Creative Process for Photographers

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Date of Award

Fall 2014


An organized process for achieving creative solutions has been successfully used in the graphic design field for years. This creative process, which is taught to graphic design students at many universities and colleges, has proven successful for generating graphic options and unique ideas. In a photography curriculum, however, the creative process is rarely brought up. Photographers, for example, are not typically taught to use heuristic techniques such as sketching, thumbnails, brainstorming, or other approaches to generate ideas. To fill the need for an idea generating process for photographers, successful professional photographers who practice in a variety of fields, from studio and product photography to photojournalism, were surveyed regarding their creative methods. Taking the information gleaned from the survey, this paper distills a Creative Process for Photographers.To test the Creative Process for Photographers, a photographic assignment without mention of any creative process was administered to a group of volunteer college photography students. The following week, the same assignment was administered to the same group of students, this time preceded by a demonstration and discussion of the Creative Process for Photographers prescribed by this researcher. Rubrics were used to compare and evaluate the results of the two assignments. The use of the Creative Process for Photographers yielded superior work and had a positive and invigorating effect on the students.This paper will discuss the idea generating methods used by the professional photographers, and explain the Creative Process for Photographers that was designed as a result.


Virgil Scott

Subject Categories

Art Education | Arts and Humanities