Cheap Tricks: Trick Photography Techniques that are Inexpensive and Effective
If you’re just starting out as a photographer, it’s important to experiment with techniques and equipment to find out what works best for you before purchasing expensive gear. With a standard DSLR camera, tripod, and basic photo editing software, you can try some inexpensive yet stunning trick photography techniques that will take the images to the next level. Read on to get the facts on developing some easy trick photography that will amaze your viewers and enhance your skills as an artist.
Use Long Exposure Photography to Shoot Waterfalls and Other Natural Wonders
Extending the amount of time that your lens is open and your image is exposed to light is a great way to capture shots at night that otherwise wouldn’t be visible. You can also use it to photograph moving lights in the dark, creating striking photos of fireworks, vehicles, or light spectaculars. Running water also looks amazing when photographed with extra light exposure.
Long exposure is one of the cheapest photography tricks you can do, requiring just a camera and a tripod. The tripod is necessary to hold your camera still as the image is created; even though you might think your hands are steady, failure to use a tripod will result in a messy, unremarkable blur. The length of time to leave the lens open is up to you; experiment with different shutter speeds, starting with a few seconds and gradually increasing to see what kind of images you get. Some cameras have a setting that allows you to leave the shutter open until you close it again. If you use that, however, make sure to have a remote, since pressing the shudder will create a blurry image.
Compose Shots with Unusual Angles
The quickest, cheapest way to make an ordinary shot into something extraordinary? Turn your camera on its side. By creatively choosing your subjects and backgrounds, varying the angles of your camera can produce surprising and unusual results. For example, an image of a girl laying on a large rock becomes an image of a girl rock-climbing if shot in just the right way. As with all trick photography techniques, experimentation is important to get the result you want—and can also produce some surprising and breathtaking images.
Create Abstract Designs out of Ordinary Objects
To compose a striking, artful image, find something in your environment with an unusual and eye-catching pattern—an umbrella, a curtain, a blanket, or even clothing can work for your purposes. Crop your field of vision so just the pattern is isolated while the rest of the image is obscured. This will give you a beautiful, abstract work of art, by making the object itself into a pattern.
At sunrise and sunset, choose a subject that will make an interesting silhouette when isolated against the sky. By shooting directly into the sun, you’ll overexpose your image, highlighting the beautiful colors of the changing light while creating a striking tableau with the silhouetted image.
Get an Old-School Vintage Analog Look with Your Digital Camera
If you want to combine the aesthetic of vintage photos with the ease and convenience of digital photography, you can use a technique called TVT (through the viewfinder). The premise couldn’t be more simple: Use black construction paper to attach a long tube to your camera lens, then take photos through the tube. Experiment with the length and density of the paper to get different effects for images that look like they came straight from Grandma’s attic.
Light Your Subject from Behind to Get a Warm Effect
This technique, called rim lighting, is a great way to make your subject stand out on a dark background and to highlight details that might otherwise be lost. The setup is simple: Place your light behind the subject, slightly above the camera. This technique works best if your subject is completely blocking the light source. When done right, the light will provide a warm glow around your subject, highlighting the edges. If the timing is right, you can also use this technique with the sun as your light source.
Use Zoom Burst for a Rush of Brilliant Color
All you need for this easy technique is a tripod and a zoom lens. Choose a subject with lots of bright color, such as a flower bed or a crowded beach. Set a slow shutter speed, focus in on a central subject, and zoom out smoothly as you press down the shutter button. The result is a radial swirl of color that calls to mind a tie-dyed shirt.
Give Your Images an Out-of-Focus Look with Vaseline
If you like the blurred-around-the-edges look of old photographs, you can try this very simple trick to get the look you want. Gently smear Vaseline around the edges of an inexpensive camera lens. This can give your photos a smoky, foggy look that can be used to evoke feelings or simulate age.
Experimenting with these trick photography tips is a great way to get started with pushing the envelope and the boundaries of your creativity. The key to trick photography is to be willing to practice and try new things until you get the results you’re looking for.