Photography is such a gift to the creative arts. Sorry, Youtube to mp3 converter rap, you’re just not cutting it. Not only is photography a wonderfully visual means of expression; it’s a practical tool for content creation and business. That’s why, unsurprisingly, an increasing number of people are taking it up.
This is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but it also brings about a new challenge: Photographers need a way to make their photos idiosyncratic and stand out in such a saturated field. Here are suggestions to help spice up your photos and make them unforgettable, from editing software right down to the very camera you’re using. Let’s begin!
First time hearing ‘Pinhole’? Here’s how it works. All you need is a lightproof box with an aperture (pinhole) and a light-sensitive material on the back of the box. In a dark room, tape some film or paper to the back of the camera (box), then take the box outside and face the pinhole towards what you want to capture (use a tripod for a sharp image). Keep it there for a few minutes, then take the pinhole back to the darkroom to take the film/paper out and get it developed. Obviously, there’s a lot more to pinhole photography than this, but this is the basic gist.
What makes pinhole photography so exciting to me was how bare-bones it is. Pinhole photography strips back the art of taking photos to the necessities: light and composition. It also doesn’t let you preview the image you’re taking. That’s far too advanced for pinholes! But that element of the unknown is the beauty of the thing.
There’s a riveting excitement that comes with developing the image. The image could be a total dud, or it could be an immersive depiction of an environment, seen like never before! With pinholes, you can also experiment by mixing static with movement during the photo-taking process to create intriguing results. I promise you, if you upload a pinhole shot to Instagram, people will take notice.
GoPro exploded onto the photo/film scene in 2014, and it’s easy to see why. The endless possibilities of having a first-person camera encouraged thrill-seeking behaviour to earn the coolest shots possible. GoProers have been strapping the resilient device to their foreheads and skateboarding, parkouring and swimming for the perfect action shot ever since. For you filmgoers out there, the GoPro also offers slow-mo from the device itself, which is just too much fun.
Even better, the company just came out with the 10th iteration of their flagship device with a plethora of amazing improvements.
The camera now offers more stability, increased speed and frame rate, an all-new live-streaming mode, direct uploading to the cloud, and countless other nifty surprises. Definitely give it a sus on their website because now is the ideal time to scoop one up.
Yes, GoPro definitely teeters the line between functionality and novelty, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a time and a place to crack it out. My advice would be to use the GoPro but in moderation. It makes a cool shot, but you don’t want to get labelled as the ‘GoPro’ guy.
If I wrote the thesaurus for ‘Photoshop’, the first word would be ‘Freedom’. Photoshop has a high skill ceiling, but that only opens the door to deliciously unhinged imagination. On one hand, there’s removing pimples with an airbrush but on the other hand, you could probably morph a tree into an ocean in about 10 minutes. There’s a reason this editing behemoth is the undisputed industry standard.
I won’t lie to you. Learning photoshop is an arduous business. Its interface can definitely feel overwhelming at the beginning, but the good news is that there are plenty of tutorials online to assist you in your journey.
Once you get into the swing of things, Photoshop can be surprisingly intuitive. Before you know it, you’ll be able to teach yourself while pursuing your post-production madness-to-beauty endeavours.
If you’re only looking to learn the basics, that’s totally understandable too. One of the most valuable tools worth prioritizing is the Lasoo tool. This ingenious feat of design automatically wraps around people or objects, letting you perform complex cropping in no time. Another go-to tool is hue/saturation. As any photographer knows, light and colour are two of the most important variables.
Getting some post-production control in these matters is obviously invaluable, and Photoshop can make those edits look realistic as ever.
Keep the flaws (authenticity)
With so much control at our fingertips, it’s tempting to destroy blemishes, turn everything bright and colourful and decimate any ounce of amateurism. Sure, we want our work to look sleek and professional.
It’s understandable, but we mustn’t lose traces of our humanity. We’re exposed to so much digital content every day that it all tends to blur into one.
Leaving in some perfect imperfections is a great way to signal to your audiences that you’re an artist, not a content-creating machine only focused on results and aesthetics. I know this sounds contradictory after suggesting photoshop, but it’s all about options. The more diverse your portfolio is, the larger reach you’ll have.
Shoot out of your comfort zone
One of the best ways to become a richer, rounded artist with a more nuanced perspective, is to learn as much as humanly possible. And this is true for any field.
I’m definitely guilty of clinging to my comfort zone (writing-wise) but pushing yourself is always one of the best ways to grow as an artist. Imagine if The Beatles stuck to ‘I wanna hold your hand’ jingles instead of wandering the realms of psychedelia. Who knows? Maybe you had a knack for animal photography this whole time? You never know until you try.
Reaching out to new styles and subjects won’t only keep your work fresh and exciting, it will keep your audiences engaged. Too much of one thing and your posts will eventually become mundane and uninteresting.