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For some, digital photography is primarily for the benefit of shooting pictures of family and friends, and sharing them; but you’re a more creative type. You’re eager for the challenge to capture images with more thought and technique behind them. Photography is an art form, and with all art forms, you must be willing to push the envelope to create something special. That is what the 12 techniques in this two-part PhotographyTalk.com will do for you: be more inventive and less predictable, and make people take serious notice of your work. Read Part 1 for the first 6 techniques.
Select a Slower Flash Sync Speed
This is another technique that overrides the camera’s brain. By using a slower sync speed in low light, you can allow more of the ambient light to illuminate the subject or scene, in balance with a flash. Take your inventiveness one step farther with front or rear curtain flash.
Read this PhotographyTalk.com article for more information: Photography Tip—How To Mix Flash and Ambient Light for Better Photos.
Take It High.
Of course, the other extreme of creative angles is to place your camera above your head and beyond the reach of your hands. Use an extended monopod or similar piece of equipment that allows you to hold one end, with the camera in the air. You then release the shutter with a long release cable or a wireless unit. This is an excellent technique for shooting in a crowd or street photography. If you are truly adventurous, then try your hand at kite aerial photography. Yes, you attach your camera to a kite and let it drift where you dare, but you’ll have some rare and interesting images if you retrieve your camera safely.
Layer Some Images.
One advantage of film cameras is that it is relatively easy to shoot multiple exposures on one frame of film. Only a few digital cameras have this feature. If yours does, then give this technique a try. You have many creative options: shoot the same subject or scene at different focal lengths or progressively take very small steps to the left or right. You can also make slight adjustments with your editing software; or use the editor to create multiple-exposure images if your camera cannot.
Make It Look Gritty and Grainy.
Film photography was also a great medium to create grainy black and white images that were often very artistic and dynamic. You can do the same with your digital camera by manually selecting various ISO settings. You want to choose numbers higher than your camera’s automatic exposure reading. Increase your ISO and you’ll give your images more grain. Experiment with converting them to black and white and making prints.
Manipulate White Balance.
The various light sources that you might use for your digital photography are measured in different temperatures; and different temperatures are related to specific colors. For example, outdoors light and fluorescent lighting are in the blue, or cool, area of the spectrum, while incandescent light bulbs (tungsten) and a candle are in the yellow, or warm, area. You use the white balance mode on your camera to compensate for these differences in light, so your whites are white in your photos.
Like some of the other techniques in this article, you can also override your camera’s white balance to create unusual images. Once you learn how to manipulate this effect, you can almost paint with your camera.
Become Buddies with the Bulb
An often-overlooked feature on most digital cameras is the bulb setting, typically labeled “B” or “Bulb.” This is essentially the slowest shutter speed on your camera. Selecting it and partially pressing on the shutter release will cause the shutter to remain open “forever.” In most cases, you use bulb with your camera on a tripod; however, to go very weird, you can combine the bulb technique with moving your camera. That’s how you can register light trails, especially at night in an urban setting, or during a fireworks display.
This is also a technique that astronomy photographers use to show movement of stars and other objects in the sky. Attach your camera to a tripod and set the ISO to a small number as well as a small aperture. With a bit of experimentation, you’ll capture some “far out” photos, literally. Shooting pictures of the night sky in this manner does drain batteries much quicker, however.
Invent with Infrared.
Infrared photography would seem to be reserved for scientists and maybe the military, but it is like entering/creating a parallel universe where all the rules seem to have been forgotten. Your photos may have black skies, white trees, dark eyes and many other kinds of freaky changes.
Refer to the manual to determine if your camera is capable of capturing infrared light. If it does, then you’ll want to use an IR filter, which blocks non-IR light. An IR filter doesn’t allow much light to penetrate to the sensor, so place your camera on a tripod and use faster ISO settings and longer shutter speeds. The light at dawn and dusk is best for infrared photography.