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10 Fun Techniques for Photographers

Updated on February 26, 2014

Trying something new is always a great way to get out of a rut or to expand your arsenal of tools. Depending on what type of camera you have, you may not be able to do all of the techniques below, but this list is meant to inspire you to try new techniques, some even touch on the post production phase of Photography.

There may be some modifications if your using a Point and Shoot camera that will allow you to achieve certain looks like those listed below, just as there may be some ways to accomplish the same Point and Shoot effect with a DSLR.

DIY interchangeable paper that slips over your camera's lens to change the Bokeh's shape.
DIY interchangeable paper that slips over your camera's lens to change the Bokeh's shape. | Source

1. DIY Shaped Bokeh

This is a neat little DIY trick that allows you to change the shape of your camera's natural bokeh shape (usually this is hexagonal or circular). The shape comes from the camera's iris, but by creating an index card with a cut out shape and placing it in front of the camera's lens, you can create fun shapes like snowflakes, hearts and stars. This technique can also be used in videos.

To do this technique, use a low aperture. A DSLR camera works the best, but some people have had luck using their smartphone. If you'd like to learn how to create your own interchangeable DIY Bokeh from paper, I've written a detailed hub about it here: DIY Shaped Lights with Your Camera Bokeh.

Examples of Shaped Bokeh

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Long exposure photography is great for capturing the movement in a scene.
Long exposure photography is great for capturing the movement in a scene. | Source

2. Long Exposure Photography

The technique is a great way to capture the difference of a certain place or moment. A good idea for long exposure photography is blurring the motion of a river or the movement of clouds. This creates a dynamic look to your photographs.

In order to do this, change the shutter speed of your camera and adjust your aperature and iso settings to properly expose your image. You may need to make use of ND (Neutral Density) filters if your subject is outdoors to keep the exposure in check.

If you want to find more about long exposure photgraphy, check out my Long Exposure Photography: Materials and Setup for a great introduction.

Examples of Long Exposure Photography

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Set-up for a timelapse of cherry blossoms blooming.
Set-up for a timelapse of cherry blossoms blooming. | Source

3. Timelapse Videography

After playing around with long exposure photography, why not learn how to create a timelapse videos from your images? This is an exciting way to see movement in a subject like never before. The anticipation and excitement after taking the images carries over into the post production process when you finally get to see your photos come to life.

In order to do this, you'll need some sort of a post production program like After Effects, an intervalometer (or Magic Lantern), a battery pack or power adapter (optional) and some patience. I've written a guide to on how to create a timelapse video from start to finish. You can read that here: How to Create a Timelapse Video.

An Example of Timelapse Photography

4. Macro Photography

If you're looking for a technique to try for your Point and Shoot camera, Macro photography is a feature that is usually included in today's P&S cameras. There's usually a feature in the camera that allows you to switch the focus to macro. This will tell the camera to focus close to the lens for some pretty amazing results. You can of course do this with a DSLR or most other cameras.

A trick to forcing your camera to take macro photos is to turn it on with your finger in front of the camera.
A trick to forcing your camera to take macro photos is to turn it on with your finger in front of the camera. | Source

Macro Tip: You may have to trick your camera into focusing up close by turning the camera off, putting a finger close to the subject so it's forced to focus close range, then move your finger away and your camera should focus on what you want it to.

For an example of Point and Shoot cameras and an explanation of how to set-up this feature, I've written a short hub about it in my article, How to Shoot Macro Photos using a Point and Shoot Camera.

Examples of Macro Photography with P&S Camera

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An excellent example of black and white photography that takes the lighting into consideration.
An excellent example of black and white photography that takes the lighting into consideration. | Source

5. Black and White Photography

For this technique, I'm not talking about taking a regular photo and then processing it in post and changing it to black and white. There's an actual thought process that goes behind composing the lighting and the subject for black and white photography. If you've only ever done B&W photography in post, consider changing your camera to the B&W mode and playing around with the lighting to see how it affects the image.

Black and white photography excels in portraiture and helps create a mood and strong focus that can sometimes be lost in colored photographs.


Examples of Black and White Photography

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An example of selective coloring.
An example of selective coloring. | Source

6. Selective Color

This is a technique that was made famous by Sin City and you see it a lot in commercials. It's a technique that is either done in camera or in post production. Basically the camera or person creating the effect selects only one color (or multiple) that will stay colored, while the rest will be black and white. This really draws the focus of the viewer to the colored object.

If you have a newer Point and Shoot camera, you'll probably find this option under the effects menu. You can do this in camera and not have to worry about post production, however, remember that if you do it in camera, you lose the capability to adjust and tweak the setting like you could in post production.

Examples of Selective Coloring

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A tilt-shift lens attached to a Canon 7D.
A tilt-shift lens attached to a Canon 7D. | Source

7. Tilt-shift Photography

This is another effect that is sometimes included in the camera's filters (called Miniature Effect). The basic theory of this is that there is a blur in the front and back of the subject that makes the focused plane look like it is a miniature, while in fact it is not. Think of a small train set or a miniature doll house.

Usually achieved with a tilt-shift camera lens, but it can also be re-created in Photoshop by blurring certain planes. There's a great tutorial of how to do this on instructables here: How to Achieve Mineature Effect via Photoshop.

There is also a website that will do the exact same thing for you, all you need to do is upload your photo, select what you want to be miniaturized (or in focused) and push the button. You find the website at: http://tiltshiftmaker.com/

Examples of Tilt-shift Photography

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An example of an artistically filtered photograph.
An example of an artistically filtered photograph. | Source

8. Filters

Playing around with filters is a good way to produce new and interesting ways to view your photographs. There are in camera effects, post production effects and filters that you can attach directly to your camera like the cokin-p filters.

Filters have become really popular with Instagram and for professional photographers. Wedding photographs and portraits are rarely unedited these days. Most are enhanced either for artistic purposes or for aesthetics.

Examples of Filtered Photos

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An example of shooting into the sun for a natural lens flare.
An example of shooting into the sun for a natural lens flare. | Source

9. Natural (or Artificial) Lens Flares

Lens flares can be a great way to add a little extra touch to your photographs. Whether or not you create them in post production or shoot them as you compose your photograph, depends on your camera and location. Learning how to shoot into the sun is a great way to create rim lighting on your subject and bring them forward from your background. It's a little trickier, but it can produce some amazing results.

You can also create artificial lens flares with any graphics editing program like Photoshop or Lightroom. This will add something more to your photograph, but be sure to stay away from just slapping on a cheesey lens flare without a purpose.

A good tutorial and look at creating a natural looking lens flare is Fstopper's Add Lens Flare to Your Image the Right Way.

Examples of Lens Flares in Photos

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Example of a cheesey lens flare
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Example of a cheesey lens flare
Example of a cheesey lens flare | Source
Collage of vacation photos arranged together.
Collage of vacation photos arranged together. | Source

10. Photo Collage

How do you display your photos that you've taken? If you've never created a photo collage to share on social media or created a canvas with multiple shots of the same people as a gift, you may try your hand at creating a photo collage (either digitally or with printed media).

Usually you'll see something like this after a professional photo shoot or as a holiday card, engagement accoutrement or another kind of announcement. There's a certain mindset that goes into placing and arranging photos this way, especially if you're shooting the photographs yourself.

Examples of Photo Collages

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    • punacoast profile image

      Viet Doan 3 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thanks for these great fun photo tips! I'm learning to take B&W photos with my camera (instead of the easy post processing way!) and you're right, it takes more effort and creativity to capture the "mood" of the subject in simple black & white. Voted up.

    • noellenichols profile image
      Author

      Noelle 3 years ago from Denver

      @punacoast - Your welcome, I'm glad you found them useful! Thanks for the upvote and good luck with your black and white photography.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      This is a super-useful article. I don't have a camera that is fancy enough YET, but I am bookmarking this to use when I do. Or when I borrow my sister's camera. :)

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on your HubPages top 10 of the day designation! The camera can do so many wonderful things, and I haven't taken advantage of most of the techniques you featured here. I'll have to try some more.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 3 years ago from Midwest

      Great tips and suggestions - well explained with beautiful examples. Voted up and pinning

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Terrific hub! Voted up and more, plus pinned. A great quality hub!

    • Marina Lazarevic profile image

      Marina 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Wow noellenichols, what an awesome list of tips! I'm in the process of researching which DLSR to buy and am definitely bookmarking your Hub to use as a resource later. So excited to try selective coloring. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    • alison monroe profile image

      Alison Monroe 3 years ago

      Wow--now I know what people are doing with their cameras, things I don't know about and was afraid to ask about

    • adams07 profile image

      Samantha Adams 3 years ago from Auburn, GA

      Fantastic article! A ton of great tips in one stop.

    • jennabee25 profile image

      Jenn Dixon 2 years ago from PA

      So many great ideas here! I think photographers of all levels would get something out of this article.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 21 months ago from United States

      I'm looking forward to reading more of your hubs! You really know your stuff.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 21 months ago

      This is some very good information. I love to take pictures. I'm always looking for a new way to do it. This has given me ideas for my own picture taking endeavours. Good article.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 21 months ago from United States

      Just stopping by to say congratulations on HOTD. Yay!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 21 months ago from Florida

      Congrats on HOTD! I am not fortunate enough to have a decent camera. I've dropped hints to my family for Christmas, though!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 21 months ago from United States

      Lots of interesting ideas here for people to try. I like the fact that you explain how people can do a lot of these with inexpensive cameras or even with some editing software. I found that my camera does selective color in video mode and took some video of leaf cutter ants with just the green leaf colored--it looks really amazing!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 21 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Noelle, congrats on HOTD! This was a terrific and useful hub for photography lovers! Voted up!

    • Kappygirl profile image

      Kappygirl 21 months ago

      Very nice examples! I really like the first one with the bokeh--I've never heard of that. Cool technique!

    • noellenichols profile image
      Author

      Noelle 21 months ago from Denver

      Thanks, everyone! I'm glad you all are enjoying my hub! I'm happy to have this one featured at HOTD. :)

      For anyone looking for a cheap intro DSLR to play around with bokeh and starting upgrading from point and shoots, the canon t1i was my first one (and it's really dropped in price). But don't be discouraged! Point and shoots are GREAT and you can really get some great results from them.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 21 months ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Really fantastic range of ideas for photographers of all skill levels! Thanks for sharing and congrats on HOTD. :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 21 months ago from the short journey

      Congrats on you Hub of the Day award for this post on photo techniques. The examples you used are inspiring and I 'll be taking a closer look at the shaped bokeh. Thanks!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 21 months ago from Northern California, USA

      These are all fun things to do with the camera. I am particularly fascinated by the tilt-shift effect. It is such a unique trick that I am looking forward to trying. By the way, congratulations on receiving the Hub of the Day award.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 21 months ago from Massachusetts

      Excellent tips. Congratulations on the HOTD.

    • Molly Layton profile image

      Molly Layton 21 months ago from Alberta

      I've got to go try tilt-shift photography.

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