Overcoming creative challenges with courage and confidence

Post by
Ruth Stephensen
Overcoming creative challenges with courage and confidence

Visual content creator Joe is inspired by the world around him. Whether he is at home in Singapore or traveling abroad, Joe is always ready for a new photography subject to catch his eye and he boldly pursues getting the perfect shot.

It is a challenge to both document and be an active participant in your photographs and Joe knows how to art direct experiences as they happen. Joe's not afraid to get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds, nor is he shy about asking the barista to hold the coffee for just a moment to frame his shot. The reward for his dedication is an enviable gallery of documented moments that may have otherwise passed him by had his lens not been poised and ready.

We've got a lot to learn from a creator like Joe who isn't afraid to ask for help - or permission - when it comes to finding the most creative solutions for his photographs. Keep scrolling to find out more about his creative process and how he overcomes challenges with courage and confidence.

Photo of hot air balloons in the sky over Cappadocia in central Turkey

I got my first camera when I was 6 years old. It was the type of camera where you needed to load a negative film. I still have the first photos that I shot with that camera.

I first discovered Creatively Squared after someone referred it to me. At the time I focused on coffee and food shots mainly in a flatlay style which often suited the Creatively Squared challenges. Every week their challenges would have prizes so it was nice since I was learning skills from others and if I was lucky I won a prize from time to time.

Cheery flatlay of a rainbow made from macarons and a cup of tea
Flower shop window and happiness quote on the wall

I progressed from participating in the weekly challenges to taking on content creation projects with Creatively Squared. They have all been unique and so far I've been most challenged by a Tiger Beer project where I needed to shoot with food so naturally I wanted to shoot it at a restaurant to get the best photos, however most of the eating places here will not allow me to bring my own bottles of beer. The particular product was new so they did not carry it either. I had to really convince them that I will only shoot the beer bottles and not drink them!

Alfresco dining scene depicting Tiger Crystal beer and spring flowers
Vibrant night time drinking scene featuring Tiger beer and beautifull bokeh effect

To get in the creative zone I can only work if I wake up fresh and have a happy tummy! I mainly shoot in the morning or late afternoon using natural light only, simply in my living room near the balcony's door and I filter the light using the day curtain.

When I am working on a brief for Creatively Squared I always have the concept in my head and I gather the backdrop and all the props which I need for the concept. However, I will always look at the result and adjust things accordingly throughout the shoot, like the props, their position or angle of my shot.


I am a collector of vintage items. I have a huge collection of tea pots and tea cups which come in handy for food product photo shoots. I would describe my personal aesthetic as being vibrant and colourful but also moody once in a while. When it comes to styling I am jack of all trades and enjoy working with a range of props and products. I did really like the recent Google Singapore assignment where there were no products involved and I took photos on the streets.

Flatlay scene of vintage tea set from Singapore and ancestral photos
Close up photo of vintage china and hair pins from Singapore and ancestral photos

The camera I use is a Sony Alpha 700 r II. I seldom use a tripod since I am a lazy person. I don't like to do heavy editing and will either use Snapseed or Lightroom on my mobile. Can you believe it? It's true! If I could improve one thing this year I would like to learn more about editing.

Some creators on Instagram I admire are @twiggstudios and @hautecuisines. I also like scenery photography which has so many talented people to learn from. I learn from the experts and regularly ask for recommendations on Instagram.

My top tip is to not be ashamed to ask a question of someone you admire, just send them a DM to find out! Sometimes they don't answer but a lot of them are really quite generous.

Sunrise photo of man at lookout over Bali's Mount Batur
Sunrise over Mount Batur in Bali

Thank you Joe for sharing your Creatively Squared journey. You can follow Joe and his colourful adventures at @joetravellersg on Instagram.

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