Facebook Pixel Copper, Prisms, and Orbs, Oh My! - 3 Creative Techniques for People Photography

Copper, Prisms, and Orbs, Oh My! – 3 Creative Techniques for People Photography

Have you ever wanted to shake things up a bit when it comes to people photography? Stretch your creative muscles? Try something new and different? Then this article is for you! We’ll explore three easy and relatively inexpensive creative techniques for people photography that will help you step outside the box and have a little fun.

3 Creative Techniques for People Photography - silhouette and a sun flare

One of my favorite techniques – shooting a silhouette with a piece of copper pipe for a little extra added shine.

1. Copper Pipe

A small piece of copper pipe can create a huge bang for your buck when it comes to people photography! My husband is a plumber, and I always ask him to save me spare pieces of copper pipe in different diameters to put to use in my photography.

If you don’t happen to be related to a plumber, head to your local home improvement store, and they’ll be able to cut a piece or two for you. I mostly use pieces that are 1-2″ long, and 1/2″-2″ in diameter.

3 Creative Techniques for People Photography - copper pipe flare two kids photo

From there, things are easy. Simply hold the piece of copper pipe in front of your camera lens as you’re shooting!

Depending on where you and your subject stand in relation to the sun, you’ll create all sorts of different effects ranging from a warm glow to semi-circles that look like they’re on fire. When I use this method I typically prefer to shoot in silhouette, which tends to produce a more defined glowing light.

I use manual focus coupled with Live View mode to more easily adjust the placement of the effect in interesting ways.

silhouette and flare - 3 Creative Techniques for People Photography

2. Glass Orbs

Another fun and unique tool for creating interesting photos of people, is to use a glass orb or crystal ball.

These orbs result in a kind of fish-eye effect that can be really fun in certain instances! I enjoy using these with kiddos, especially those who might need a little help warming up in front of the camera. Because you’re pointing your camera at the orb rather than directly at them, it can be a fun way to ease nervous kids into being in front of the camera.

3 Creative Techniques for People Photography - glass ball kids portrait

The final image is cropped and inverted as the image appearing in the glass orb is upside down.

Keep in mind that anything you photograph in an orb will be flipped upside down, so if you want the person to be right-side-up, you’ll need to adjust that in post-production. On the other hand, sometimes being upside down enhances the creative effect, so don’t be afraid to play around with the orientation to see which you prefer.

Some people prefer to keep the edges of the orb sharp and in focus, while other people prefer to shoot at a wider aperture to blow them out a bit. Again, when it comes to creative applications like this, there’s really no right or wrong way to do things, so feel free to play around and discover what you like.

3. Prisms

Yep, your favorite item from elementary science class can be a really fun tool to implement in photography too! Simply holding a prism directly in front of your lens and turning it as you’re shooting can create a whole variety of effects from subtle to intense.

3 Creative Techniques for People Photography - kid portrait and reflection from a prism

Once again, I typically use manual focus and Live View mode when shooting with prisms.

If you’re new to prisms, it can take a bit of time to learn how to achieve the different effects. Those can range from reflecting your subject to different places in the image (above), projecting small rainbows near your subject (below), to even showing your subject and what’s in front of them at the same time.

I’ve even seen people utilize prisms to show both a bride walking down the aisle and the groom waiting at the same time.

3 Creative Techniques for People Photography - girl laughing

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, copper pipe, glass orbs, and prisms are all really fun options for creative techniques and effects in people photography. All three require a bit of a learning curve, so don’t be afraid to play around and try different things.

You’ll discover what your aesthetic preferences are in no time! Have you tried any in-camera photo effects that you really enjoy? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

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Meredith Clark
Meredith Clark

is a wife, mother, native Oregonian, complete bookworm, Top Chef lover, and new quilting addict. She believes that photography is for everyone – it is a gift that allows us to capture and document both ordinary and extraordinary moments in our lives. You can see more of her work at Meredith Clark Photography or connect with her on Facebook.

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