Boost Your Creative Photography Skills with a Little Help from an Ex-Dancer

What can an ex-dancer who performed with Prince, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, and Robbie Williams teach photographers about creativity? Turns out, quite a lot. Djeneba Aduayom pranced from dance to photography to give us a living example of the creative spirit.

"Imagine having what you love most taken away from you," she said to Time magazine writer Naina Bajekal. "I had to find something equally powerful." Aduayom found photography after suffering a career-ending fall that resulted in hip and knee surgery. Although Aduayom would never dance professionally again, she would live to create beautiful photographic works of art.

In her Time magazine interview, we glean from Aduayom a few ways to keep intention and creativity alive in your shoots from beginning to end.

  1. Connection: Find new ways to connect. As a dancer, Aduayom connected with her audience through emotion. Because of this, she found interesting ways to capture the emotion of her subjects.
    • Action: Senior portraits to wedding photography, what new ways can you find to connect with your clients emotionally and otherwise?
  2. Transferrable Skills: From her previous career, Bajekal writes Aduayom "brings an understanding of movement, balance and emotion to the fashion editorials and fine art projects she shoots." She also spent four years studying interior design.
    • Action: How about you?  What was your previous career? What are your hobbies and skills outside of photography?  Think about how to translate and inject the creative richness and mechanical skills from those experiences into your photography.
  3. Creatively Imagine the End Result: You’ve heard the phrase, "start with the end in mind." Aduayom "spends time thinking about the project, researching the subjects and the locations and asking questions," writes Bajekal. "My brain keeps these bits of information, and then a certain song or looking at pictures of the people I’m going to photograph will trigger a kind of vision. It’s like a puzzle that comes into one."
    • Action: In the end, the final product of your shoot is a direct reflection on you. How often do you think about the end result as a culmination of a creative journey between you and your client?

In the end, creativity is the journey of art through the lenses of the creator. As a champion of the photographic arts and the professional photographers who painstakingly create magnificent photographic work, PPA encourages all photographers to push themselves artistically.

For more ways to boost your professional photography career, consider taking a few moments to create a free Professional Photographers of America account. You’ll get tons of information and education about the latest photography skills, competitions and important news, plus opportunities for discounts, Imaging USA tickets, and much more.

Check out the Artists at Every Age project for TIME’s "Optimists" issue featuring the work of Djeneba Aduayom.

Reference article was written by Time magazine writer Naina Bajekal