The next time you travel or are out and about with a camera, consider starting a trick photography project. It’s not only a great way to impress and confuse your friends in equal measure, but it also helps you to hone your photography skills and have fun at the same time. The more stunning examples are usually digitally manipulated in photoshop, but even if you’re not a tech whiz there are a wide variety of trick photography techniques that are at your disposal.
What you can do is to choose one or a combination of the trick photography techniques explained below and focus on that. Keep taking photos based on that technique until you have some really great examples before moving on to the next one. The idea is to try new things and be creative to capture images that nobody has seen before.
In our daily lives we use perspective to visually perceive the distances of objects and ourselves. Distorting the perspective produces the illusion of abnormally large or small objects in comparison to the rest of the objects in the photograph. This effect is possible because a camera produces an image in two dimension as opposed to our eyes that work in three dimensions. When we’re unable to tell if the objects are actually further or nearer to the camera and assume it is actually of a similar distance, then objects appear smaller if they are further away while closer objects appear bigger. This is probably the simplest trick photography to pull off, as you only need to move your camera and the subject matter around until you get what you want.
Another easy trick is to turn the camera on its side. With some creative poses, you can create mind-boggling images simply by turning your camera around. The trick to this technique is to shoot something that when turned to the side has a completely different meaning. For example, if you lie on the floor horizontally and take a picture with the camera rotated ninety degrees, it would look as if you’re climbing up a sheer wall vertically.
This is also a simple but very creative trick that will leave your viewers scratching their heads. You don’t need photoshop to create pictures of people hovering a few inches off the ground. What you need is an able and willing model who is happy to keep jumping around on your command. You basically set a high shutter speed on your camera to remove any blurring that will destroy the illusion, ask your model to jump and then snap away. The more outrageous the mid-air pose, the more stunning it is.
Using the opposite of a high shutter camera speed are the long exposure trick photography techniques. Most cameras especially the DSLRs allow you set and change the shutter speed manually to set it slower. This technique is best used with a tripod as you’ll want to reduce camera shake as much as possible for a sharp image. This technique works best when you have stationary subjects and moving subjects. Moving objects or a light source will create a blur or trailing lights in the image, so some people have used this technique to create “light paintings” by waving a bright light source around a stationary object.
Good photographers pay a lot of attention to shadows, so being mindful of where and what you or other people’s shadow are doing is a good thing. You never know if you catch your shadow in an interesting pose in contrast to a subject matter.
This is an interesting technique to play around, often with hilarious results. The idea is to hold up a picture to cover part of your face where the edges are perfectly aligned to the real world from the point of view of the camera. You can then pretend to be whoever’s face that is now grafted onto yours. The hardest part of this trick is to find a magazine or any pictures that is the right size and matches your face and surroundings.
These are just some of the simpler trick photography techniques that you can immediately use and take on as part of your photography challenge. They’re fun to do and can produce some spectacular results with a bit of imagination and patience.