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Creative Photography Techniques

by on ‎07-30-2014 01:04 PM - edited on ‎10-28-2019 11:32 AM by (14,779 Views)

Creative Photography Techniques


There are certain creative styles and techniques popularly used by photographers in the fine art and commercial avenues. You are about to learn about some of the more common methods used to create imaginative images!


Long Exposure


This is a great way to show the passing of time in a still photo. You can do this by setting your camera up on a tripod or by setting it on a stable surface, and then set the shutter speed for a longer period of time; typically you will use the “Bulb” setting in your camera. This mode will allow you to manually control how long the shutter remains open for. As an example, you could keep the shutter open for 3 minutes and 12 seconds exactly. When doing this type of photography, it is good to use a digital watch or stopwatch to keep track of how long your exposure lasts, considering the LCD screen on your DSLR will not show you this information. A common time-lapse image you will see involves trails of lights, usually coming from a car’s headlights or taillights, tracing through the frame.




I would assume most of people have heard this term before, but might be unaware of how this effect is achieved. In still photography, this is when you take separate photos and stitch them together to create one large, and usually long, image. The purpose is showing the viewer a wide view of a particular space. I love to do panoramic shots when I'm visting the ocean, and want to capture what I'm seeing to the right and left of me, not just what's right in front of me. Sometimes the stitching of the images will be done automatically by the camera by utilizing an included panoramic setting built into the camera. Then other times, this stitching process will be done using photo editing software. In the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop, there is a feature that can merge your photos together to make a panoramic out of multiple images by selecting the images involved and letting the program do the work!


High Dynamic Range (HDR)


This type of photography has become much more popular in the last couple of years. It is even becoming a setting you can select on many smartphone camera systems. The concept behind this type of photography is getting the best photo possible, by using qualities from underexposing and overexposing your images. For instance, when you have framed up a good shot and taken the picture. Then, after looking at the image on your screen or on your computer, you notice you didn’t receive the right balance of light throughout the image. HDR mode in a lot of cameras captures multiple shots in rapid succession, each one at a slightly different exposure. Then the camera, or the editing software, combines these different shots with varying exposure to provide you with a well-lit shot that stands out from the rest. While that is an example of the practical benefits of HDR, it can also be used in artistic fashion as well. Through a similar process with multiple shots, but instead of a balanced image, you can heighten the effects of the elements pulled from each exposure. This usually creates some photos I would describe as surreal or otherworldly.




I am sure you have seen images where a biker is riding down the street and is clearly in focus while the rest of the background is blurred by motion. They got this effect by panning, and it can be used to create the feeling of speed or to simply emphasize motion. You achieve this by selecting a slower shutter speed, which will naturally blur faster movement, and then move the camera in the same direction as your moving subject (biker). This allows the camera to focus, maintaining clarity for the subject while the non-moving parts of the scene are blurred by the camera’s movement. A similar effect can be created by zooming while pressing the shutter release button to capture your image and can give an almost three-dimensional effect to your image.




This type of photography is similar to cartooning or video. Basically, you take a photograph of the exact same composition at set intervals. For example; you want to capture a cityscape at different times of the day to show how the changes in light change the image over time. Sometimes, these images are then shown in sequence displaying the changes as a video would. To do this type of photography, you will need an intervalometer or a camera with an intervalometer built-in. An intervalometer is a device that will cause a camera to take a photo at set intervals (i.e. a photo every minute, hour, sec, etc…).