Techniques for Shooting More Creative Photos
Thinking creatively is key for taking photos that get noticed. However, sometimes you just seem to run out of ideas and have a harder time getting the creative juices flowing. But don't worry, that is totally normal. Thats why I'm going to give you five tips to help you boost your creativity and help you on your journey to developing a photographic eye. These are simple techniques that are very effective and can be used on any camera.
Experiment with Perspectives and POVs
There are so many ways to shoot a subject that sometimes its easier for us to take the comfortable route. Many times we revert to our photography habits where we'll approach a subject by going to our "go-to" angles. It's easy, we don't have to think too hard and we have an idea of what the result will be. There is nothing wrong about this, except that when you shoot this way your results will be much more limited and be less creative.
First you should move around your subject. Try moving up close to your subject, or shoot it from further away. You can also try going for a low angle perspective or a high angle perspective, or maybe even a over the shoulder POV shot. Second, figure out how you want to portray your subject. Do you want it to look large? Do you want it to look smaller? I will go through some of these perspectives and show how the change in angles changes the way your subject is portrayed.
Low Angle Perspective
Shooting from a low angle is a great option when you want your subject too look big, powerful, even massive. Don't worry about getting the entire subject in the frame. Sometimes the less is in the frame the bigger your subject appears. Look for shapes and textures in your subject to help you compose the shot.
Notice in the shot above that the entire castle isn't in frame but the low angle makes it look much bigger than the viewer, giving it a glorious and majestic feel.
High Angle Perspective
If you think a high angle perspective is the opposite of a low angle perspective you would be right. Instead of giving your subject a sense of grandeur the high angle perspective makes them appear smaller and cuter. In portraits they will give your subject a thinning effect and a more photogenic angle. If the angle is high enough you can even give your subject a 2D like quality.
In the first picture below you can see that the two ducks swimming in the lake almost appear to be 2D and on the same plane as the rocks in the water below.
High angles can also be great for portraits.
Use Shallow Depth of Field
Depth of field refers to how much of your image is in focus from front to back. A shallow depth of field means that only what the camera directly focuses on is completely sharp while the background and foreground is blurred out. The opposite, great depth of field means that everything in your shot is more or less in focus.
A shallow depth of field is great for creating cinematic looks and direct your viewers eye to the sharpest part of the image. It makes it very obvious to the viewer as to what you want them to see and gives your subject a sense of mysteriousness. To do this you should be close to your subject and make sure the background is far away. This will insure that the background is blurred with a slight bokeh effect while your subject remains in focus.
Notice in the picture of the dog below that his nose and mouth are very sharp while the background is swirly and blurry? This is a shot that features extremely shallow depth of field. To achieve this with your phone make sure to use "portrait mode" and or stand very close to your subject. With other cameras make sure your aperture is open all the way.
Shallow depth of field can also be great for creating abstract images, advertisements and makes textures pop, especially in black and white photographs.
Silhouettes are a great way of making intriguing photos and interesting photos. The darkness adds a sense of mysteriousness and drama while the shadows obscure the identity of the subject allowing the viewer to insert themselves in its place. This allows your viewers to more intimately relate to the photo. The high contrast also gives the images a 2D feel that separate it from your typical kind of photo.
Notice in the photo taken below that the exposure is set for the exploding firework. This is necessary for a silhouette shot, so make sure to use the light source you place behind your subject as the exposure reference. This will make your subject appear like a shadow against the light. This can be done on any camera. The picture below as taken on an iPhone 5.
The nice thing about silhouettes is that it gives your picture other art like qualities, such as that of a painting or a photogram. The technique of using silhouettes will instantly give your photo a more artsy look and offer many creative options.
The photo below features a boat being backlit by a setting sun. The dark shadow of the boat contrasts well with the gold and orange horizon reflecting off the surface of the water.
Use a Common Element
Another easy way to get more creative with your shots is to look for a common element in your subjects. Maybe you're a person that likes taking pictures of buildings and architecture. If you choose an element, like windows i.e. you can maintain an interesting feed on Instagram while allowing you to look for similar shapes in nature or other places. Let your viewer connect the similarities.
The techniques covered in this post are a goo starting point for developing a photographic eye. Use them and practice them in different situations. The more photos you take with different techniques the more attractive, creative and interesting your photos will become. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. After a day taking photos, look back at your images. Evaluate what you did right and what you did wrong and apply what you've learned the next time around. I hope this blog post served to inspire you and help you grow as a photographer. Now get out there and use these techniques!