Pin Me

Trick Photography: Tips and Techniques for Whacky Snaps

written by: Ray Beeze•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/12/2009

Trick photography is a great way to wow and confuse your friends. Undoubtedly the most impressive trick pics are manipulated with software such as Photoshop, but what if you’re not a tech whiz? Don’t worry. There are a wide variety of trick photography techniques that can be physically created.

  • slide 1 of 2

    Trick photography is a great way to wow and confuse your friends. Undoubtedly the most impressive trick pics are manipulated with software such as Photoshop, but what if you’re not a tech whiz? Don’t worry. There are a wide variety of trick photography techniques that can be physically created.

    Perspective is how we visually perceive the distance between us and objects and their relation to the space around them. A technique known as Perspective Distortion utilizes this to make interesting trick photographs. Perspective Distortion is either making an object seem abnormally large in comparison to the rest of the setting or making objects in the foreground and background look as if they have little or no distance between them. The effect is made possible by the fact that cameras interpret images in two dimensions as opposed to our eyes which work in three dimensions. This difference is made clear when creating simple trick photographs like the one below. [See Image 1] In reality the subject in the foreground is of similar size to those in the background, but because they are standing further away from the camera than he is, they appear much smaller. If our subject in the foreground had his hands by his side the effect would be non-existent. This shows how important it is to use creative poses to really carry the effect.

    Angles:

    One of the easiest tricks you can do in photography without using digital effects is by simply turning the camera on its side. The trick to this technique is shooting something which when turned to the side gives a whole new meaning. Here’s an example. [See Image 2] In this picture we see a boy lying horizontally on some rocks as it would appear in reality. [See Image 3] This is the same picture but how it was actually taken. You will notice that now it appears as if the boy is scaling a rock face vertically. This was achieved by titling the camera - in this case - ninety degrees counter-clockwise. Again this is a picture which can only work if you use your backgrounds and subjects creatively.

    Long Exposures:

    Long exposure photography is a technique which requires a slow shutter speed. Most digital cameras enable you to change your shutter speed manually. This technique is best used when photographing scenes where there is both a stationary subject and moving subjects. The effect causes trailing light to form off of the moving objects and can provide you with a very attractive looking picture. Some of the more brilliant effects you can achieve with long exposure photography involve taking pictures outside at night with fast moving bright lights. [See Image 4] This picture shows a subject using a sparkler. The slow shutter speed of the camera gives the remnants of light an appearance similar to lightning. If you experiment with different colours and speeds you can create astonishing and intricate looking results.

    Well I hope that gave you some inspiration to go out and produce some great trick photography with your digital camera. All you need is a little creativity, so go ahead, take some snaps and above all have fun with it!

  • slide 2 of 2

    Images

    Screen 1Screen 2Screen 3Screen 4