April 15 to 21 is World Creativity and Innovation week and to celebrate here’s a few simple and fun photography ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Get closer. The biggest mistake beginner photographers make is to stay static. The camera is not an anchor — move around, change perspective and get closer. Filling the frame can add real impact to an otherwise ordinary shot. Shoot from as many angles and positions as possible — see what works for you and for your subject.
2. Try black and white photography. Although you can set your camera to record black and white, the best results come by taking a color image and converting to mono later in post-production using filters or apps. These roiling Florida storm clouds were a good subject for an edgy black and white filter in Lightroom.
3. Get abstract. Parts of subjects, shapes and patterns can make pleasing images — like these fluorescent lights reflected in the paintwork of a new car in a showroom.
4. Lose focus. Switch your lens to manual and then dial it out of focus until you get an effect you like. Here, the sun appears larger because it’s out of focus, the branches in the foreground are almost completely lost — becoming texture in the top part of the image — and only a few leaves are left recognizable and silhouetted.
5. Use the “wrong” lens. A common exercise for shaking your photography up — it helps break you out of habitual approaches to a subject. Portrait shots usually live in the realm of the longer lens — so use a wide angle for a change — the wider the better. Wide angles stretch perspective, so there’s no point trying to create a flattering beauty shot — instead, have fun, act silly and see what you can come up with.
6. With feeling. The photo is really just the beginning — adding textures, elements and lighting in post-production allows you to create the mood you want in the final print. If you don’t yet have the skills to do this in Photoshop, then use your cell phone — apps such as DistressedFX and Painteresque are easy to use and less than the price of a coffee.
7. Patterns and perspective. There are shapes and patterns everywhere — circles and spirals are especially pleasing to the eye. This glass-sided stairwell in an office building was too good to miss — particularly because at the right angle, the whole structure is reflected in the glass sides themselves.
Photographer and cinematographer David Haynes has traveled the world capturing iconic images for organizations such as National Geographic and the BBC. His work can be seen in magazines, newspapers, on book covers and in private collections.
Now he’s sharing his skills with us in a new “cut and keep” column on everyday photography.