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The origin of Creativity in travel photography

An image taken using a technique called exposing for the highlights during a photography workshop with Pics of Asia

The origin of Creativity in travel photography

A few weeks ago I was invited by the Malaysian Advanced Photographer group to give a Talk about Creativity in photography. The event was in Kulala Lumpur and was followed by a half-day workshop about street photography.

This has been a very good opportunity for me to gather my thoughts on the subject and try to define where does creativity come from and can we develop it, nurture it and make it grow.

So where does Creativity come from? You don't wake up in the morning feeling creative, it is a long painstaking process that I have narrowed into two main categories: The way to look at things (composition) and being ethical in our photography process.

I have summarized the talk below in a very short article, but much more is described in the videos below. Hope you like it.

I have added links to the videos if you don't want to read the article at the very end.

Composition: the breeding ground for Creativity

If you have been following Pics of Asia for a while now you know the way we teach composition in our workshops. For us, the composition is about everything but the subject. After analyzing light, background and foreground can a photographer be creative with their angles.

By teaching your eyes to look at different things, or to look at things in different ways, you will instantly become more creative with your angles of approach, instead of pointing and shooting. People tend to focus too much on their subjects, spending most of their time analyzing the subject, which means they tend to stay where they are and compose from there.

By seeing composition in a more creative way you will end up with more creative images. That is the first step in pursuing creativity in Photography.

a farmer seeding corn in a field during an afternoon photography tour by Pics of Asia

The ethics of travel photography

A problem that a lot of photographers face is the call for fame that Social Media brought us nowadays. People want to be noticed and tend to follow the trends that will give them more shared and like. By doing so, photographers restrain themselves from being more creative and expressing their own voices.

Only by doing ethical about photography and about the way you practice the craft you can truly express your own unique vision in your images.

So the main thing to work on here is yourself. You need to ask yourself what are the things that make you feel, make you angry, happy, that would motivate you to get out of bed and spend hours working on a single subject? It’ not about how would you see yourself in 5 years, being famous and making money with your photographs. These are tricky shortcuts that have no long-term future.

Only by truly expressing the uniqueness of your personality can you come up with new and creative work.

Farmer in the field during Pics of Asia exploration of Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The photography talk about creativity in travell photography

Here are the videos from the talk I gave in Kuala Lumpur in June 2018 for the Malaysian Advanced photographer’s group (MAPg).



Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. Yatharth on July 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I loved the composition technique mentioned here. Thinking about anything but the subject and somewhere we intuitively will think of subject too in the process. I feel this approach will open up the mind to a holistic thoughtful image-making. Glad i stumbled upon this page. 🙂

    • Etienne on July 2, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks a lot Yatharth! Check out the other tutorials we have about composition, you will find a lot of new way of looking at things 🙂

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