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Creative Input: Just as Important as Creative Output

creative input

Creative Input: Just as Important as Creative Output

If you walked into Mary Lou’s living room, you’d see a multi-universe Lego battle in progress. Darth Vader is fighting Batman. Harry Potter and friends are defending the Millennium Falcon. Besides being a dusting nightmare, it is a creative and original piece of art that her 13-year-old is constantly changing and adapting or as he says “to be continued.”

Unlike his mother, this kid doesn’t enjoy painting, drawing, or sculpting, but he can design elaborate worlds in Minecraft and isn’t afraid to add spices to whatever is cooking for dinner. His art may not be in the form of “traditional artistry,” but he is just as creative as a painter or sculptor.

Adults often forget that to be creative does not mean that you need to be Ansel Adams, Pablo Picasso, or Jane Austen. David Kelley tells a story in his TED talk about a 3rd grader who builds a clay horse and is ridiculed by a classmate. The little boy never tried to create art like that again. Kelly goes on to talk about how many adults have had similar experiences and opt out of being creative.

Well, here’s a fun fact: We’ve work with professionals on every level in almost every industry, and in one way or another, each of those individuals is creative.

We often work with people – marketers and non-marketers – who say they aren’t sure what they want in terms of composition, lighting, or subject action. Composing a shot list can be intimidating. People say to us, “You’re the photographer, so you know best.” However, once they see the progress of the shoot, they become more confident and have excellent ideas on how to make the image better. By the end of the shoot, the client is excited and inspired to tackle the next project.

As professional photographers, we know what makes a technically and compositionally good photograph, but we don’t always know the message intended for the shot. We are there to create the images, but you need to be able to implement them in your campaign. The creative input is just as important as the creative output. John values the client’s opinion on a shoot as they are the ones who inherently know the brand and the message. Client collaboration is not a hinderance – it is essential to getting the right photo for you.

Boost your creative confidence and prepare for a photo shoot by:

  1. Start with a blank sheet of paper. Write down every conceivable adjective that describes your company, product, and service. Take it to the next level and imagine what words you want your customers to use in their descriptions.
  2. Draw a triangle. Create a base with the adjectives that describe the heart of your message and work your way up to the top where the important adjectives will live. Look at that triangle and ask yourself, “What does this convey about my company?” When you have your answer, think about ways to use images to send that message.
  3. Take it back to your creative team. Recognize that no one knows everything. How many business leaders are the news right now, who have or are about to lose their jobs because they tried to work as an island? Respect the vision of the CEO, but collaboration is essential – especially on a photo shoot. If you stand back waiting to be impressed, you may be disappointed. Work with your creative team to create the best results possible.


You may not know how to properly light a room or pose a person, but you know what you like and you know your message. Your creativity may not manifest itself in a traditional form, but it is unique to you and helpful to your company. (Unless you’re making Lego battles on your desk. That may not be seen as “helpful.”)