Putting the Pieces Together - The Messy Creative Process

As an art form, photography is all about the creative process and delivering ideas through images. In order to create great images, you need to put a plan in place for your own development; especially focused on skills, inspiration, purpose and output. By tackling these elements you can focus your mind and develop your work, to help you produce better and more refined art every time you go out on location.

There are four distinct stages to the creative process – Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Implementation.


Preparation is key when it comes to creating fine art photography that will resonate with collectors. It's important to do your research, look at other artists' work for inspiration, and experiment with different techniques. By taking the time to prepare, you'll be able to better execute your vision and produce a higher quality final product. Additionally, don't forget to draw from different emotional resources during this stage of the process - it can make all the difference in your finished piece.


For me, the creative process begins with incubation. This is when those first hints of a hopefully great idea are bouncing around in my head. This is when I’m sitting in my camper at sunset and happen to notice how the sun is hitting an object. This is the stage when I’m flipping through a magazine and an image in an article brings the whole project into focus (no pun intended). During the incubation step, your conscious AND subconscious minds are working on the idea. Have you ever tried forcing an idea? It doesn’t usually work, right?


As an artist, you may have moments where you feel a strong urge to create something new. This is what we call the "illumination" moment. It's when all of the preparatory elements come together in a coherent form.

For fine art photography, this process usually starts with finding the right subject. This could be anything from landscapes to portraits. Once you've found your subject, it's time to start thinking about composition and lighting. How can you best capture the essence of your subject? What kind of mood do you want to create?

After you've taken care of the technical aspects, it's time to let your creativity flow and see what you can come up with. The key here is to experiment and have fun. Don't be afraid to try new things or to make mistakes. It's all part of the process.

Once you're happy with your results, it's time to share your work with the world. Whether you're exhibiting your work in a gallery or selling it online, making sure that your work is seen by others is an important part of being a successful artist.

I hope this has given you a better understanding of the creative process for fine art photography. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to chat with you about your own creative journey.


As a fine art photographer, the creative process is ongoing and always evolving. You are constantly striving to capture that one perfect image. However, implementation is just as important as the idea itself. Without taking positive steps towards executing your idea, it will never see the light of day.

It's also crucial to evaluate your idea once it's been put into practice. Is it working the way you envisioned? If not, why? What can you do differently next time? Asking yourself these tough questions will help you refine your process and become a better fine art photographer overall.

Putting the Pieces Together

As an artist, it's important to understand the creative process and how to identify the different steps involved. Recognizing where you are on a creative journey can often be the confidence boost you need to see something through from preparation to implementation.

The creative process is different for everyone, but there are some general steps that most artists go through when creating a piece of art. These steps can be helpful in understanding your own process and how to best approach each project. 

The first step is usually preparation, which involves gathering ideas and inspiration for your project. This is where you start to form a vision for what you want to create.

Next is research, which entails learning everything you can about your subject matter. This step helps you to understand the different elements you'll need to consider when creating your piece.

Once you have a good understanding of what you want to create and the different elements involved, you can start to formulate a plan. This step is all about figuring out the logistics of your project and making sure everything is in order before you start working.

The next step is execution, which is where the actual work of creating your art takes place. This is often the most challenging part of the process, as it can be easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of your overall vision.

Finally, once you've completed your project, it's important to take some time for reflection. This step allows you to evaluate your work and see what you could have done differently. It's also a good time to celebrate your accomplishments and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

No matter what stage you're at in your creative journey, remember that the process is different for everyone. Just take things one step at a time and enjoy the ride. Who knows where it will take you.