around waiting for some of the krewes to get ready (750 women + lots of booze + party atmosphere = a considerable amount of time to coordinate), I saw something unexpected:
I guess he either had a hard night the night before, or was expecting a hard night tonight. Or both. I didn’t think anyone could ever sleep on a tractor seat.
Either way, it was something unexpected, and it broke me out of the mindset that I was only there for group photos. Not only did I take this photo because it caught my interest, it made me feel more creative (by taking a photo just for me), and I began to see the group photos in a more creative light.
Things like this remind me of why I became a photographer, and why I love it so much.
Stay creative. See, don’t just look.