7 types of photography tricks and special effects

With all the different photo editing software and apps available today, it’s easier than ever to add great special effects and photo illusion tricks to your favorite photos to give them an “otherworldly” appeal.

Various other amazing effects can be achieved by making adjustments to the shutter speed. By using these tips, even the most amateur photographer can make their photos look professional.

Tip #1: Light Painting Techniques

By slowing down your camera’s shutter speed and using it in a night setting along with a flashlight, you can create some really interesting and cool special effects.

Simply wave the flashlight around, pointing it at the subject of the photograph, as well as occasionally pointing it directly at the camera lens. What you will get will appear as if the light was painted on the entire photo.

Tip #2: Light Drawing Techniques

Light drawing is similar to light painting, but differs in that the design is more specific.

Keep the camera about fifteen feet away from the subject and set the shutter speed to about 30 seconds. Using a flashlight or other light source, begin making your pattern or design.

If you’re drawing something simple, like a basic shape, you may want to go over the pattern a few times. If it’s more complicated, keep going over the pattern just once rather slowly to get the desired effect.

Tip #3: Using Flash templates in photography

Using a flash template on your photos will give you a cool special effect. To do this, you will need a box, a piece of sturdy white paper on which to make a stencil, or a pre-made stencil, and an external flash light source.

Cut out an area of ​​the box so that you can place your template on it. Paste the template in place. Then, in one side of the box, cut a hole big enough to fit your external flash. This will cause the flash to illuminate the patterned area.

Set your shutter speed to around 30 seconds, then move into the area where you would like the stamped image to appear. Remember not to sit too still or stay in one place for too long, or partial images of your body may end up in the photo along with the template.

Tip #4: Motion Blur Effects

Motion blur images are one of the most popular types of photo tricks and special effects available. To capture the essence of movement, and at the same time keep a subject in the photo in focus, there are a few tricks you can use.

One option is to freeze the entire image by shooting with a shutter speed of about a thousandth of a second. Another way to achieve motion blur is to pan your subject, following it while everything else around you continues to move. Another option is to make the subject stay still while you focus on it and things blur around them.

Tip #5 Double Exposure Special Effects

When attempting a double exposure effect, two slightly underexposed images should be taken. These images will then be combined to create a double exposure image.

The overlay images will overlap on the finished product, so try to match them so that everything looks uniform and natural, plus the subject you want to look a little unnatural and stand out.

Tip #6 HDR Photo Effects

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and involves taking one or a series of images and combining or adjusting them after processing. Typically this works by using three images of the exact scene, all taken at different shutter speeds.

With special software, you can combine these images to enhance highlights and details, such as shadows. This helps the photographer get the full effect of the scene as it would be seen with the naked eye.

Tip #7 The Bokeh Effect

As the last on our list of 7 Types of Photography Tricks and Special Effects, this one can be achieved using a DSLR camera and wide aperture settings. Set the camera to A or AV mode and use a low f-number (lower f-stop = larger aperture) to get a shallow depth of field.

Using a fixed focal lens will also help create the Bokeh effect. Keeping your subject very close to the lens and the background as far away as possible works to create the most effective Bokeh shot.

There’s good news for the point-and-shoot camera user, too, as photo effect programs and even downloadable apps are available for an iPhone or other mobile device to give you the Bokeh effect without all the extra work or special equipment.

All of these methods will give you the soft, circular light patterns that Bokeh is known for.


Many of these trick photography methods can be accomplished simply by adjusting the shutter speed. The shutter controls the amount of light that is allowed into the camera, which can greatly affect the way the photograph is exposed, as well as the final result of the shot.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your ordinary photos look extraordinary.

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