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Experimental photography: long exposure, infra-red and special lenses

Posted in Photography By pixpod

Experimental photography is perfect for those who are tired of taking normal photos. Allowing photographers to throw out the rule book and truly express their creativity, experimental photography can produce some fascinating and unique shots. With a vast array of experimental techniques out there, there are virtually no limits to what types of photo can be achieved. From being savvy with camera settings to utilizing special lenses, there are plenty of ways to get some awe-inspiring shots. Here is a guide to experimental photography, and some ideas on how to take some excellent, albeit unconventional, photos.


Long exposure

Long exposure is a very versatile experimental technique that can produce some stunning, vibrant photos. Taking long exposure photos usually requires a tripod, as any camera movement can cause the shot to blur. One of the most fun ways to get creative with long exposure is light painting. To start light painting, photographers need to be in a dark room, or wait until night time.


When the camera is securely positioned on its tripod, the exposure time on the camera needs to be set anywhere from 5 seconds upwards. For best results, the subject of the photo should be a moving light source. By waving the likes of glow-sticks or torches in front of the camera during the shot, some fantastic light paintings can be created.  Another great subject for such a photo is moving car headlights. By trying different colours and patterns of movement, the possibilities with light painting are endless.


Long exposure can produce some amazing photos during daylight too. By using either a dark or infra-red filter, a standard day time shot can become an ethereal masterpiece. Shooting images with running water is an excellent way to get some brilliant shots, as the water will take on a misty glow. Photographers should get inventive and see what wonderful and bizarre photos they can capture with long exposure.


Light painting is an excellent way to use long exposure:

light painting - experimental photography



Infra-red lens


For capturing breath-taking, vivid landscape scenes with a difference, an infra-red lens is the perfect option. Although getting the technique right is a little challenging, the reward will be worth the effort. Photographer’s first need to ensure their camera is capable of capturing infra-red light. An easy way to test this is with a TV remote. Simply take a photo of the infra-red LED whilst holding one of the buttons down. If the camera is sensitive to infra-red light, there should be a visible glow from the LED in the image.


Once photographers have obtained and fitted their infra-red lens, they should experiment with different exposure and white balance settings to get the best shot. Depending on the lighting conditions, long exposure times may be required to get good results. Once the image has been captured, it will need to be digitally processed with image editing software to create the finished product.


Special lenses

There are many special lenses on the market, each offering different results. Fisheye lenses are an excellent option for taking interesting wide-angle shots. Because fisheye lenses are not corrected for distortion, the resulting images will appear warped around the edges. This may sound off-putting, but this distortion is what gives photos captured with fisheye lenses their distinctive appearance. Fisheye lenses are suitable for a wide range of shooting conditions, so photographers should try taking many types of photos with the lens. With some patience, fish eye lenses can help photographers take their photos to a whole new level.

 Fisheye lenses capture truly unique images:

photography lens tips



Experimental photography is both challenging and rewarding. Taking photos in unconventional ways can add extra character to the finished images, and allow photographers to have that extra creative freedom. From long exposure to special lenses, there are plenty of ways to experiment with photography.


By Bradley Houston


Image credits: Wikipedia and Wikipedia


Tom Reynolds likes to take and share his photos with his friends. He is also keen discovering new ways of photography. He developed and improved the concept of photobooths for parties and wedding.