It’s been a great year in 2018, with lots of photography throughout the year. Now is a great time to take a look back over the year, sift through the archives, and choose the ten best creative photos of the year. It’s great to go through this process, as it’s a nice way to see what went right, and area’s that can be improved. Photography as you will know very well is a creative process!

1 – Marine city in Busan

Lensballs are a photography producted used to create a refracted image. In this image a lensball refracts the image of Busan's marine city.
A lensball refracts the Marine city area of Busan, in South Korea.

This is one of the earliest photos of the year, and taken with my lensball. Using the horizon line to split the scene within a lensball is an effective strategy when taking photos using this technique. This site is dedicated to teaching people all about this fascinating style of photography, and I hope you’ll want to learn more through the course “Globalise“.

2 – Spring at Seonamsa temple

Spring blossoms are seen at a temple in South Korea. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
Pink blossoms can be seen at Seonam temple close to Suncheon in South Korea.

One of the best times of the year to photograph is Spring, especially with amazing pink blossoms like these. Photographs like this take good planning though, and arriving early enough so that sun is lighting up the background building was a requirement for this photo. Finally I used a wide angle lens to give this photo a creative feel. You can see the temple building is nicely framed by the blossoms.

3 – The Tokyo sky tree

The Tokyo Sky tree taken with the experimental photography technique of light painting. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
The Tokyo sky tree is a new addition to the Tokyo skyline.

How many towers are there in this photo? I can tell you there is only one. How many photos were taken to produce this photo? Once again I can tell you it’s only 1. This is one of the best creative photos of the year, and was produced without post processing. You can produce images like this yourself by learning about kinetic light painting. I’ll be giving you much more information about this over the year through my mailing list.

4 – Race for the prize – Tokyo

A motion blur photo taken from a train passing along the Odaiba bridge in Tokyo. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
A motion blow photo taken on a train crossing the Odaiba bridge in Tokyo

Among the best creative photos I took last year was this one. The technique used is among the most simple of the photos displayed in this gallery. As the train in Tokyo crosses the Odaiba bridge you can sit at the very front of the train, with direct access to the front window. It’s simply a matter of holding the camera against the glass during an exposure of around 1/3 second. The tricky part is keeping the camera steady, as the train moves along. As you can see the effect is dramatic, as the train passes through a tunnel like structure along the bridge.

5 – A Maiko in Gion – Kyoto

A Maiko walks along the street in Gion in Kyoto. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, and it’s often possible to see them in the Gion area of Kyoto.

Granted this photo is more in the travel bracket than the creative photography area. It’s in the list to add some more variety, and to show some portraits photos from the year. This one is undoubtedly one of my favourites from the year. The little bit of creativity used here is a large aperture to create that nice smooth bokeh background.

6 – A Yakutian girl in Andong

A Yakutian girl wearing traditional clothes at sunset. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.

This photo is all about moment of capture. Usually you’d need off camera strobes to produce this type of image, to light the face against that gorgeous sunset sky. In this case a strong outdoor stage light served the same purpose. A long focal length prime lens was then used, in this case the 135mm F2, to compress the background and capture those pastel colours. The women’s expression as she watches people on stage then adds to the potency of this photo.

7 – Love is in the air

A South Korean couple pose for a photo in a muhly grass field. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
A young couple pose together in a pre-wedding photo shoot.

Waking up early in the morning for specific photos is something many photographer will do. I wasn’t alone when visiting this muhly grass field in Gyeongju. The time of day was chosen to get that sun flare on all the muhly grass, which is pink during late summer. It just so happened this couple was there at the same time, and agreed to having their photo taken by me and a number of other photographers. It became one of the best creative photos of the year. The photo has a great minimalist feel to it, with the path acting as a leading line to the couple. Finally the couple made a great pose for this photo, and it’s nice when all these creative elements come together.

8 – Busan in South Korea

The view of Busan taken from Namsan. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
A landscape view of Busan taken from Namsan.

Busan in South Korea is my favourite city, and probably favourite place. In no small part because of views like this. The fact I like coastal cities, with modern architecture, but with a good bit of nature also makes Busan stand out to me. This photo was taken ahead of the big fireworks display later that evening, in fact this composition would not have worked for the display itself. I needed to zoom in closer to the bridge area. However ahead of the display I got the wide angle lens out, and capture the flare on the foreground grasses. As I was photographing towards the light digital blending was used as the creative component of this image to balance the light across the scene.

9 – Autumn at Songkwangsa temple

An autumn scene at Songkwansa in South Korea. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
A typical autumnal scene of temple buildings in South Korea.

Once again this photo utilizes the digital blending technique to balance light across the photo. The tree coming in from the right really frames the photo, with the leaves giving a vibrant red glow as light from the sun passes through them. The creative element of this photo is the sun starburst near the middle of the frame. Creating this required two steps. The first step is partially hiding the sun behind the leaves of the tree, a full sun would overpower this image. The second is stopping down the aperture to f16 or smaller, and this creates the star effect on the sun.

10 – The natural history museum

The interior roofing of the Natural History Museum in London. This is one of the best creative photos Simon Bond took in 2018.
The natural history museum in London has some amazing architecture. It’s always busy with people though. The technique used to remove them is why this is one of the best creative photos of 2018.

The Natural History Museum in London is an architectural gem. It’s a great location to visit, and it’s free to enter! All these factors lead to the building be busy with people most days. So how is it there are no people in this photo? You’ll need to use post processing, and layer masking to produce this result. This image is the result of multiple exposures, each with people in them. To take this type of photo you’ll need to take several photos without moving the camera at all, so using a tripod is best. Once you have these photos layer them on top of each other in Photoshop, and apply a black layer mask to each layer. You’ll then need to use a white paint brush over the black layer mask, to reveal only the areas that don’t contain people.

Your best creative photos of the year

There are many ways to add creativity to your work. Keeping this list to ten was hard, and meant excluding some photos I’ve enjoyed a lot this year. How would your list look if you were to choose your ten best creative photos of 2018? Are there techniques you enjoy using that haven’t made my list this year? Please leave your thoughts, and post any photos you’d like to share in the comments section! I hope you had a great 2018, and an even more creative 2019!

Simon Bond
Simon Bond

Simon Bond is a professional photographer from the UK, his work has featured on the front page of National Geographic Traveler and numerous other magazines. He is most well known for his work with the lensball, for which he has featured in national newspapers in the UK. You can find out more about lensball photography by downloading his free e-book! Simon has also produced a video course on lensball photography called Globalise, which you can buy here!