There are so many facets to photography that everyone who enjoys life behind the lens can pursue their favorite version. Creative photography is a popular niche of photography that is challenging to quantify.
However, the accepted definition of creative photography is an extension of conventional photography with an added element designed to stimulate thought and drive experimentation with new ideas.
The concept is to improve a standard photograph by using additional elements to transform it into something new and interesting. Examples of elements you can use could be long exposure on an overcast day to capture patterns in the clouds or a torch to paint with light on a moonless night.
Creative use of motion blur, reflections, and macro shots of a tiny world not often seen are also great examples of the more creative side of photography.
As you can imagine, nothing is off-limits when you choose to pursue the creative side of photography. Here are a few ideas to get you started with creative photography with your micro four-thirds setup. These ideas won’t require any expensive equipment or studio setups.
Playing with Long Exposure
Long exposure times open up a ton of creative options for your photography.
Painting with Light
Painting with light is a fascinating use of long exposure times on your micro four thirds. The basic premise is to use light sources such as torches to ‘paint’ the subject with light.
The long exposure produces fascinating, highly detailed images that are more like fine art than a photograph. Surreal, magical effects can be created using this method when shooting in the thick of the night against a star-studded background.
No special equipment is needed other than a tripod, a powerful torch, and the desire to experiment. Most photographers who get into light painting also have highly developed skills in Photoshop because the technique often requires extensive post work.
An offshoot of light painting is to use the light itself as the subject. The photographer dresses all in black and uses the long exposure times to paint simplistic images or draw words that appear to float in the air.
Playing with Steel Wool, Fire and Long Exposures
The most mundane objects can make useful tools for creative photography. A simple piece of steel wool can be used to good effect when you set it alight and combine it with long exposures on your camera.
Playing with fire means you need to pay attention to safety. Use a stainless-steel whisk attached to a piece of string to contain a bundle of steel wool. Also, make sure to wear protective gloves and practice safety first.
Once you have your camera set up on a tripod, set the steel wool on fire and start spinning your whisk through the air. You don’t need any special equipment for this method except possibly a shutter cable for the camera.
Daytime Long Exposures
Long exposures can add a touch of the dramatic to a landscape scene. Moving water will be frozen in time like melted glass, exciting contrasts between dark and light are captured on grand old buildings, and a fast-flowing creek creates a sense of mist-shrouded fantasy.
Photographing Through Objects
Photographing through objects can add depth and mystery to an image. Experiment with different materials and objects and see what happens.
When shooting through the leaves of a tree, the soft blurry lines will enhance a romantic theme. Pieces of fabric, glass, crystal balls, windows, and even beverages can all lead to creative flair.
Something as simple as a hole in the wall or an image captured through the letterbox can be the focal point for creative photos.
Splashing Water Droplets
The physical laws of nature can produce some fantastic sculptures when you use a fast shutter to freeze droplets of water in time.
Don’t limit yourself to droplets of water, as other objects dropped into a small body of water can produce some fantastic results. Even something as simple as a marble dropped into liquid will create mesmerizing images.
How about mixing soap and water to see what happens?
There’s nothing quite like nailing the shot of a fast-moving object such as a swallow zooming over the landscape in search of prey or a jet airliner reaching for the clouds.
You will need a camera with fast AF and snappy shutter speed. Fortunately for the micro four-thirds enthusiast, a few models to choose from will suit a photographer’s passion for mixing creativity with high speed.
If you are after the ultimate challenge in creative photography using your micro four thirds, then you should try your hand at smoke photography.
Trailing lines of smoke can add an exotic element to a photograph, or you could even make the smoke the main subject.
Anything that produces smoke can be used, including an extinguished match, a candle, or incense. Dry ice is an excellent source of ‘smoke’ if you can get your hands on it.
The world is full of reflections that can be used to good effect when striving for creativity in your images. Ducks floating on a rippling pond with reflected autumn colors create the illusion of paintwork, which can make your viewers wonder if it’s a photograph or an incredibly detailed oil painting.
A branch overhanging a tranquil river creates a sense of peace and serenity in nature. No matter where you are, in nature or the city, you will be able to explore your creativity in the reflections which are all around you.
Change Your Perspective
Looking at the world from something other than your usual angle can provide unusual scenarios to satisfy your passion for micro four thirds creative photography.
A discarded orange with a backdrop of piles of rubbish set the scene for a surprisingly creative piece that serves to highlight the grungier side of life. When viewed from a different angle, highrise buildings produce fascinating lines and contrasts of light and dark.
There are exciting creative opportunities when you outfit your micro four-thirds camera with a macro lens.
When using a shallow depth of field, an image of ferns in the grass creates a peaceful scene. A humble mushroom becomes a work of art, and a relatively mundane PC keyboard shows that beauty and art are everywhere if you know where to look.
As you can tell, you can find tons of creative opportunities if you decide to ask yourself how you could do things a little differently. It’s also good to know that your micro four-thirds camera will not hold you back when you decide to challenge yourself by exploring the creative side of your passion for photography.