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How To Create "Trick" Photographic Special Effects

10:00 AM - January 15, 2013 by Adam Short

Create "Trick" or "special effects" photographs by purposefully manipulating time, space, light, aperature, by using unusual subjects, colors, multiple images, or computer software to create unlikely, deceptive, spectacular or impossible photos.


Open the camera's shutter for a very short duration to make extremely fast events appear to take a long time.

Open the camera's shutter for a very long duration to make very slow events appear to happen instantaneously.

Open the shutter intermittently to make events separated in time appear to occur simultaneously.

Use a scanner to create time-morphed photographs.


Compose photographs to confuse objects perceived relationships in 3 dimensional space.

Change the photograph's orientation to create new interpretations.

Combine photographs to make impossible scenes appear as real.


"Draw" with light using long exposure to create unusual patterns.


Close down the aperature or shoot through shapes to create blurry, out-of-focus patterns.

Unusual Subjects

Photograph unusual objects to create interesting images.


Use infrared photography or colored flash gels to alter color in interesting ways.

Multiple Exposures

Combine multiple images of the same or different scenes to add depth or meaning.

Software Manipulation

Use computer programs like Photoshop to achieve unusual looks.

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