By Ryan Gareis
Photography has always been one of my biggest passions, and I have found that creativity flows more naturally when it has to do with something you love. At a very young age, I was introduced to photography by my dad. He took pictures of my team during my soccer games and had done many photography projects in the past. He never worked in the business, but photography was easily one of his favorite hobbies. His love for the art inspired me to pursue it as well, and when I found my own love for it, I became dedicated to expanding my skills. When I was younger, I focused on a lot of still images. I enjoyed setting up backgrounds and photographing simple objects, such as flowers or shoes. I experimented with angles, lighting, and other factors to make the images different from ones I had seen before. I used the internet and my past projects to come up with new, creative ideas.In high school, I became very interested in sports photography, and joined the yearbook staff in order to be able to develop more skills and gain experience in this area. My creativity in regards to sports and action photography expanded greatly during my high school career. I volunteered to shoot everything from soccer to badmitten. Looking back on my work, many of my first sport photographs were simple images of athletes standing on the field. They lacked depth and movement, and these images did not stand out amongst others. Over my high school years, these images developed into more interesting action shots that portrayed motion and excitement compared to those of athletes standing in place.
Recently, I have developed a love for both portrait and food photography. Even though there is so much room for creativity in the field of photography, it remains extremely competitive. Many ideas that I have felt to be insanely unique have come up on the internet whenI searched them. In my opinion, in order to be a successful, creative photographer in such a competitive field, you have to find your individual style and niche. Over my years of experience,I have found that my photography style includes high-detail and vibrant color. This being said, I have many plans for new portrait ideas that include new poses, angles, color palettes, and movements that I have yet to try. I think those plans will allow me to expand my creativity in this art and develop my skills as a photographer!When it comes to my creative process, I always write down any ideas that pop into my head. I notice that when I sit down and try to come up with project ideas, I struggle more compared to when I am going about my day and ideas naturally occur. I keep a list of ideas, and I constantly revisit that list to see how I can add or change them to make it more my own. The location of a shoot also plays a big role in my creative process. If there is an object at the shooting location, I will try to use that in a way that enhances the image. I will test out all angles when shooting, even if it means laying on the ground to get the shot. I am a strong believer that the more you shoot, the more likely you are to get the best, most creative shot. It reminds me ofMichael Jordan’s quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Being a photographer has taught me that this quote can relate to situations far beyond the sports realm. Even when shooting, a shot may not look great through your lens, but you may find it to be your favorite later on after uploading the photographs. I believe that you will not know which shot is the best until you blow them up later on, so you should try anything that comes to mind. For instance, I almost postponed a shoot when it was super sunny outside because I was fearful the sun would