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Unusual Photography Techniques to Try

written by: Chrissy Dean•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/30/2010

Here are four interesting and unusual photography techniques to try. Try these out and improve your overall skill as a photographer. You may even find a new calling in the world of pictures.

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    Unusual is Good

    Photography is a very fun hobby or interesting career because it is a combination of science and art. While there are formulas and rules for great composition, there is also plenty of room for experimentation. Interesting shots are everywhere you look - you just have to figure out how to get them. Here are some unusual photography techniques you can try.

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    Tilt-Shift Photography

    Tilt-shift photography is an interesting technique in which real-life places are made to look like Credit: sxc.hu miniatures. Many also call this technique "miniature faking". It is illusory photography, and can produce very fun results.

    There are actually two ways to create this effect: in post editing or with a tilt shift lens. Changing the position of the lens and extending the aperture creates the shallow depth of field needed for the correct effect. Other ways to try this effect in photo editing software is to bump up saturation and contrast, and create a selective blur so only your subject(s) are in sharp focus.

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    Faking Soft Focus

    Most photographers gain an interest in soft focus photos at some point in their lives. Many times this requires special settings and/or equipment, but it is possible to fake the effect quickly.

    If your camera has a removable lens, take it off and breathe on the back of it heavily. Then replace it and shoot. If you cannot remove the lens of your camera, breathe on the front, but you will have to shoot much more quickly. Another way to accomplish this is to use a very light, sheer fabric to place over the lens. You can also read How to Make Your Pictures Look Soft with a DIY Photo Filter for more ways to create soft focus.

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    Smoke Photography

    Credit: sxc.hu Smoke photography is a study in itself, and there are some who spend their entire careers simply pursuing perfect smoke images. It is very challenging, but also very rewarding. Here are some tips which might help you.

    You will definitely need a controllable flash and a macro lens or setting on your camera. To obtain smoke for a long period of time, burn incense and photograph the smoke from it. Take lots and lots of shots, playing with exposures, speeds, and angles. Before trying to hold the camera for this, use an adjustable tripod for the first few shoots. Lighting from above the smoke (such as with a white-light lamp) helps create focus and shadow, and a black cloth back drop eliminates any other elements in the photos.

    Smoke photography is its own art form, so be prepared to take a lot of pictures and find your own groove. This is one of those unusual photography techniques that is easy to fall in love with. Learn more about smoke photography here.

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    Pinhole Camera Pictures

    Pinhole camera shots are generally used for taking pictures of eclipses and the sun in general, but the technique can produce fantastic depth of field in other photos as well.

    To do this, make a box out of cardboard or even wood which is about a square foot in size. Paint all sides except one black, and paint the last one white. The side opposite your white side needs to have two holes: one as the pinhole and the other for your camera lens. Make sure the hole for your camera lens is only large enough for the lens, and not so big it lets light in. Cover the pinhole with aluminum foil and then poke a tiny hole through that (this is the actual pinhole).

    Be sure the camera and box are very still, and take your shot. Take several, and have fun playing with exposure and shutter times. This technique is best to try on landscape and even architecture shots.

    Here is an article on how to make a pinhole camera easily and affordably.

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    Try and Try Some More

    Trying unusual photography techniques is not only challenging and fun, it helps you grow as a photographer. The techniques and tips you pick up along the way can be applied to other aspects of photography. Your own style can quickly develop and you begin to find the real passion in photos.