Bye Photoshop: three more in-camera creative photo tricks

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This is the second part of our series on in-camera creative tips. You can see more tips, from last week, here. 

Lens effects

Image-editing software is often used to add in lens effects such as haze or flare, but you can also capture images with these creative looks in-camera too.

Spending a few bucks on accessories such as Lensbaby’s very cool Omni kit, which comes with a holder for different glass wands to sit in front of the lens, will return some incredibly creative results that will enable you to put your own stamp on your photos.

Image: Matty Graham/Supplied
Lensbaby's Omni kit. Image: Matty Graham/Supplied

Even something as simple as shooting contre jour (into the sun) and then combining this approach with a large f-number such as f/22 will create an attractive sunburst effect thanks to the shape of the lens’ diaphragm.

As with all these techniques, it’s likely some trial and error will be needed before you get the best results, but regular use of these accessories will speed up your workflow, meaning you’ll arrive at better results sooner.

Image: Matty Graham/Supplied
Image: Matty Graham/Supplied

Zoom burst

Zoom burst is like Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), which we’ve already mentioned. The big difference with this technique though, is that the camera stays still during the exposure, while the zoom ring on the lens moves instead.

Image: Matty Graham/Supplied
Image: Matty Graham/Supplied

Now, one critical element of this technique is that you need a zoom lens, so a prime optic with a fixed focal length is no good. Set up the camera to offer a shutter speed that will give you enough time to twist the zoom ring on the lens during the exposure without blowing out all the detail in the frame.

Image: Matty Graham/Supplied
Image: Matty Graham/Supplied

If you struggle with this because you are shooting in very sunny, bright conditions then you can overcome this challenge by adding a ND filter to the front of your lens, which will enable you to artificially extend the shutter speed. Click the shutter and twist the zoom ring in a smooth movement and the result will be a frame that has a zoom effect.

You can create some variation in your images by zooming both in and out as the result will look quite different and the zoom burst technique is great for adding a sense of motion and energy to your images.

Take control of White Balance

As photographers, we spend a lot of time trying to pick the right White Balance so that it matches what we see with our own eyes when out on location taking the photo. However, what if you intentionally picked the wrong White Balance for creative effect?

Colour is a key factor in how we not only see but also feel about an image. For example, images with cool, blue temperatures trick the brain into associating the images with coldness or melancholy. Conversely, images with warmer, orange temperatures evoke warmness and happiness - it’s just the way our brains are wired.

Image: Matty Graham/Supplied
Image: Matty Graham/Supplied
An adjustment to white balance can make a huge difference to the feel of an image. Image: Matty Graham/Supplied

So, the solution to making a creative image in-camera is to step away from that Auto White Balance mode and start experimenting with custom colour temperatures.

You may find that mixing up the colour temperature completely changes the feel of the frame, asks new questions to the viewer, and adds that splash of much-needed creativity. ❂

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