Though many people don’t realize it, photographs are a vastly flexible art medium. There is absolutely no reason you should ever feel limited to shooting what’s in front of you or documenting reality. 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.Find a New Angle
One of the most common things done in photography is the eye or head level height in which photos are taken. 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 really lucky, try shooting entirely from your hip without double-checking the focus or the framing – you may end up with a lot of throw-away images, but you also might end up with something you could have never captured with a traditional method of shooting.
2. Push Your Film
All film has a recommended development time at any given temperature. For example, when developing 400 speed film in 70 degree chemicals, you would need to soak the film for 7 minutes before rinsing but don’t take my word as you should check the recommended times off the developer manufacturers box. What many people don’t realize is that the longer the film develops, the more stark the contrast becomes. The lights get lighter and the darks get darker.
If you’re fortunate enough to develop your own film, try pushing your film an extra two or three minutes and see how it affects the final product. While it’s easy to push your film too far into an overly contrasty mess, a little extra time can sometimes create a stunning result by adding extra contrast to important areas of your photograph.
3. Use the Bulb Setting
Any camera (even most digitals) that has manual settings will have the option to set your shutter speed to “B,” or bulb. Set your camera on a tripod facing the night sky and use a cable release to leave your shutter open for five minutes – you’ll be able to see the stars moving as the earth rotates. You can also hold the camera shutter open and have someone spin around holding a flashlight and then snap the flash and you’ll have a shot of them encircled by light. This setting takes a lot of practice but can produce incredible results.
The next time you’re feeling adventurous, remember these three photo experiments. You don’t need any additional equipment for most of them (besides a cable release, which you can pick up for a few bucks) and you can use almost any SLR or DSLR camera. Just remember that you should only do experiments with photographs you’re willing to lose – your daughter’s 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 reflect you or the message you want to send.