The Pressure Of Being Creative On Demand In Photography

(c) Guest blogger Cristiano Burmester from Brazil writes for

In today’s competitive and image saturated market, the pressure upon photographers for being constantly creative can be overwhelming.  Being a photographer myself for quite sometime, I have felt and dealt with that in different ways over the year. Although I think there isn’t a set of rules to address this topic, I would like to share with you a few ideas that have helped me go through the challenges of creativeness or better, the pressure of being creative on demand in the photography business.

As professional photographers we often look at our colleagues work in search for reference and even inspiration for the images we would like to create. There is nothing wrong with that, but as the internet becomes faster and easier to navigate, new work gets published and seen by a larger number of people, making it more difficult for new work to remain fresh.

When we analyze this idea we see that it affects photographers on all levels equally. Personally I believe that the real downside is that we easily forget the sources that once were significant in our lives and I mean Art and Culture.  Remember seeing the work of Italian painter Michelangelo Caravaggio ? Go after it and observe the colors, the use of light, the contrast and I doubt it wouldn’t have a strong effect on your vision.  That is just one example of getting inspiration and of course there are many others!

Another ongoing situation that we are facing in our photographer’s career is that we are expected to be creative on an assignment. It may seem like a paradox, but it is it really? What we have to come to realize is that our client has commissioned us based on work that we have already done. So, unless you have a golden opportunity and the expressive blessing of the client during the job to try something new, hold back and make sure your client gets what he or she is expecting.

Well, when do we explore our creativeness? In my experience what has worked best for me and for some of my fellow photographers is to always have a personal project in the works. But I want to remind you that it has to be something you really enjoy and love.

Don’t get upset when your friends ask why a professional photographer should spend time and money doing something that he is not getting paid for? The answer is simple. You need to remain to be creative and in charge of a process that you are the sole conductor for.  The results are usually very gratifying in terms of your personal experience and the end results may surprise you. It is very possible that new assignments come after showing your clients your latest personal project.

There is a lot to talk about when it comes to creativity, but if the ideas from a Brazilian photographer make any sense to you, I encourage you to give it a try. Fantastic creative results are now just a matter of time!


  1. David says

    The body of your text in no way relates to the title of the article
    As my high school English teacher would have said:
    "In 7 paragraphs you have managed to say absolutely nothing of any value."

    And this is suppose to pass for useful information?

  2. says

    Hi David,
    We will agree to disagree on this. I think Cristiano has examined the question on creativity in his article. Anyone else wants to chip in?

  3. says

    I fully agree with Cristiano's comments. In particular, my clients hire me because of my creativity as expressed in the images that they've already seen. With few exceptions, they want something similar, albeit creative. Working on assignment for a client is no place to do something totally different. As Cristiano says, save it for a personal project, which you can then put on your website. If a client wants something similar, then they will ask for it.

  4. says

    I too agree with Cristiano , as a photographer for over 27 years , I have seen many changes but not all the clients like change . Some might like what I do , very traditional look or some might like it when , let's say , the sun or lighting is blown out , the more contemporary look ( the stuff I would have thrown away years ago ).

  5. says

    Hi John and Patrice,
    Nice to hear your comments, the whole point of writing this article is to really stress the importance of putting our creativity to work and in the majority of the cases it will be through the development of personal projects.