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Although you can be very creative with your digital photography after you’ve uploaded it to your computer and opened it in photo-editing software, letting your imagination loose should start in the camera. In fact, a true measure of your photography skills is how often you shoot inventive images without any need for software manipulation. It all happens in your head and your camera. With the 12 techniques in this two-part PhotographyTalk.com article, you’ll spend more time photographing your world and life and less time chained to your computer.
Use Your Camera’s “Go” Mode
Don’t start frantically looking for a “go” shooting mode on your camera that you didn’t know was there…because it isn’t. “Go” mode is when you put your camera in motion. Yes, you learned the proper techniques to hold your camera steady, including bracing yourself against walls, doors, etc. and using a tripod, so your pictures will be sharp, even at slow shutter speeds. If you want to be inventive, however, then think beyond just sharp, picture-perfect digital photography. Some subject matter can be more interesting when your camera is moving.
Try panning your camera with the subject matter moving parallel to your position. This is a standard technique in sports and wildlife photography. Set your camera at a slower shutter speed. Then, follow the subject matter as he or she moves across the plane of your photo and release the shutter, as your camera is moving.
Read the PhotographyTalk.com article, Digital Photography—Four Tips To Improve Your Sports Photography, for more about sports photography. You’ll also find articles with tips about shooting specific sports.
Stand in the center of an outdoor scene (or interior space) that offers good subject matter in all directions. Then, spin 360 degrees in your position and, much like the panning technique, release the shutter while in motion.
Being inventive with your digital photography can also require an extreme technique, such as tossing your camera above your hands or head. Use a long shutter speed and the self-timer, so the shutter releases while the camera is in the air. This may seem dangerous (or expensive, or both) and foolish and generally it is, so be very careful before you attempt this technique. You may want a couple of extra hands ready to make sure your camera is caught. (Try it with a compact first before tossing your DSLR in the air.)
Zoom the Lens During Exposure.
This is a technique that works best when your camera is steady, even on a tripod. As you smoothly move the zoom from one focal length to another, the image that is created appears to be “pulled” toward the center, or similar to a kaleidoscope effect.
Read more about this technique in the PhotographyTalk.com article, Digital Photography—Zoom While You Shoot for Amazing Images.
Have Fun with Focus.
Precise focusing is just as important as a steady camera for “mainstream” digital photography, but if you want to walk on the wild side, then try purposely to shoot images that are not in focus. A classic picture is the wedding shot with the branch of a flowering tree in the immediate foreground and in focus and the wedding couple standing at some distance in the background not in focus, but can be seen through the branches of flowers.
Take It Low.
How many photos have you seen that are taken by a photographer standing, and from eye level? Too many is the answer. Even a waist-high angle is much too common. Bring your camera to the floor with a wide-angle lens to find a unique view of the world that most photographers overlook. Don’t hesitate to lie on the ground to create excellent pictures right in your camera.
Overexpose on Purpose.
Forget what your camera is telling you about the exposure. Override it and set some exposure combinations that are far from the correct reading. It will probably require some experimentation with different subject matter and lighting conditions to capture a special image or two.
Read Part 2 of this PhotographyTalk.com article for 6 more tips about making your photography more inventive and less predictable.