Photography is a truly diverse art form. There are so many ways you can express yourself through a photograph. The photos you take are often a reflection of your personality, and it’s your personality which leads you towards your photographic style. There are a number of photography techniques you can learn to express this style. In this article, you’ll learn how to go beyond a few photos using a particular technique, and find out how you can turn this into a series of photos. So read on and find out how you can boost your creativity, by using one technique to create a photographic series.
Choose the photography technique for your series
With so many photography techniques to choose from, it can be tricky to home in on just one. Perhaps you already have some go-to techniques you regularly employ? If so, it’s a good idea to choose one of these. On the other hand, perhaps there is a new technique you’d like to try, and you have a raft of creative ideas to go with it. If you need a little help, below are some ideas that lend themselves to making a series.
- Light painting – A genre with a massive amount of potential, and creativity is almost endless. Will you try your hand at kinetic light painting? How about using a programmable LED light stick?
- Crystal ball photography – Explore the world through a glass ball, and discover that your lens is not the only in your photography.
- Minimalism – Photography is the art of subtraction, and the appeal of minimalism is always there. Why not turn this into a series?
- Silhouettes – An easy photography technique to master is silhouettes. Get down low to the ground, and photograph against the light! You’ll need a strong compelling shape to aim at though.
- Low-key light – A series of portrait photos always looks nice, and using low-key light is a great photography technique to produce them. Why stop at portraits though? There is a whole world of still life to work with.
- Shadows – Like silhouettes, shadows can be an interesting subject matter. Look to photograph early morning, or late evening when the length of shadow is long.
- Headshots – A series of portrait photos is a great idea, and if you travel it’s a great chance to show the diversity of the world. In this case, the overall theme is the composition of a headshot, but within that, there is huge potential to be creative.
Have a narrative
Having a photograph technique that is consistent throughout your series is great. However, thinking of an overall narrative to describe your work makes it that much stronger. Think about how you can describe your technique. If your technique is on light painting, you could be exploring dynamism, the future, or energy flows. The crystal ball might allow you to explore themes like dreams, the world in a globe or environmentalism. Those themes can be used to form a title for your body of work. Now you’re not just working to a photography technique, but also to a creative concept. It’s this creative concept that can push you to produce more work in the photography genre you’re exploring.
Now, of course, there is no reason you shouldn’t combine techniques. It’s a great way to expand your series of work. You can use many of the techniques listed earlier in this article in combination. In fact, there are lots of techniques not listed here that you could also incorporate, such as contrast. The crystal ball is just one example of a technique that you can combine with others. Below you can see a few ideas for how you can combine techniques with a crystal ball.
- Light painting – Light paint around the crystal ball gives it a more mystical feel.
- Headshot – Use the crystal ball as a prop for your portrait photography.
- Minimalism – Use the ball as a focal point in your image, and make the rest of the image as minimal as possible.
Look to themes
A popular type of photography is to photograph the same scene but at different times of the year. In this way, you can use the seasons as your theme, and repeat the composition and technique you’re using. That means you’ll get four great photos, and you’ll have a mini-series within your overall set of photos. There are lots of ways you can apply this. Below are a few ideas that you may use to expand your work.
- The seasons – Look to produce images that show spring, summer, autumn, and winter. They don’t have to be taken from the same location, but repetition does create a stronger feel to the set.
- Elements – Can you use your technique to portray earth, fire, water, and air? Using these elements as a starting point can be a great creative exercise to make you think about how you’ll photograph your idea.
- The senses – Once again, another popular mini-project could be portraying touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound. Will you also look to portray the sixth sense?
Take a mixture of photos
One of the keys to producing a successful series of photos is to mix things up. If your photos all look virtually the same, you’ll eventually run out of room to create. Ahead of changing the way you apply a photography technique you should maximize a particular way of photographing. You could well return to a particular concept and composition, especially if you travel somewhere new. That said, there are some simple, and effective ways of adding variety to your work, without the need to travel.
- Composition – A change in how you compose your photo can give your photography technique a new twist.
- Portraits – Using a technique like light painting or silhouettes? Think about how you can add some portraits to the set.
- Landscapes – Are you doing low-key portraits? Is there a way to incorporate a landscape into the portrait photo? Crystal ball photography is a technique that lends itself very well to landscapes.
- Macro – Get some closeup macro photos, and change the perspective of the viewer entirely.
Finally, you could look to collaborate with other photographers who are working in a similar area to your work. This can take the form of a joint project, where at the end you pool your work together. You could do a project where you make a title for the photo, and each person goes and interprets the concept in their own way. It’s also possible that by sharing work with each other, you’ll get ideas to progress your photography technique and concept even further.
Turn your photography technique into a series!
Have you turned a particular photography technique into a series? What was your experience of this, and what did you do with your series once you produced it?
Are you thinking of creating a set of images focusing in on one particular technique to do this? What technique do you plan to use for your project? Hopefully, this article helps focus your mind on some of the things you can do to create a series of images.
As always, at Digital Photography School, we’d love to hear your thoughts, and see your images in the comments section! So please share your photographic series, either old or new.