1. Lace Shadows: This trend has become increasingly popular among portrait photographers. The set up is pretty simple: grab your favorite model and have them pose in the mandala like pattern that occurs when sunlight shins through a lace curtain. I have also seen the same principle applied with straw hats and other objects that have small perforations. The resulting composition is sure to be more visually interesting than a typical portrait session in unaltered natural light.
2. Overlay: This technique requires some Photoshop experience but once mastered can become a go- to edit. It is extremely versatile and can be used on virtually any kind of photo. Whether you are going for a surreal effect or just want to enhance your composition it is easy to layer two images in Photoshop. Simply open both images and edit them before superimposing one on top of the other. Next, you can choose how opaque each image is and experiment with different modes like color burn or the classic overlay option, as done below by one of my favorite Instagram photographers.
3. Macro Eye: The human eye is something that every photographer aims to capture at one time or another. Personally, I have always loved the way brown eyes melt when sunlight hits them. Getting the pupil in focus is key to getting a stunning shot, although I have seen some outstanding photos that center around the lashes as well. However, there is a limit on how close you can get to your subject before your camera will not be able to focus properly and you will need a macro lens. You can see the difference in the two pictures below. The first was clearly taken with a high quality macro lens while the second is my attempt at making do without one.
4. Crystal Ball: While this effect is not my personal favorite it is sure to spice up any landscape shot. Crystal balls can be purchased for around ten dollars on amazon but if you are looking to re-create the mirroring effect on a budget you could always fill a wine glass with water and shoot through that as I did on the right.
5. Smoke Bomb: Smoke bombs can be purchased online from Pyro City Fireworks in a variety of colors for under twenty dollars. Many photographers use them in order to achieve a hazy dream-like quality in their photos but certain safety precautions should be taken when shooting with them. The pull string grenade smoke bombs are preferable as they can be held further away from your face than the smoke bombs that require lighting with a lighter. Smoke bombs have also been known to stain clothing and inhalation of the smoke is not generally recommended. In order to avoid burns dispose of your smoke bomb if it does not immediately go off after ignition because it might be defective.
6. Steel Wool (Light Painting): Photography stems from the Greek word "fosgraphy" which literally means light writing. Although steel wool perfectly embodies the idea that photography is painting with light, this technique has also been criticized by many photographers for its destructive results. Steel wool is speculated as being responsible for the burning of a favorite photo spot; a shipwreck at Tomales Bay in Point Reyes, California during February 2016 (as seen below).
Needless to say steel wool is a technique that should only be attempted by experts since it can be harmful to the environment and those participating in the shoot. Models should wear all black, gloves, googles, long sleeves and a head covering to protect their hair. Grade zero steel wool burns best and can be purchased in any hardware store for less than five dollars. The wool can be lit with a regular lighter or by rubbing it against a nine volt battery. Before burning the wool place it inside a kitchen whisk that is attached to a wire cable. You should generally avoid windy days and wooded areas unless it rained recently. It's better to pick a private location where the police will not bother you with lots of concrete like an underground tunnel.
Your camera should be set to a shutter speed of about thirty seconds and the aperture should be at F8. The ISO should be at 200 and the white balance can be either auto or tungsten. Feel free to adjust these settings as your shoot moves on. It is important to use auto focus before switching to manual focus by placing a flashlight at the center of the area where the steel wool will be spinning and letting your camera adjust accordingly. Packing your wool tightly will result in fewer sparks since there is less oxygen available to it as it burns. Lastly, make sure to photograph responsibly and bring along a fire extinguisher.
7. Flour Power: Aside from the many showers it took to get the flour out of my hair and the hours spent cleaning my tripod, this effect was fun to experiment with. It is paired best with movement, as seen below, and can accentuate the spontaneity of any moment. Just be sure to avoid rubbing your eyes and have your model come prepared in clothing they are willing to lose.
Edited by Sarah Goto