Point and click can get a bit tedious at times. Sometimes the subject looks good, but when you freeze it and show friends afterwards it has none of the impact it had on you at the time. Livening up your photos by adding that creative spark can make the photos much more interesting for viewing after the fact. To add creativity, all you have to do is remember everything you have been taught about photography and turn it on its head. That’s what creativity is, experimenting with the boundaries of the norms, or breaking them all together. Thus, there are no set rules to being creative apart from consistent experimentation. Here are a few handy tips.
Add movement to your photo
Photos are also known as ‘stills’ for a particular reason, they don’t move. However, with a few nifty tricks you can add a sense of movement, making it much more interesting. Firstly, try moving the camera. It seems to go against all instincts to move a camera whilst taking a photo, but give it a try. For example, a popular technique is panning. Used especially in sports, panning follows the movement of the subject which makes the subject sharp and visible, whilst the background is a blur. Try also swirling with your camera and taking a photo mid shot…who knows what will appear on your viewfinder? If you want try extreme photography, endangering the well being of your camera, put it on a long shutter speed then chuck it in the air. Catch it afterwards, obviously. This again will help get a photo you will never have seen.
This adds vertical and horizontal movement to a photo, but zooming whilst taking a photo adds another dimension, quite literally. It gives a 3D feel and look. This can produce particularly interesting results when combined with slow sync flash.
Change the angle you shoot from
Experiment with as many different angles as you can. Get down and dirty and take a photo from ground up. Getting photos from this new perspective can produce some enlightening point of views. Factoring in some luck can also create a random photograph no matter what the technique. Just point and click without aiming to see what result you can achieve.
Alternate to going low, go high. Get an extended monopod, or tripod, and a long shutter release cable and hold your camera high and start to take photos. You can get all sorts of interesting views, such as photos of things too high to see normally, or interesting birds-eye like perspectives. Go crazy and add on a wide angle lens or even a fisheye lens. Back to extreme photography, attach your camera to a kite and get the ultimate picture from the clouds!
Make your photos look ‘worse’
When I say ‘worse’, I mean worse in a good way, don’t strive to get the best quality photo. Put the subject out of focus. Make sure it’s not slightly out of focus, but out of focus so that the viewer can tell it is purposeful. Make something the focal point of the photo by being the only thing out of focus. A good use of creative focusing is if you have a plain background, then nothing in the photo is in focus.
Put your ISO as high as you can. The higher the ISO the more noise and more grainier the picture becomes. This can add real character to a photograph, especially if you want to achieve a dated look by using black and white photography.
Some real interesting photographs have been achieved by over exposing the image. It creates a really bright result that when used well, can emphasize parts of the photograph.
It can be very difficult at times to get the right white balance. It can be much more fun purposefully getting it wrong. By changing the color cast of the photograph you completely change the feel and attitude of the photo.
Keep that shutter open
Flick the shutter speed to “Bulb”, which is usually at the lower end of the time shutter spectrum. What bulb allows you to do is keep the shutter open as long as you want simply by holding down the shutter release button. It is particularly fun in low light situations following a trail of light, be it cars or a friend with a flashlight. Although due to the shutter being open for a while, the photo can become blurry because of your movement. Unless this is the look you want, it is often best to use a tripod. You could also go astronomical and take photos of the sky. Astronomers have the shutter open for long periods of time with the camera pointed at the sky. This allows them to track star paths. However, this is heavily battery dependent.
Try using flash along with a slow shutter speed. This creates a nice layered photo, as the flash makes part of the image sharp and the slow shutter speed can create interesting effects. This is usually referred to as “slow sync” flash photography.
And if your camera can…
There are often nice little additions on your camera you may never have known. Most cameras have the ability to capture infrared, but not all. If yours can get an infrared lens and prepare to take some potentially stunning shots. The results can be unique and is an art form in its own right and can be very exciting to experiment with. However, the filters filter out much of the light so long shutter speeds are recommended, and thus so is a tripod and a faster ISO.
Multiple exposure is also a setting that, unfortunately, is limited to a select few models. Taking multiple exposures of the same frame can create a very detailed picture. Changing the focus or angle between each makes some fantastic results. Fortunately, by using layers in Adobe Photoshop, you can achieve this affect.
This list is only a guideline, giving a few suggestions to changing a typical, boring photo into something different and exciting. However, it is all down to the photographer. You have to experiment and try new things. With digital photography it’s not so costly so go out and take lots of photos, you are bound to take bad ones, but within them there could be some hidden gems.
~Zahid H Javali