Special Effects Photography - The Brass Tacks

Published: 21st May 2012
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Trick photography is one of the most intriguing branches of photography, it is the art of adding special effects to photographs by using both camera made effects and image editing. Used skillfully these methods will produce photographs that are not only alluring to look at but also brings about one to speculate how these were done.

Although there is a broad range of gear at hand to enhance image quality, there are in-fact only a few items of gear required to start taking pictures with effects.

The camera may be any entry level DSLR camera, this is a digital single lens reflex camera meaning it allows the photographer to see directly through the lens and therefore view accurately what will be photographed, also photos taken are stored digitally instead of using film. Another benefit of this type of the camera is it permits lenses to be substituted depending on the type of object being shot, it usually comes with an 18-55mm lens suitable for special effects photography. A new camera would need a memory card to store the photographs and these can be found in different capacities.

Another necessary item is a tripod to hold the camera motionless while taking long exposure shots and as long as the tripod is firm, any old used one would do.

In this type of photography it is common to alter images using graphics editing software. A widely used application is Adobe's Photoshop, however, a great free open-source graphics editing application is also available, called The Gimp. These suggestions are only the necessary items to help one get started in this captivating branch of photography and with time the equipment kit will naturally grow along with knowledge and purpose.

Regardless of what gear is at one's disposal, it is creativity and know-how of trick photography principles that are important for shooting first-rate optical effects pictures, these are some of the popular ones:

HDR photography:
HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. It is a technique applied to the image after taking the photograph, it embellishes the contrast in the light or dark regions of the picture and has an overall effect of making photographs look more vivid naturally or embellishing the contrast for artistic effect.

Long-exposure photography:
Using slow shutter speeds to obtain what is referred to as motion blur. Long-exposures are normally taken in low-light conditions having a motionless subject against other fast moving ones. For example a person standing next to of a moving train will capture the person clearly while the train produces the motion blur effect.

The Droste Effect:
This is an effect where an image has a smaller version of the image within itself recursively, similar to the effect when looking at two mirrors facing each other, this is the result of manipulating the picture using a graphics editor.

Infrared Photography:
Almost all infrared shots are of stationary objects like countrysides because of the long-exposure times needed when capturing infrared images. These types of photographs are frequently edited using graphics software after taking the picture to adjust the color hue.

360x180 Planet panoramas:
This is a technique requiring pictures to be taken all the way around and up, consequently the name 360x180. Images are then assembled together using software to form a picture resulting in a seemingly spherical field of view.


Keep in mind, that it is not necessary to own fancy and expensive equipment to take pictures with effects, it is knowledge of special effect photography techniques that will help obtain artistic results, please visit http://www.takepictureswitheffects.org to find out how to get started.

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