Experimental Photography Techniques You Should Try

Photos are usually taken with specific rules about framing and focus. The subject must be in the center of the frame or using the rule of thirds to have a balanced composition. It should be clear and must possess the qualities of a great photograph. These are some of the standard practices in photography. Every photographer can always improve their skills and create amazing photos. Rather than following the usual way of taking photos, try experimenting with how you capture images. Doing some alterations or incorporating something will make a significant impact on the produced image.


Experimental Photography Techniques

Experimental photography is the unconventional way of taking photos. It can be done using the camera alone or with the help of a photo editor. If you are still using film cameras, there are things you can do during the development process. Here are some techniques you can try to give you alternative ideas on how to take your photos.


Double Exposure


Exposure may refer to the number of photos that can be taken using a film camera. One exposure corresponds to one image. A common mistake among film camera users is not advancing the film after taking a snap. As a result, one image overlays the other. However, not all the photos turn out to be awful. 


From being a standard error, it is now used to produce double exposures. If used creatively, it can give you great layering images. Digital cameras can also make double exposures by merely changing the camera settings. In case you are already done with your photo session, and you found two images that will complement each other, photo editors will be handy.




Camera filters may vary depending on the camera that you are using. Action cameras usually have a neutral density filter, polarizing filter and red magenta filter. Other digital cameras also make use of these filters. Aside from the readily available filters, you can have your everyday items to serve as your filter. It can be your window, a wine glass, cling wrap or even a bottle of water. You can place anything in front of your lens but be careful not to damage the lens.




There are times that unnecessary reflections can ruin your photo. For example, while taking your image, you did not notice a mirror's presence on the background, and it showed your reflection in the picture. You cannot avoid these things, yet reflections can be your advantage.  You can use a mirror as a prop to capture the subject indirectly or to create contrast. Reflections can also produce interesting shapes, especially in architecture.


Long Exposure


For night photographers, using this technique is already a routine for them. They use it to capture stars in the night sky and other atmospheric events. Stunning photos of the aurora borealis are commonly shot using long exposure. Moving lights from car headlamps on the highway can be captured as well. It creates the illusion of dancing lights. 


Moreover, if you are familiar with light painting, this technique makes it possible. It enables you to draw anything on thin air using light. You can have your mobile phone, a flashlight or LED sticks as your drawing tool. You need to have patience in creating these images because it is a matter of trial and error. 


Focus and Blur


If the photos happen to be out of focus or blurry, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is terrible. Bokeh is an example of being out of focus and blurred but not considered wrong. It can be achieved by switching your camera to manual mode and adjusting the lens until you get that perfect blur of the lights. Typically, the bokeh is circular, but you can modify it using cut-outs and placing it in front of the lens.


Intentional blur is another technique that can produce compelling images. First, you have to set your camera at slow shutter speed. Then, after clicking the release button, move your camera a bit in any direction. It will produce an abstract-like image.


Gum Prints


These days, photo manipulation is done using photo editors. You can easily add effects on your photos with just one-click. But it will be a whole different story if you do it in the actual image. Gum printing takes place during the development process inside a dark room. It will use the same agent that created photograms back in the days. It will make your pictures look like a painting. You can easily control the colours to change the mood of your photo.


Mostly, film camera owners use this technique because they already have the negatives to be developed. However, if you are curious enough to try this but do not own a film camera, there is a way to have your photos printed like negatives.


Processing Techniques


Other than gum printing, there are processing techniques you can do to be innovative. The chemicals used to develop black and white films and coloured films are not the same. Switching those chemicals to one another can give you different results from the traditional developing process. Anything you do in the darkroom that other developers cannot practice will affect the outcome of your photo.


There are no limitations in taking your photos. The only one who will limit you is yourself. Stories are not only told using words. Pictures have their narrative as well. Even the way they are photographed is another one. That is why photographers are also called storytellers. Instead of telling those stories repeatedly in the same way, have them in unusual forms that will fuel the imagination.