Photography is a creative outlet that is accessible to everyone. However, we can often get stuck into a routine of how we take pictures and forget to experiment with techniques that push us into uncharted waters. Below are 3 creative photography techniques to produce more unique content.
A timelapse is often overlooked, but it transforms photography from taking a static snapshot of a moment in time to capturing a broader moment. It can be a way to shoot the transition of a setting, like a sunset, or the movement of commuters.
To do this with your camera, simply select the frames per second according to what you’re trying to track and the length of the time-lapse. Your shutter speed should be double the frame rate (i.e. at 25 fps have a 1/60 shutter speed). Finally, select the aperture last to get the exposure desired.
To supercharge these time lapses, consider using an efficient time lapse camera. A dedicated time-lapse camera can capture better viewing angles, solar-powered to shoot long time-lapses, and even send the image over 4g in the meantime. These are great for wildlife and capturing natural phenomena.
Removing people through long exposures
A huge issue with taking pictures in areas that are touristy – which unfortunately is often where the coolest attractions are – is the people in the way. There’s nothing worse than having someone in your photo of a thing who is also taking a picture of the thing.
To get around this, there’s a very clever technique of using a long exposure. Long exposures track the light over a given amount of time. The longer the exposure, the less that a temporary object will show. So, if someone runs in front of the shot – a fast shutter speed will capture them crisply, a medium shutter speed will make them blurry, but a long enough exposure will make them disappear.
If you’ve ever tried shooting long exposure in the day, you will know it’s impossible – you just get an overly exposed, bright picture. This is why you need an ND filter to help shoot for, say, 100 times longer shutter speed to achieve the same exposure.
Daytime long exposures without an ND filter
It’s recommended to get an ND filter, but not everyone has one on them at every given moment. Plus, they’re fairly fixed, meaning you may need a 5-minute exposure when you don’t want that long.
A hacky way around this is to select the interval setting on your camera so that it takes multiple pictures. Choose something between 50 and 100 to start with if it’s the daytime. If your shutter speed is 1/10 of a second, then taking 100 of these will be equivalent to having a single 10-second exposure. Don’t touch the camera during this time; a tripod is always recommended, but you can always place the camera on top of a brick wall or similar.
Now, you need to combine these pics to create the long exposure. Open them all in Photoshop (File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack). Then, select all the layers (on the right) and right-click to create a Smart Object. Finally, press Layer > Smart Objects > Stack mode > Mean. You will see all these pictures combine to resemble a long exposure by taking the average data between them. This is perfect for blurring clouds and water through their movement.