When we’re not busy nerding out over the latest sci-fi television series or playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in survival mode, one thing my husband and I have always had a passion for is photography. The following are some techniques that can give your photos a boost, whether you’re a hobbyist or pro.
If you’ve ever watched the opening sequence of the BBC show Sherlock, you’ve seen tilt shift in action. It essentially tricks the eye by taking something huge, like a cityscape, and making it look like a scale model. Admittedly, I haven’t played with tilt shift much — you need the right type of lens for it. The only time I did it was in my large format photography class at UNCG using a film camera with bellows. It was pretty cool. All other times, I’ve faked it through Photoshop. But luckily, Lensbaby is making tilt shift possible for budget-conscious photographers (like me) through their Spark series of lenses.
You know those cool, urban shots at night of traffic rushing by, or those pictures of waterfalls where the water looks like it’s moving but everything else is perfectly still? That’s long exposure photography (and one of my absolute favorite techniques!)
By using a long shutter speed, long exposure photography can be used to create motion in an otherwise still image, such as the trains zipping by in the image above, or it can be used in night photography or other low light level situations. The best thing about long exposure is you don’t need any additional equipment — just a camera and a tripod (and you don’t even really need a tripod as long as you have a steady surface on which your camera can sit).
One guy I used to work with did wedding photography on the side, and his favorite thing to do was play with perspective. I remember seeing one picture where it look like the bride was crushing the groomsmen with her foot. Perspective can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging. You can create flattering and intimate portraits of people if you know how to photograph them from the right perspective. (Here’s a tip: never, and I mean never photograph a person from the ground-view up — especially if they’re a woman. It can be very unflattering seeing a thigh that’s triple the size of your head).
This is an image I took of my husband while we were in Berlin — and is a good example of just how challenging perspective can be. It can take a lot of trial and error, so it helps to be patient. If I had framed it better and taken a couple steps back (and if there hadn’t been so many people), I could have made it look like he was holding the Reichstag in his hand rather than having some of it teetering off the edges.