White Wall Wednesday: The Creative Process

The creative process. Is it usually the same for you each time you create, or is it different? Maybe even drastically different? Do you know what to expect or is it a surprise?

I work from routine best, so my shoots usually go to plan, or at least follow very similar steps. Here are most common steps for my shooting process, as you’ll see from start to finish in this in-depth video:

1. Brainstorm
2. Sketch
3. Write
4. Costume/Props
5. Set the camera
6. Test shot
7. Shoot
8. Cull images
9. Edit image
10. Share!

When I started writing that I didn’t know it would fit neatly in to a 10-step process, but there we have it. Creature of habit over here. I love comfort and stability in my creativity. I thrive in a controlled environment.

I often wish I was different so that I could embody more of a traditional artist spirit. For example possessing any of the following traits would be kind of great: wanderlust, spontaneity, or fits of inspiration.

Well, that third one does happen sometimes. But in general, I am predictable and even-keeled. That doesn’t mean that I don’t surprise myself, that I am not wildly inspired, or that I don’t enjoy a big adventure. Simply, that I don’t thrive under those conditions all the time. I love to work with a list, an itinerary, and a closely monitored clock.

I actually attribute these characteristics in myself to success. Because of my frighteningly equal split of Type A and Type B personalities, I can focus, understand my tasks, and get work done efficiently. But, because I am naturally creative, I have lofty dreams, big ambitions, and a wild imagination. They work in really good unison and harmony to create steadfast creativity.

The before image.

Steadfast creativity. What is it?

It is the knowledge that creativity will always be there.

It means not relying on inspiration to strike like lightning.

It’s cultivating what inspires you to draw upon that any time.

I don’t like uncertainty. But I especially don’t like it when it comes to my imagination. I want to know that it is a muscle I have worked so much that it remembers what to do in a pinch.

I think that is why I’ve taken such a step by step approach to photography. It helps me to understand my job, which frees up my mind to focus on more creative tasks. If I’m confused by my process, I can’t focus on my creativity. Plain and simple.

So, that’s my creative process! What is yours? How do you work best?

  • November 28, 2018 - 8:20 am

    Gallagher Green - I never used to sketch or think of anything ahead of time, but since I have started taking your classes it has all changed. I have over a dozen sketches since PPC, but some will take some time to execute.
    I love this photo and the in-depth video, I never get tired of watching your photo shoots and edits. I am going to go share it in my group right now! Thanks!

    P.S.
    Glad you didn’t slam your head into the wall, I was a little worried about it. LOLReplyCancel

  • November 28, 2018 - 8:21 am

    Omar Sierra - Hey Brooke. I admire so much your work and your creative process. Personally I´m trying to work in an organizational way, but I´m still being some chaotic when I create. I can be walking and find out an interesting scene or object, then I shoot. When I´m in front of my Laptop then could came some ideas to editing the photo. But I think I can be more deep in my work with a organization and discipline.

    Thank you for sharing us your workflow and your creative process.ReplyCancel

    • November 28, 2018 - 5:18 pm

      Gallagher Green - I have found with my own work flow became more organised as I created, along the my inspiration. Like Brooke said, they are a muscle, the more you use then the strong and easier it becomes. So create even if it feels unorganised and chaotic, and if don’t like how the piece is going finish it anyway it will help your mind get used to the workflow of editing.
      🙂ReplyCancel

  • November 28, 2018 - 8:37 am

    Anna D. Bruce - Wednesdays are my favorite days. I have a very similar 10-step process for creating but #1 can really vary for me depending on the situation. I brainstorm when: I am asked to create something for someone or a specific project – I breakdown what they wanted, what symbolism, posing, wardrobe, colors, words best depict the concept and then go from there. When I create for myself #1 looks like this: Lightning strike! Go write the idea down! Then brainstorm what symbolism, posing, wardrobe, colors, words best depict the concept.

    One thing that has always worked for me is to challenge myself to create with an object/wardrobe (maybe even word or quote). I sit and I think, “Okay, what can I do with this?” This technique really feeds my need for problem solving and creating at the same time. I am not always good at “Okay! Here you are! Create” Especially when everything is unfamiliar to me – I get overwhelmed and freeze. I NEED to plan ahead of time. This happened to me at PPC. I didn’t know what landscape to expect so at first I was completely blank. If I needed to shoot upon arrival I would not have been able to. So, I mulled. I walked around, looked at interesting walls, locations then I mused through the props and wardrobe until something spoke to me. Then, I challenged myself to create with those items.

    I am excited to watch your video during my lunch hour. Hugs <3ReplyCancel

  • November 28, 2018 - 9:54 am

    Turla Peterson - I love the way you break down your creative process. I have pretty much all your Creative live videos and I tried your techniques. I started even sketching even my sketches are so horrible. Most of the time my idea comes as soon as I wake up in the morning and usually stayed with it all day. In my head I start to plan what I am going to do and soon enough I will shoot or sketch. Pretty much all my images are product of this process.
    As easy as it comes it can fade also so quickly especially if I have bad dreams or just having a bad day. These lasted for a while and sometimes for months and I don’t know why. I just could not worked on anything and when this happens I tend to write short stories and sometimes poetry. Through my short stories an idea will come and flourish. Not a whole lot of people cares much about my stories and poetry but I just simply just don’t care anymore. I was told once that my writing is simply waste and my pictures are basically crap. whatever they might think it’s my creative process to bring me back to the state where I can create again.
    Thank you so much for sharing your gift, your visions and your talent. You have helped so many people especially me to go beyond of what we think we can create.ReplyCancel

  • November 28, 2018 - 12:10 pm

    Chrystal Kelly - Hi Brooke. I think we all wish we were a little different, I know I do. Not that I wish away who I am but that I wish I had a little more of that right brain side(I think it’s right…lol) working for me, the part that’s more pragmatic, better with executive function…. but that’s just not me. Those things are really challenging for me. My workflow tends to be idea, sketch, too long planning , shoot, edit, sometimes share. And I like to sometimes make images right when I see something that sparks curiosity too, like I’ve been playing with reflections in puddles as a study on light and how reflections naturally layer composition and texture, it’s different then most of my more conceptual work but it keeps me playing in the world around me. Thank you for sharing your process❤️ReplyCancel

  • November 28, 2018 - 7:56 pm

    Vicki Kurasz - I love hair toss photos, so thank you so much for this. I actually did the hair tosses for a group of photographer friends a few years ago (my hair is upper butt length). I normally don’t like being in front of the camera, but it was a lot of fun.ReplyCancel

  • November 29, 2018 - 4:50 pm

    Brooke Vega - Many artists and scientists are starting to challenge the traditional notion of artists as kooky, impetuous people possessed by a particular passion or genius is mostly made up. There is some fascinating research coming out about the neurobiology of creativity! Still, I believed in the artist stereotype for most of my life. I have always been a thoughtful, methodical person, and people always told me I was left-brained and analytical. So I got a degree in Economics and got a job in Operations at a tech company.

    But, you’re living proof that careful, disciplined processes fit just as naturally into a creator’s world. In fact, I think it might be even more important for solo creators or entrepreneurs. Creating as an individual grants a great gift of freedom and a lot of responsibility at the same time.

    For me, a lot of my process comes down to self-management. I struggle to create when I’m in a negative emotional state, and, somewhere in the course of my life, the voice in my head that doubts me got hold of a microphone. It likes the sound of its own voice.

    So on days when I have serious creative work to do, I start by getting my mind and body in the right state.

    The rest of my process isn’t as honed as yours (something to aspire to!), but I always start by asking myself to identify the 1-3 things that are most important for me to accomplish. What do I want to convey? What’s my outcome?

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your process! You have become one of my favorite sources of inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • December 12, 2018 - 11:00 am

    Georges Dutil - Love your work, it keeps me motivated. I don’t have your discipline, even though I’ve been an active shooter for the past 50 years and loving it more each day. I tend to go out and let lifes calling approach me with events and situations that require my attention and then, having started out in photography by learning from master painters and the cinema I will try and bend reality in that direction.ReplyCancel

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