Trick photography and special effects techniques

If you’re ready to take your photography skills to the next level and have fun, read on to discover the different trick photography and special effects techniques that you can instantly use. We’ll cover 3 of the more common trick photography and special effects techniques as they require very little extra effort to get started.

Most of these techniques won’t require you to buy any special equipment. You can get started with any decent digital camera (preferably a DLSR) and a tripod for night time photography. As for trick photography software, you need at least a good photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or a free alternative like Gimp. Once you get the hang of it and your skills improve, you can consider investing in higher-end cameras and special effects software. But enough about hardware and software, onwards to the techniques!

Forced perspective photography

If you’ve seen pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa taken by tourists, you’ll definitely have come across forced perspective photos. These usually depict people “pushing” the tower with their bare hands. This is probably the most overused trick photography technique for that landmark.

Forced perspective employs optical illusion through clever positioning of the photographer and the subject matter. So to achieve that effect you position yourself nearer to the camera so you look bigger than the tower from the point of view of the camera, and you hold up your hands while the photographer adjust their position to line up your hands against the wall perfectly to create the illusion of you “pushing” the tower.

There are endless variation you can try to create interesting photos, such as making yourself look taller than a building, holding up a person with your bare hands, interact with an impossibly large object, and more.

Long exposure photography

Long exposure trick photography techniques are usually taken at night or under low-light conditions. Basically you set the shutter speed of your camera to a longer duration so you get sharp details of stationary elements in your images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements. You need a tripod when attempting long exposure photography to get clear and crisp images.

The most common examples you might have seen are night-time city street photos with those surreal long streaks of light made by passing car headlamps. Other common examples are pictures of the skies during night time where you can see the trails of stars. Or you can also have fun creating light paintings where you can “paint” a picture with a bright light source against a dark scene to create spectacular and vivid images.

Tilt-shift photography

Tilt-shift photography literally refers to the tilting and shifting of the camera lens to achieve selective focus. This technique is more commonly known for creating miniature versions of real life images. Certain part of the image is in very sharp focus, but other regions are gradually blurred. This creates the illusion that the people or cars inside the image look like miniature toys.

You’ll need to get special camera lens with tilt and shift capabilities, but you can also fake this effect using software. In fact, this technique has recently become so popular that you can install software apps on your smartphone to automatically produce the fake miniature images you take using your smartphone’s camera directly.

Experiment and have fun!

Try to incorporate some of these techniques into your everyday or travel snapshots, and you’ll already be miles ahead of many people who take plain and uninteresting photos. Sometimes we take photos as if we’re at a crime scene, to document all the important bits to be submitted as “evidence” that we were there. While there is nothing wrong with this kind of clinical approach, it sure doesn’t hurt to have a little fun with trick photography and special effects once in a while with your pictures.

Actually there are more trick photography techniques that I don’t have time and space to fit here, but sign up for my free report and newsletter so you don’t miss out any.

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