Though many people dont realize it, photographs are a vastly flexible art medium. You should never feel limited to only taking pictures of the obvious or capturing reality as it stands. Like with any art form, there is lots of room to influence and create your own unique photographs. So, let’s talk about several fun things you can do with your pictures that you may not normally consider.
1. Change Your Angle
One of the things that almost every photograph youve ever seen of your family or friends has in common is that its taken at the same height as your head. While it makes sense why most photos are taken at head level, it may not be the best angle for what you’re trying to shoot.
Take a day and shoot pictures entirely from the ground or knee level and see how the different height will completely change your pictures. If you’re feeling lucky, try taking a group of pictures from your waist without checking the focus or the frame and see what you get.
2. Push Your Film
All film has a recommended development time at any given temperature. For instance, when developing 400 speed film in chemicals that are 70 degrees, you would allow the film to soak for 7 minutes before rinsing it (this is in no way a recommendation or a standard, check with your developer and film manufacturers for the recommended times). What many people may not realize is that the longer you allow the film to develop, the more stark the contrast gets. The lights get lighter and the darks get darker.
If you are lucky enough to develop your own film, try “pushing your film” or increasing the the development time by 2 or 3 minutes and see how it changes your print. While its certainly possible to push your film into an over-contrasty oblivion, a little extra push can sometimes create incredible results and help draw the important parts of your images out.
3. Use the Bulb Setting
Any film (and most digital) cameras with manual settings will give you the choice to set your shutter speed to bulb or “B.”. This simply makes your camera shutter stay open for as long as you keep the button pressed and gives you a way to capture images that seemed impossible. Unfortunately the bulb setting won’t work in daylight since it will overexpose the image, but in a dark environment it can create lots of new photo opportunities.
Set your camera on a tripod facing the night sky and use a cable release to leave your shutter open for five minutes youll be able to see the stars moving as the earth rotates. You can also hold the shutter open while a friend dances around with a flashlight then snap a flash before closing it and youll have a perfect shot of them surrounded by streams of light. This setting requires a lot of practice and experimentation but can often have tremendous results.
The next time you’re feeling adventurous, remember these three photo experiments. For these experiments all you need is a cable release and a single lens reflex (SLR) camera or a digital SLR (DSLR) camera and you’re all set. Just remember that you should only do experiments with photographs youre willing to lose your daughters wedding might not be the best time to try shooting everything from the hip. At the end of the day all that matters is that you have fun and create images that are beautiful, truthful, and important to you.