As part of our ongoing series to help you get more creative with your digital camera, each month we publish some fun, seasonal, creative photo ideas to help inspire your imagination. Along with some amazing images, we’ve also provided some quick photography tips by photographers who are experts in these fields.
For December we aim to have you experiment with some of the more abstract elements of photography, like bokeh effects, surrealist portraits and capture intriguing shapes in close-up still life photography – while revisiting some of the classic rules of photo composition, like the Rule of Thirds.
On each page you’ll find a stunning image and an explanation from the photographer on how it was made.
If you attempt any of these photo ideas, don’t forget to share them on our Facebook wall! We’d love to see how you get on.
01 Shoot a bokeh effect
Bokeh derives from the Japanese word ‘boke’, which translates as haze or fuzzy. In photography, it’s used to describe the creative abstract blur effect you can capture when shooting at wide apertures.
To shoot a bokeh blur, ideally you want to use a prime lens, or one that has the capability to open to an aperture of f/2.8 or wider.
To get the most effective results, shoot in low light or at night, and try to include glowing lights such as street lamps, car headlights or fairy lights, which will enhance the bokeh.
For really abstract results, shoot only the glowing lights, manually focusing your lens to knock the lights completely out of focus.
If you want your image to have some sort of context or foreground interest, include an object, like the jar in the image above.
Keep a sharp focus on the object and ensure there’s enough distance between the background lights and the object for the effect to take hold. The further the background lights are away from your subject, the more they will blur.
If there isn’t enough ambient light to illuminate the foreground object effectively, try adding a little flash to bring out the details.
Get started today…
* Use a prime (fixed length) lens for the best results. A focal length of 50mm or 35mm is ideal for an image like this.
* Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode and open the aperture on your lens as wide as it will go (f/2.8 or wider).
* Shoot at night or in low light. Distant fairy lights or street lamps will both create very effective bokeh blur.
* Keep the foreground object in focus and blur the background lights -– the more distant the background, the better the blur.
PAGE 1: Shoot a bokeh effect
PAGE 2: Shoot the city drenched in rain
PAGE 3: Shoot a studio portrait
PAGE 4: Shoot an abstract image – then rotate it!
PAGE 5: Shoot liquid still life photography
PAGE 6: Shoot a surreal portrait
PAGE 7: Shoot woodland wildlife
PAGE 8: Shoot – and stitch – a panorama
PAGE 9: Shoot with the Rule of Thirds