How trick photography and special effects can make you a better photographer

Understanding trick photography and special effects is about understanding the limit and potential of your camera in relation to light. If you want to quickly become a great photographer, then consider starting a photographic project to take trick photos and special effects.

Think about how most people try to become good at photography. They take their camera, go out, and snap away. Nothing wrong with this, but if you have a clear goal to master a specific technique then the learning process is focused and therefore accelerated. The bonus is that you will specialize and get beautiful and interesting photos along the way.

Using trick photography and special effects to understand light

You’ll find that understanding light is probably the most difficult aspect of photography. It is also the most important. You can’t have a photograph without light, so you need to understand how light behaves under different shooting conditions. Great photographers pay great attention to the study of light so that they can recognize and create a particular mood or effect with light. Not all light are the same, as they can be harsh, soft, warm, or cooling. The direction of light can be as important as the quality of light. You can use different illumination such as direct, backlit, or side-lit to extract different texture, shadow, and details from your subject.

Light paintings or drawings are among some of the trick photography techniques that is done using long exposure photography. The results are often spectacular but deceptively simple. It is simple to start, but can take a long time to master. Light paintings or drawings are created by taking a long exposure photo and manipulating the light source to create an effect. The more common examples are of people drawing their name using a flashlight with a photo taken at night. The more creative you get with this simple idea, the more interesting pictures you’ll get. So when you start taking trick photos like these and experiment, you’ll gain a greater understanding of light.

Using trick photography and special effects to understand your camera

The other side of it is to understand how to capture light. All digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) has a shutter between the camera’s lens and sensor. Pressing the button on your camera to take a picture opens the shutter for a duration of time, and then shuts it back up. This basically controls how long you let light flood the sensor so you can freeze a moment in time.
Aperture controls how wide the hole in your camera lens are. The bigger the opening or diameter, the more light hits the sensor. With aperture you control how much light to let in to the camera sensor, but also the depth of field. You also control how sensitive the sensor is to the incoming light by setting the ISO. The higher it is, the less light is needed to capture a scene with the risk of introducing noise to the picture.

A good way to master your camera is to learn to take levitation photos. These trick photos usually depict people floating or flying without any means of support or photoshopping, so the action is captured in the camera as-is. The secret to creating these pictures is to simply jump and freeze the action with your camera. Again, a technique that is very simple to use but takes time to master.

The main element in freezing time with your camera is the shutter speed, but other settings like aperture and ISO matters. A fast shutter speed freezes a moving object, but requires more light. You’ll need to balance and adjust these elements to ensure that you can freeze an object without blurring it, otherwise it ruins the illusion. Doing this exercise pretty much forces you to understand and experiment with your camera till you get it right. Along the way, you’ll have greater understanding of how to make the most of your camera.

Start taking trick photos and grow fast

You can speed up photographic learning process by just applying these two trick photography techniques. When you have mastered them, you’ll have understood more about the relationship between light and camera than most photographers!

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