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Trick Photography Without Using Photoshop

Updated on May 28, 2014

Produce special effects using only your digital camera.

With new and advanced technologies in photo manipulation, photographers continue to rely more and more on post-production software to change their photographs and make abstract photographs or special effects.

But you don't need Photoshop to do it! A photographer can turn out illusions in his pictures using only the camera - and nothing else! - and skipping Photoshop altogether. Tricks such as changing a person's size, creating eye-catching light drawings, and even utilizing unusual shadows or shapes require only the right setting - and a healthy dose of imagination.

drawing with light photography
drawing with light photography

Drawing With Light

Create Cool 'Light Paintings'

To get these 'light drawings', a photographer can simply use a sparkler or other small light light and set the camera on a slow exposure. To know how long to set the exposure time, practice practice the photo first by drawing an image in the air or running around the areas through which you want to take the light drawing photo. Get a friend involved: Ask them to time you with a stopwatch using this time as a rough idea of how long for your exposure. Set your ISO to the lowest possible notch, and again take a few test pictures to see where and how much to adjust the exposure time. After this setup, draw an image through the air with the light and the camera will capture its path. Keep in mind: if the light comes out too faint to see, try moving faster or move around less as you draw with light.

shrinking people trick photography
shrinking people trick photography

Shrinking People

"Honey, I Shrunk--" name it!

One of the simplest tricks you can do using any type of camera changes the size of a person or other item in your picture. You can make small people who appear to make it look like they're in a balance in your hands or giant people who look like they're about to step on tiny, shrunken buildings. To get this effect, position yourself a good distance from the item or person you want to make really tiny and then ask the person in the picture move to the right distance away so when you're looking through the viewfinder he or she looks like they're the right size.

For example, you can position one person standing in the middle of a flat field holding one hand out flat. You can then have another person to go stand far enough behind them to make it look like he is tiny and standing on the first person's hand. To do this effect you'll need a lot of room and if you can find it, a large enough flat area to make the effect work.

Use your creativity with this perspective technique and the possibilities are endless... the photo illustrates just one of the many ways you can pull off this cool photo trick.

shadow trick photography
shadow trick photography

Playing with Shadow

Give Your Photography a Spooky Look

To get a really creepy photo, consider adding shapes made from shadows. For example, an innocent girl could be walking down the sidewalk and never realize a menacing shadow of another person or even a monster is following just behind her. But instead of putting the shadow in later using Photoshop, make a cutout, or even find find one of those life-size cutouts (supermarkets often throw them away when a promotion is over) of the item from which you want to cast the shadow. The trick lies in placing the item out of the camera's view. Add lighting behind the object to throw an ominous shadow onto the appropriate area and snap the picture. To avoid altering the shadow, you'll need to turn off the camera's flash. Cast a light on the person in the picture to illuminate them, but remember to keep it away from the light casting the shadow. When you're done you may have to examine the picture to see which areas to lighten and which areas to darken. Adjust your light and try again.

creative trick photography
creative trick photography

The Sky's the Limit

A Little Creativity Goes a Long Way - Remember to Have Fun

All that you need is imagination and a digital camera (not even an expensive one), you can get really cool 'trick photography' pictures without using any software. These are just a few cool ideas that will get you started - use your imagination and the sky's the limit!

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    • Mckinney Michael profile image

      Mckinney Michael 3 years ago

      Great stuff, I really enjoy this type of thing in photography

    • profile image

      visit2goa 4 years ago

      plz tell more about the shadow casting

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago


    • ukprowriter profile image

      ukprowriter 5 years ago

      Cool tricks. Gotta go and try them out

    • MoreBetterThings profile image

      MoreBetterThings 5 years ago

      I love the shrinking people trick! Too funny!

    • ChuckDickens profile image

      ChuckDickens 5 years ago

      @Aunt-Mollie: thanks so much for the nice words! I have a hard time justifying what I write as useful... I'm glad you can use it. :)

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

      You're so good at this! I hope you write more articles like this for novices like me.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      neat ideas...i'll have to give them a try.