Photography seems easy at first glance. You simply make your frame and press the shutter button. The reality is, everyone can take a photo but not all can master it. There’s more to photography than just simply “point and shoot.” Photography is a skill only a handful have the patience and the passion to stick with.
Table of Contents:
- Top 8 Photography Effects You Should Know
- Want to Start Your Own Photography Portfolio Site (WP Themes included)?
- Unbelievable Optical Illusional Photos
So What Are The Top 8 Photography Effects You Should Know?
Photography students and enthusiasts must educate themselves with many technical terms such as aperture, shutter speed, focus and exposure. You’ve probably read enough about that elsewhere, so how about a few photography effects? In this post I will share some photography tips and effects. They can enhance the beauty of your photos and they can be very fun to do, too.
Bokeh refers to the aesthetic quality of blur, the out of focus area of the image. It’s how the light renders lighted areas that are out of focus. The difference in lens aberrations and aperture shape causes the area to blur, creating the look that’s aesthetically pleasing. Many photographers deliberately use the shallow-focus technique to create images with prominent bokeh areas. The term comes from Japanese ‘boke’, which literally means haze or blur.
There’s good bokeh, but there’s also bad bokeh when the blur is so distracting or harsh that it takes the focus away from the subject. Thus, good bokeh can enhance an image while bad bokeh can ruin it.
Use of Creative Bokeh
You can also create other shapes of bokeh, such as the heart and star bokeh photos shown below. This can be done by using a filter with the desired shape. You can even create your own. Tutorial can be found here.
Panning refers to the horizontal, vertical or rotational movement of an image still or video. It’s an age-old technique. To achieve panning, you must have a moving subject that you must ‘stay with’ whilst framing the shot before and after you press the shutter. This will create an interesting effect, with your subject being sharp amid a blurred background. Great for shooting moving subjects or racing and sports events.
Panning will take a lot of practice, but you’ll get used to it and the effort is all worth it. Of course, it is easier to ‘follow’ a human subject than faster subjects like a dog, a motorcycle or a car.
3. Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the most basic principles of composition. It has been used for many centuries by artists, painters and now, photographers.
With the Rule of Thirds, the photographer breaks down the photo into thirds, horizontally & vertically so that you have nine equal parts. The main subject is not placed in the middle of the frame, thus it looks dynamic, moving and interesting.
When you are taking a picture you must mentally divide your viewfinder or LCD display into three to frame your shot. With the grid in mind, identify the important points of interest and frame. For some photographers, this comes naturally but for others, it will require practice.
Effective use of the rule of thirds create movement and interest in any photograph.
Keep in mind the rule of thirds for post production. If you find an image’s composition boring, you can always post process it by using the cropping and reframing tools of Photoshop. Experiment with the tools at hand to improve your photos.
4. The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour, also referred to as the Magic Hour, refers to the first hour the sun rises and the last hour the sun sets. It creates a different quality of light; it adds interest and drama to the scene. It’s the perfect time of the day for creating magnificent photos–but be quick, because lighting quickly changes and fades away.
What really happens during the golden hour? During sunrise and sunset, the sun is near the horizon so the daylight is of the indirect light from the sky, reducing intensity of the sun’s bright light. There is softer lighting, warmer hues and longer shadows. In other times of the day, the sun’s light can be too bright and harsh. The sun’s harsh light is particularly a problem in portrait photography, for the light can create unwanted strong shadows around the face and body.
With landscape photography, photographing landscape during the golden hours enhances the colors of the scene.
5. Golden Rectangle
The Golden Rectangle, (also the Golden Mean or the Golden Ratio) is another guideline for composition and a variation of the Rule of Thirds, but more intricate. The Golden Rectangle is the mean of the ratio of numbers on the Fibonacci Sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and so on). The ratio creates a golden rectangle, which is comprised of a square and half of the square in the same dimension.
Again, the concept goes back to several centuries. The Golden Rectangle is even used to frame Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Paintings, artworks and photos following the Golden Rectangle tend to be stunning and pleasing to the eye. It’s because it’s an aesthetic proportion that can be found naturally: flowers, shells, butterflies and even the human body.
It is very hard to frame the image to the Golden Rectangle means directly from the LCD or viewfinder. Thankfully, there are now several programs that you can use to crop your photos to the Golden Rectangle dimensions during post-production.
6. Fill Flash
Fill Flash is a technique in photography where the photographer uses flash to ‘fill in’ dark areas of the image. It’s perfect for backlit environments. The background is usually a lot brighter than the subject. To create fill flash, adjust the aperture and shutter speed correctly to expose the background, use flash to lighten the foreground but still retain the qualities of the background.
You can use flash when: the subject is in a shadow, when there is more light on the background than on the foreground, and when you are close enough to the subject for flash. Remember that your built-in flash is only powerful enough to reach up to 9 feet only. Fill Flash can brighten deeply shadowed areas, improving the image without overexposing the other areas of the image.
Fill Flash is great for illuminating the eyes, especially on bright days and the subject is wearing a cap.
7. Long Exposure
Long exposure is another interesting photography effect which entails a narrow aperture and long duration shutter speed. This is done in order to create dreamy landscapes, capturing the stationary elements while blurring the moving elements of the image.
Long exposure can be tricky. It should be taken in low light situations, most often photos will be overexposed because having long exposure on sunny days can be a problem, as too much light will enter the lens.
It is often referred to as ‘night photography’. Interesting subjects to shoot are stars, moving cars and lights.
However, there are many beautiful long exposure photographs taken during low light daytime. Shooting fog and water on long exposure is popular in photography.
Contre-jour is a popular photography effect. It is French for ‘against daylight’, the camera is directly pointing towards the light source. Countre-jour is, basically, is the fancy speak of ‘silhouette photography’. The light source is located directly behind the subject.
The contre-jour effect produces high contrast photos between light and dark. It hides details yet emphasizes contour of the subject and shapes. Contre-jour is more popular in nature & landscape photography. The effect is often used to add a more dramatic mood and intense ambiance to the scene.
Ironically though, contre-jour can enhance or reduce the quality of detail in the photo. Some recommend using a lens hood to enhance the effect of contre-jour in photographs, significantly reducing the glare coming into the lens. If too much light enters the lens, it will cause overexposure, causing the photo to lose definition.
You don’t need to follow these terms to the dot in order to create a beautiful and interesting image. In fact, rules are made to be broken! Art is about exploring yourself and your medium, after all. But to be an artist of your own you have to learn the basics first before you break them. That’s what Pablo Picasso and Van Gogh did.
Of course, these are not the only effects in photography. There are dozens more, and you can even create a photography effect through your own experimentation. Photography’s only limits is the photographer’s creativity.
Want to Start Your Own Photography Portfolio Site?
Every self respecting photographer should have his own portfolio. It is super easy to do it nowadays!
In one day you could have your own beautiful portfolio website, imagine how cool that would be! No kidding!
You could just sign up with Bluehost right now, to get your own domain..WordPress installation..and then install one of these awesome WordPress themes and you are live – seen by whole world! Just think :)
Okay, without further ado, here are 2 of the best photography themes in my opinion! If you want to look for more, check out ThemeForest.
Oshine is a creative multi-layout and multi-purpose WordPress portfolio theme with 18 unique demos. Oshine has been rated as one of the Best Portfolio & Photography themes in many popular blogs. Worth checking out, here is the demo.
We have shown you some amazing photography effects and two amazing WordPress themes, if you would like (should) to start your own portfolio website. Now it’s time for some inspiration with amazing optical illusions in the section bellow.
Be Amazed With These Unbelievable Optical Illusional Photos
Personally, I appreciate photos so much especially when they have illusion effects. Photos with illusions amaze me a lot. What could we get with these illusions? First, let us know the definition of illusion.
Wikipedia defines illusion as:
“A distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. While illusions distort reality, they are generally shared by most people.”
Illusion tricked our brain and eyes when seeing something that is not really there or something that is not really happening.
Benefits of Photos with Illusions: Exercise and Entertainment
It exercises our minds.
Optical illusions make our minds sharper for it makes us think on what can be on that picture or how could that happened. Optical illusions improve our analytical thinking and it also stimulates our right brain. This is good for most people, for seldom we see left-brainers.
It gives entertainment to viewers.
I always find myself caught up with the entertainment that these illusions give. These give enjoyment to viewers when thinking on what could that happen or what you see on the picture.
I consider optical illusion as an art. It amazes me how forms, lines, colors, and brightness or contrast are put together to form one illusion that deceives our optical mechanism or gives us those sleepless nights thinking on what could possibly be on that picture. But did you know that before optical illusions are manually created by men, it is already happening naturally? Yes, it does. Not only nature uses illusions, even military is using this as one of their tactics.
Optical Illusions in Nature
Optical illusions come naturally. For animals, they use illusions to survive where they put their bodies in camouflage so their predators or enemies won’t see them easily.
I have here some pictures to show you how animal camouflage works.
See how the lion blended in the African grasses? Lions does this when they hunt another animal for food.
There is a walking stick that is leaned under the grass. Have you noticed it?
A stingray that hides itself in the sand.
Mirage is a good example of natural optical illusion. See the picture below.
Mists rising on the shore created an in-depth image of a city, with modern tall buildings, wide city streets including cars as well as crowds of people all clearly visible. The city of Penglai had been soaked by two days of rain before the rare weather phenomenon occurred. In Penglai, on the tip of Shandong Peninsula, many mirages have been recorded throughout the history. Because of that city is also known as a dwelling place of the gods.
Optical Illusion Used by Military
A good tactic military thought of is to use colors to blend with the nature foliage.
Image by: Jean Francois
Now, let me present to you optical illusion photos that are created by men. Be amazed and have fun!
Take a look at this photo. What do you see? A rabbit or a duck?
How about this one? Can you figure out on what is in the picture?
Are you giving up already? To find out the answer, click here.
Try looking at this Jesus’ photo for 15–30 seconds. After that, take a look at a wall while blinking your eye. What did you see?
The original image forms a giant bird.
When you put it upside down, the picture would be a guy catching a big fish.
Here is a picture of an island that when turned upside down, you will see a crater.
Look at this picture, count the faces you will see.
What do you see? A letter E or just black lines?
Try measuring the SUVs and be amazed that their sizes are the same but appears to be different.
The palm trees appear to be a camel-shaped.
Try counting the black dots you may found below.
See how the circles move?
Did you see a couple in an intimate position? According to research, when children are the ones seeing this they see dolphins not the intimate couples for they still do not have experience or memory regarding the affair.
Can you count the number of legs this elephant has? Is it four? How about five, six? Or seven maybe? Hmm…
You are seeing a spiral, right? Actually, what includes on the picture are circles put together. And that creates the spiral.
Photographers, painters and designers are now using anamorphosis to give attraction to their photographs. Mostly, they use pencils to draw or other drawing tools to create such photo.
Wikipedia defines Anamorphosis as:
A distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. “Ana – morphosis” comes from the Greek words meaning “formed again.”
Anamorphosis is commonly used in road markings where they put wordings and arrows in a position where drivers can easily read and understand them. Take a look this example, even you are still far you will still see the arrow and words. And as you are getting near of it, they become bigger and more readable.
Take a look at the examples below. Note that these are not edited or modified using a photo editor software.
Julian Beever is a famous creator of anamorphic illusion photos. Below are his great works of 3D anamorphic illusion photos.
This is an example of an anamorphic illusion created by Julian Beever. This sidewalk drawing was drawn in a special distortion in order to create an impression of 3 dimensions when seen from one particular viewpoint.
An anamorphic photo illusion drawn in a large size of paper.
Another photo illusion in anamorphosis. A laptop drawn on the floor of The Strand, London.
A floor painting where Santa Clause is caught by policemen going inside a chimney.
To find out more anamorphic illusion drawings of Julian Beever, click here.
The photo you see below belongs to Edgar Muller’s pavement art.
A lava burst was drawn on a street way. Very realistic.
A chalk drawing of a cracked floor where a car fell and flattened and damaged another car.
All of these are drawn in 3D using a pencil.
Notice the face of the kettles? Those are just reflections of the stove. Cool, isn’t? One technique to take a anamorphic photo is to get its perfect angle to make it look good, and this one is a best example.
Seeing two lighters? The right one is drawn and the left one is real.
BONUS: Dual-Meaning Typography
With the name itself, a dual-meaning typography offers a double meaning. This is one way where designers put an art in communicating to viewers. Combining art and communication is one great way to achieve your purpose of communication. These kinds of typography are funny and it really makes you think on what can be the double meanings of such.
To be tricked then impressed, I have here photos that will represent dual-meaning typography that I am telling you.
A mirror reflection with the word, teach and learn in the reverse side of it.
One reason that I enjoy photo illusions is the Try to guess the two words on each row.
Did you guess that the word is BEHAVE or BELIEVE? Actually, the word is believe where the missing letters form the word, LIE. And those two words are somewhat related, right?
What do you understand written on the Green colored lines? The figure formed on the white lines is a hint.
I like this one. A mind once opened never closes/loses. Be open-minded.
Sources: Best Optical Illusion Websites
Want more optical illusion photos? You may browse some on these websites below.
A website that is all about optical illusions. You can also submit your own photos of optical illusions on this website.
You can find optical illusions and also different mind-teasing games and photos on this site.
A website where you can find lots of photos of optical illusions grouped into different categories for your convenience in searching.
We have come to the end an article. We hope you enjoyed the presented resources, that should help you greatly in our opinion. Looking forward to reading you comments. Do you have some great photo to share or maybe some great tutorial on photography effect? Tell us!