Balancing Technical Skills and Creativity in Photography

Photography, a realm where technical skills and creativity collide, presents a perennial question to its practitioners: which is more important? This topic is not just a matter of curiosity but is central to the evolution and success of photographers, both hobbyist and professional.

Coming to you from David Bergman with Adorama TV, this interesting video essay takes a look at the idea of technical skills versus creativity. Bergman stresses the importance of understanding technical elements, but more significantly, he delves into the essence of photography as an art form. His approach underscores a key insight: while technical knowledge is crucial, it must be balanced with creative intuition. This balance is critical for photographers because it allows them to not only master the mechanics of their craft but also to inject personal vision and artistry into their work.

Bergman further illustrates that photography isn't just about replicating a set formula. Each element, from the model's unique features to the studio's ambient conditions, plays a role in shaping the final image. This reality pushes photographers to go beyond mere technical execution. It encourages them to adapt, experiment, and find their unique style and the confidence to create it consistently. For photographers, this is a liberating message. It empowers them to blend technical know-how with creative flair, turning every shoot into a canvas for both precision and expression.

Ultimately, the discussion transcends the specifics of camera settings and lighting. It invites photographers to recognize and embrace the duality of their craft: the meticulousness of technique and the boundlessness of creativity. In doing so, it opens up a world where photographers can continually evolve, learn, and redefine their art. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Bergman.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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The features and capabilities of today's better cameras can help with a lot of the technical aspects. Autofocus that automatically stays on our subjects, exposure modes that ensure proper exposure, 4 stop image stabilization, focus peaking ..... these things free us up from having to pay so much attention to the technical aspects of photography, so our brains are free to put more of our thoughts into the creative and artistic aspects of photography.

I mean, I can take images from more interesting and original perspectives if I can shoot handheld due to image stabilization, because I don't have to waste precious minutes or seconds setting up a tripod in awkward or constrained spaces.

Or, I can hold my camera down just an inch from the ground as I run alongside of a rapidly moving crab on the beach as it runs along, if the camera is going to keep the crab in focus for me.

Greater automation of the technical things allows more of our effort to be put into the creative part of our art. Advanced features keep the gear and settings from "getting in the way" and allow us to do the REAL part of photography, which is camera positioning (POV) and framing (composition).