Creative Photography: 10 tips for getting out of your comfort zone

Creative Photography: 10 tips for getting out of your comfort zone

One of our goals as photographers – after we overcome the common photography problems and improve our skills – is to make original work. But avoid the traps (and tripod holes) of cliched compositions can be incredibly difficult. To help you along we’ve polled our experts and put together 10 of our best creative photography tips.

While these tips won’t necessarily guarantee success, or even creative photography, they will however help get you out of your comfort zone. Start ditching your usual routines, and then you’ll be in the place where original and creative photography is more likely to happen!

How to take pictures… and break the rules

10 quick creative photography tips, 1-5

01 Break the rules
Some of the most creative images arise when you throw away the rule book for photo composition. Of course, you still need to understand the fundamentals of how to create a photographic image, but try disobeying a few rules if you want to push your creativity further. Why not place a horizon right in the middle of the frame?

It might not adhere to the ‘rule of thirds’, but there are some fantastic and successful images that do just that. Ditch the tripod and try hand-holding your camera for a one-second exposure. The results might not be pin sharp, but they will have a wonderful sense of motion or artistic blur.

02 Colour
Colour presents fabulous opportunities for the creative photographer. Look for colour combinations that work. Whether you’re mixing complementary colours to create a visual harmony or clashing colours to create a sense of tension, you’ll find colour a great tool in your creative armoury.

Experiment with your camera’s white balance settings. Sometimes the “wrong” setting can add mood to a scene, so switch from auto mode, take control and try using the Fluorescent setting in daylight, or the Daylight light setting under indoor tungsten light.

03 Celebrate blur
Use blur as a creative tool and you can get some fantastic impressionist or semi-abstract results. However, there is an art to getting it right and it’s not simply a case of twisting your lens barrel so everything’s out of focus.

Your choice of lens and aperture will affect the characteristics, as will your subject matter. Use your camera’s screen to monitor the effects and experiment.

Colour and tone combinations become more emphasised when working with blurred images, so you’ll need to be more aware of the elements in the composition.

04 Shutter speeds
As a general rule of thumb, photographers want crisp photos that don’t display any signs of motion blur or camera movement, and using a tripod or a fast shutter speed will pretty much guarantee this.

However, adding a bit of movement can add a fascinating dimension to your work. Try jogging your tripod during a long exposure or even hand-holding your camera for a second or two. Remember that you’ll need to adjust your aperture accordingly so your shot isn’t over-exposed.

05 Experiment with lenses
Try using specialist lenses in the wrong context to give your images an unusual twist. Experiment with a tilt-and-shift lens, which is typically used to correct converging angles in architectural shots.

In the “wrong” situation it can produce some interesting results and skew perceptions of depth, distance and scale. If you don’t have access to a tilt-and-shift lens, try using a more economical alternative, such as 
a Lensbaby.

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