Trick photography allows photographers to create realistic-looking illusions that captivate people’s attention. With the use of special effects, they can take everyday scenes and turn them into something exceptional. While the key to an impressive trick photograph is to make it look like it took a lot of effort to produce, often trick photographs are deceptively simple to make. Listed below are some of the many trick photography techniques that every photographer should know.
A tilt-shift lens makes certain objects in a picture sharp while blurring others into the background. You don’t need a tilt-shift lens, however, to produce a tilt-shift effect. Tilt-shift miniature faking is a particular type of tilt-shift technique that allows photographers to alter an image so that a life-sized location or object looks like a miniature-scale model.
The infrared, or IR, spectrum contains colors that aren’t visible to the human eye. The spectrum is visible to some animals, however, and fortunately for photographers, some cameras. When photographed using infrared techniques, the sky can look black and green foliage can look like snow. The resulting picture can seem as if it were taken on another world.
High Speed Photography
High speed photography captures moments that happen so quickly that they are typically not visible to the naked eye. A high speed photograph might show a balloon popping, glass breaking or water dripping. It is also especially useful when taking photographs of sports events, where key moments may last only milliseconds.
Diorama Illusion Effect
Similar to the tilt-shift miniature faking effect, the diorama illusion effect makes ordinary-sized objects look as if they were miniatures in a child’s diorama. By adjusting lighting, color and detail, photographers can make cars, airplanes and other items look like tiny toys.
Black and White Photography
Taking a good picture in black and white is more than a matter of just tweaking your camera’s settings; it is an art in itself. While perhaps not technically a “trick,” black and white photographs work to emphasize certain aspects over others. One way to add more effect to a black and white photograph is to add color to it with software after it has been taken. By selectively adding color to particular parts of the photograph, photographers can draw the viewer’s eye where they like.
Escher’s Droste Effect
The term “Droste effect” refers to a Dutch chocolate maker that used an image of its box on top of itself recursively at smaller and smaller sizes. The artist M.C. Escher added to the effect by making the image spiral. It wasn’t until the mathematician Hendrik Lenstra worked on the image, however, that the illusion was completed. Today the Droste effect is a common, yet still stunning, photography trick.
Motion Blur Photography
One difficulty in photography is capturing objects or people in motion. Done correctly, motion blur photography can keep the sense of motion in a still photograph without compromising the image. Like high speed photography, motion blur photography works well with subjects that are moving quickly; however, a motion blur effect can also be created with slower-moving objects.
Macro photography refers to close-up shots of small items, such as insects. Macro photography works well with objects in nature that have details that would otherwise not be visible to the human eye.
Taking photographs at night isn’t easy. Often subjects aren’t fully visible or lights can cause blurring. With the right tricks, however, nighttime photographs can be beautiful.
Panoramas are generally made by taking several photographs of a scene and combining them into one. While specialized panoramic cameras are available, they are costly, so knowing the tricks to taking a panoramic photograph with a standard camera is invaluable.
Trick photography can fool the human eye and brain into seeing things that aren’t real. What is real, however, is the ability of photographers to take trick photography techniques and use them to create something truly amazing. Even amateur photographers can take advantage of special effects and produce photographs that can be considered art. It’s simply a matter of knowing the right tricks.