As part of our ongoing series to help you get more creative with your digital camera, each month we’ll be publishing some fun photo ideas to inspire your imagination.
Below are 9 top photo ideas to try in June, which range from spring flowers and insects to getting creative with your camera to play with perspective and make your own abstract art.
We’ve provide some amazing images and quick photography tips by photographers who are experts in these fields. And be sure to come back at the end of the month and share what you’ve done on our Facebook wall!
9 creative photo ideas for June
1. Shoot award-winning florals in your garden
Need some inspiration for your back garden photography? Then take a look at the winning entries from this year’s International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) competition.
This year’s overall winner was Magdalena Wasiczek, who took an artful shot (pictured above right) of a brimstone butterfly on a sweet pea. “The greatest difficulty was finding an isolated sprig of peas,” she says. “I wanted to find a clean backdrop – then it was just a case of waiting until a butterfly deigned to sit on it.
“I like the natural composition created by the elegant butterfly and the plant. The branch coming out of the side balances and completes the frame, and the light makes both the butterfly and the plants appear to be made of glass or fine porcelain.”
For more on flower photography, see our 25 flower photography tips for beginners.
Get started today…
- If you’d like to enter next year’s IGPOTY competition, you can submit your images until 30 November on the IGPOTY website.
- Don’t be misled by the title of the competition. The categories allow a much larger scope of nature photography than ‘garden’ suggests. Photos of meadows, woodlands, parks and more are all encouraged.
2. Get creative with motion blur
Motion blur shots are usually taken by panning with a moving subject against a static background. This shot of a lone commuter on a railway platform by portrait pro John Mueller inverts that model. He took the photograph as the train was leaving the station, exposing for 1/8 sec to blur the train.
“My aim was to have the subject perfectly still while the background was moving,” says John. “As luck would have it, her dress was loose enough to flap in the breeze and provide the context of motion.”
For more on motion blur, see our guide on how to create a sense of speed in yoru photos.
Get started today…
- To hand-hold a camera for a shot like this you need to stay relaxed, while keeping a firm grip on the camera, only letting your trigger finger move slightly to take the shot.
- Switch to Shutter Priority mode and set the shutter speed to 1/30 sec as a starting point. Take a few test shots to get the exposure right.
- If you can’t keep your camera steady for long enough, lean against a wall or post, or tie a piece of string around your lens and trap the other end beneath your foot.
3. Try shooting macro photography
When you think of macro images, you probably imagine close-ups of flowers, insects and other natural phenomena, but artful shots of man-made objects are just as impressive. The great thing about macro photography is that you’ll find potential subjects everywhere if you look hard enough.
“I don’t have to wander far to enjoy my photography,” says macro fan Mandy Disher. “Most of my images are taken in my garden.”
For her shot above, Mandy placed a ladybird on a Gaillardia, then attached her 60mm macro lens and exposed the image for 1/160 sec at f/4.5.
“Usually only a small amount of red is needed in nature to make an impact, so to shoot a red ladybird on a red flower isn’t usually the best choice, but on this occasion its wings were slightly open so the focal point was the wings rather than the colour.”
Want some more inspiration? check out this gallery of amazing insect macro photography.
Get started today
- Dedicated macro lenses will provide the best results, but there are cheaper alternatives, such as extension tubes and close-up lenses.
- With macro shots, it’s often easier to switch the focus to manual, and move the camera backwards and forwards to focus. . * Use a piece of coloured card as a backdrop to your subject. Adjust the tilt to vary the amount and direction of the light it reflects.
- Experiment with wide or narrow apertures to control the depth of field in your image.
4. Make your own abstract art
You don’t have to live among beautiful contemporary buildings to find potential subjects for abstract architecture shots. In fact, these stunning close-ups by specialist architectural photographer Brancolina could have been taken in just about any industrial or retail location across the world.
“These images are taken from an eight-image series, called Mondrianization,” Brancolina explains. “It’s a collection of abstract photos, all of which have linear compositions. I made the series as an aesthetic investigation into architectural details in the style of Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian.”
Brancolina applied perspective correction in Photoshop using the Transform tool, and then added rectangles of flat colour – usually black or red – to make the shots resemble detail from Mondrian paintings.
“To achieve perfectly straight lines,” she says, “I corrected the perspective – no more than 15° to avoid pixellated deformations. I then filled up selected surfaces with black or red to get a stronger graphic feel.”
You can see the rest of Brancolina’s Mondrianization series on her website. And for more ideas, check out our guide to how to break the rules with white balance for more abstract pictures.
Get started today…
- Visit your local retail or industrial parks to find potential abstracts. Buildings covered in scaffolding are ideal.
- Look for strong, dark-coloured vertical, horizontal, and 45° lines across simple pale backgrounds. Shadows cast by the lines can be darkened in Photoshop.
- Hold the camera parallel to the ground, and shoot using a long lens to avoid bowed lines, and to flatten the perspective.
- Correct any errors in Photoshop using the Transform tool, and add blocks of colour with the Rectangle tool using colour values sampled with the Eyedropper from online reproductions of Mondrian paintings.
PAGE 1: Garden flower photography to Abstract art
PAGE 2: Play with perspective to Photograph military aircraft
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