Use the Wrong Settings to Get Unique Photos!
This article was originally published in August 2012.
You do not always need to follow the rules and do as you’re told. Once you understand the strengths and failings of each technique and each rule, you must apply them to your advantage. What happens when you use the wrong settings for a particular situation? Well, you might just end up being pleasantly surprised with the results.
A Different Scene Mode
The Scene modes found in compact cameras and entry-level DSLRs provide a good degree of automation for photographing different kinds of subjects. Depending on the mode used, the camera automatically chooses an appropriate aperture, shutterspeed and also determines other factors such as the amount of saturation to be used, whether the flash should be fired and so on. Analyse what each Scene mode does, and use those properties, even if you are shooting a different subject. For instance, you can use the Candlelight mode while shooting portraits, to add a distinctly warm tone. On the other hand, the Night Portrait mode can be used while shooting any fast-moving subject at night—even if it is not a portrait. The camera will fire a flash to freeze anything in the immediate foreground, while the slow shutterspeed used will capture blur and light trails in the background.
Lurking in the Shadows
Our eyes are used to seeing tones rendered in a particular way. However, if you experiment with light and the Exposure Compensation button on your camera, you can create some memorable pictures that force the viewer to look twice. For instance, absolutely every person in the frame need not be lit. One person may be completely in the shadows. The viewer’s gaze will not fall on that person immediately, but once we look closely, the person will add a lot to the story in the frame. Try different exposures, so that you can determine how bright or dark each part of the frame is.
Blur can be Good Too
We often strive to shoot tack sharp photos, but blur can be good too. It signifi es movement and adds a sense of chaos, drama and vibrancy to a scene that may otherwise be static and boring. Give yourself an exercise. Use only a slow shutterspeed, whatever subject you may be shooting. Use blur to your advantage, whether you are shooting moving subjects, static landscapes or even self portraits! If you are forced to think like this, you will start experimenting with various techniques, and really understand the dynamics of blur. You can keep the camera on a steady surface and capture the blur of a subject moving past the frame. You can also pan the camera in the direction of the subject’s motion. Or, just shake the camera to introduce any random blur in the frame!