Creative ideas for dramatic photos

Dare to do something a bit different with flash, movement and even ice

Digital capture frees us to dream up challenges then keep shooting until we get the picture. Doing something different is easier than ever. Here we give you some tried and tested ideas for interesting effects.

Freeze some leaves

At the end of a shoot, why not bring home some fallen leaves to try something altogether more creative and unpredictable?

Arrange the leaves in a shallow, smooth bottomed tray or bowl filled with about 15mm depth of water. They should be submerged without touching the bottom of the container. Freeze until solid then release the panes by warming the base of the container, gently.

You can photograph these ice-encased leaves (turn over the pane first) against a blue sky or a dark background, whichever suits the mood you want to create. Backlighting will emphasise their colour.

Shoot at dusk with a BIG flash

The instant review feature of digital cameras makes it very easy to refine the balance between daylight and flash, enabling you to explore the twilight zone fully.

Create as large a light source as possible (perhaps by bouncing flash light off a reflector) for a more mellow look.

Start by determining the right exposure for the flash-lit areas, using the histogram, then adjust the cameras shutter speed until the background exposure is to your satisfaction. The closer you can leave these shots towards dusk, the easier its to manage the daylight part of the exposure.

Move the camera

Who says everything needs to be rendered in crisp detail? Impressionistic pictures arent trying to describe what the subject looks like, more what you, the photographer, feels about it.

Ultimately, the meaning that any image has is no more than that attached to it by the viewer, but the most successful ones tap into a common experience, giving the viewer a clue of the photographers intent.

You may need to take 100 images to give the right impression, changing the speed at which you move the camera and altering the shutter speed – but, hey, with digital it’s free!