I wrote a detailed article on the topic of photographic inspiration recently. The aim was to keep the photographer in you and many others like you inspired, leave the fire burning so that you can keep creating beautiful images. That’s what we photographers do. We look for moments that are worth capturing, in the middle of the daily mundane and share it with others who were not fortunate enough to be there to see it with their own eyes. Those moments need not to be captured at the most pristine of locations. They need not to be of the most beautiful of people. Beauty, as they say, can be found in some of the most ordinary places, when you are least expecting.
Shapes and patterns
There is a certain beauty in symmetry which is hard to resist. Repetitive patterns, lines, geometric shapes can be an exciting source of symmetry. No doubt symmetry can be an interesting subject in our daily life. But what makes for an even more interesting subject is when that symmetry is broken.
Silhouettes and shapes of people or subjects make for an interesting subject. The viewer will be forced to think and look beyond just the silhouette. When shooting silhouettes ensure that you meter for the background. That way your subject will be under-exposed resulting in a stronger shadow area. Unlike popular believe, you don’t always need to shoot against the sun to be able to capture silhouettes. Any light source can be used, as demonstrated by the above image.
Small subjects never fail to arise our admiration. Just because something is small does not mean that it is trivial. Its nature’s way of saying that everything is in perspective and nothings out of place.
There are several ways you can dabble at shooting macro photography. One of the best and commonly used technique is reverse lens. Specialized adapters are available that allow you to attach a lens in reverse to your camera’s mount. A prime lens with an aperture ring on the body is best suited for shooting macro with this technique. There are two reasons for it. An aperture ring on the lens body allows you to control aperture when you lose contact between lens and camera body. Secondly, prime lenses have minimum moving elements inside, making them less complicated.
Spinning the camera while exposing
Thanks to Jeff Cable, whom I heard this from for the first time. When I saw the result, I was like, “How did he do it?” The image that I saw which explained this technique was shot at night time and there was a lot of light blur, which made it especially interesting. Apparently, this technique, which is purely hand-held, unlike the zooming while exposing technique (we’ll come to that later in this discussion), works best when you are using flash. The flash freezes the movement of the subject while the lights in the background don’t get affected, resulting in the blur. I don’t think this would work in broad daylight.
Forcibly blur a subject
We are obsessed with the concepts of sharp images and vast depth of fields, so much so that at times it feels like a national past time. Why don’t you for a change blur things out? Blurred out perspectives of subjects that are very common, like a girl with an umbrella, can be very interesting. It tend to capture the imagination of the viewer. Alternatively you can keep some aspect of the picture in focus while blurring the remaining interesting bits. But while doing so take care so that the result does completely obscure the bits you are blurring.
Ever seen your own reflections on a puddle of water? There are photographers who actually work on this on a dedicated basis. The perspectives are interesting and they can be perfected to the point they almost look like hand-drawn paintings. Come next monsoon and you now have one new tip to experiment with.
Zooming while exposing
This is a very interesting technique and you can see lots of images on the internet using this technique. Surprisingly, it is very easy to shoot. You need a tele lens, a tripod and your DSLR. This method works best during the night when there is a lot of light to exaggerate the effect. Set your camera to manual mode. Use a lower ISO such as 200 or even 100. Start from aperture f/5.6 and shutter speed 6-8 seconds and see what the results are like before changing the values. Slowly turn the zoom ring when the exposure is made. You could experiment by turning the zoom ring for the first couple of seconds and then stopping for a couple of seconds and then turning again. Or you could also keep it steady for the first few seconds before turning for the remaining duration of exposure.
Shooting from a low perspective
Changing the perspective means changing how you look at things. One of the cardinal mistakes that amateur photographers do is that they rarely change the perspective from where they shoot. Never ever shoot a small subject standing up and from your eye level. Get closer to their eye level. Be it a toddler or a pet or even a bird, you are likely to get a much better shot from their level.
Stuck at home on a rainy day, with nothing to do? If you are tired of your PlayStation try this for idea. Cook something up that you like. But before you dig your teeth into the spicy juicy something that you prepared take some photos of it. Yes food photography does not need a lot of tools. It just needs a lot of light and a bit of imagination. You may have some fluorescent lamps lying idle at home. You need two and a piece of white cloth to make a diffuser. Compose tight and you don’t need to show the whole plate. If using a macro lens, you have a definite advantage. Otherwise the reverse lens technique we discussed can also be used here.
Much like any other type of photography, everyday photos that you take also require a bit of touch-ups and editing. If you feel like game to do this on your own, great! Otherwise, Phowd has some very experienced photo editors who can take care of the editing chores.