Trick Photography and Special Effects

Light Painting Techniques

By reducing the shutter speed on your camera and using it in a night setting along with a flashlight, you can create some really interesting and cool special effects.

Simply wave the flashlight around, aiming it at the subject of the photograph, as well as occasionally aiming it directly at the camera lens. What you will end up with will appear as if the light is painted throughout the photo.

Light Drawing Techniques

Light drawing is similar to light painting, but differs because the design is more specific.

Keep the camera about fifteen feet away from the subject and set the shutter speed to around 30 seconds. Using a flashlight, or other light source, begin making your pattern or design.

If you are drawing something simple such as a basic shape, you may wish to go over the pattern several times. If it is more complicated, stick to going over the pattern only one time fairly slowly to get the desired effect.

Using Flash Stencils in Photography

Using a flash stencil in your photos will give you a cool special effect. For this, you will need a box, a piece of sturdy white paper on which to make a stencil, or a pre-made stencil, and an external flash source for light.

Cut an area out of the box so that you can place your stencil in it. Tape the stencil into place. Then, on one side of the box, cut a hole just large enough for your external flash to fit into. This will cause the flash to illuminate the stenciled area.

Set your shutter speed to around 30 seconds, and then move about within the area you would like the stenciled image to appear. Remember not to stand too still or stay in any one spot too long, or partial images of your body may end up in the photo along with the stencil.

Motion Blur Effects

Motion blur images are one of the most popular of types of trick photography and special effects available. To capture the essence of motion, while at the same time having a subject in the photo appear focused, there are a few tricks you can use.

One option is to freeze the entire image by shooting with a shutter speed of about one thousandth of a second. Another way to achieve motion blur is to pan your subject, following them while everything else around you continues to move. Another option is to have the subject remain still as you focus on them and things blur past around them.

Double Exposure Special Effects

When attempting a double exposure effect, two slightly underexposed images must be taken. These images will then be combined to create one double exposure image.

The superimposed images will overlap in the finished product, so try to get them to match so that everything looks uniform and natural, aside from the subject matter that you desire to look slightly unnatural and stands out.