Let’s face it, photography can be quite a serious business at times. Whether you are working out a hyper focal distance or arranging studio lights to avoid reflections in glass, photography requires concentration and patience. Sometimes, though, we tend to forget our roots, the reason we started taking pictures which for many of us was to have fun. Today we are going to look at some ideas to reinvigorate your photography by stepping away from the serious side and learning to play with your camera.
1. Use Forced Perspective
Cliched, of course, wherever you go on holiday you will see tourists making forced perspective shots, be it holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa or stabbing your finger on the top of the Eiffel tower but it is also fun and mildly educational. Next time you are out with your camera, look for an ideal forced perspective shot.
To get it looking right, you are going to have to move around, changing viewpoints and experiment with focal lengths, all of which will give you some useful insights into the effect of perspective on your images. When you have got the shot, upload it to social media and let your non photographic friends give you a virtual slap on the back for being so creative.
Forcing perspective can be educational. Image by Kenzie Saunders
2. Photograph Miniatures
Photographing miniatures has become all the rage in recent years thanks to the wonderful shots of Michael Paul Smith. Although he is a master craftsman, creating sets to fit perfectly into his backgrounds, it is not impossible to create your own miniature shoots using whatever you have at hand.
By using forced perspective we talked about above and combining it with realistic models you can create convincing, lifelike scenes. It will take some planning, good, detailed models the right location and a macro lens but getting the combination will make convince your viewers that its a real scene. Read more about it in this post.
Going small can be fun. Image by JD Hancock
3. Shoot Candids
Candids have been around since the dawn of photography. They are the staple of the street photographer but they are also fun to shoot. Taking good candids is more about people watching that photography. Sure you need to have your camera set up right, a reasonable aperture for depth of field and a good shutter speed to make sure you freeze the moment, but beyond that, it's a waiting game.
Take an alfresco coffee and watch the people go by, eventually someone will do something interesting and out of the ordinary and it will be time to whip that camera up to the eye. Candids are fun not so much for the taking of the image but in predicting what people will do and being able to capture that moment.
Candids are about looking for the humor in everyday life. Image by enki22
4. Capture Irony in Your Images
We are surrounded by irony, so why not photograph it. It might be kids playing ball on a lawn where there is sign saying no playing on the grass, or as in the case of the example, traffic speeding past a Go Slow sign.
Spotting ironic shots can be quite challenging because they are generally part of the mundane background to our everyday life, not the sorts of things you would notice on a day to day basis and for this reason they can be great training for your photographic brain. The best way to get ironic shots is to go out solely with them in mind. Force yourself to look for the irony in everyday situations and soon the shots will come to you.
Ironic, isn't it? Image by Jason Row
5. Try Lomography
Lomography was born out of the poor optics of an old Soviet camera, the Lomo LC-A. A group Austrian students were inspired by the soft edges and strange colors that the camera’s lens produced that they formed a society devoted to shooting with Lomo cameras.
Lomo cameras are now sold worldwide, with some models being designed with inherent faults such as light leaks or optical distortions. The idea behind Lomography is to take away the excessive technical aspects of photography and to just shoot what ever you want to shoot. Indeed the movement's motto is “Don’t think, just shoot”. Using a Lomo camera not only introduces you to the idea of spontaneous photography, it may also introduce many of you in to the world of film photography.
Nighttime Lomography. Image by kris krüg
Photography should not only be about taking the perfect image every time but also about having fun and shooting for enjoyment. If you ever feel you are losing your photographic mojo, try one of the above tips or many other simple techniques for putting the fun back into your photography.