5 simple ways to get a new look for your favourite photo subjects

5 simple ways to get a new look for your favourite photo subjects

Cover image by Lincoln Wallace

Put a new spin on the way you shoot your favourite subjects with these easy-to-follow suggestions

Mix up your photography shooting habits and get great results by trying out new looks, techniques and angles for your images and favourite subjects:

1 Go black and white for a day

Challenging yourself to take solely black and white photos for a day will help focus your eye on tone, light and contrast. Photo by Melanie - 1/160 | f/10 | ISO 100

Try a day where you shoot exclusively in black and white. You’ll soon find that by viewing the environment around you through the prism of black and white tones, you’ll be seeing subjects you normally like to capture in a completely different way.

It’s also a great exercise in paying more attention to contrast, tone and available light and shadow. Once you’ve got your images, you can further refine your skills in post-production by adding grain and tonal enhancements–giving them even that true and white aesthetic.

Read on:

Take a look at our guide on how to get the best black and white look for your photos.

2 Get low to the ground

Taking your camera away from eye-level and putting it down to the ground can transform your subjects. Photo by Sam Moore - 1/3200 | f/4 | ISO 200

A quick and simple way to get a different perspective on subjects you like to shoot, whether it’s landscape, nature or street photography, is to get your camera low to the ground.

Doing this will open up new angles and give your shots a fresh look. And when it comes to reflections, getting as low as you can to the reflective surface (i.e. a mirror or puddle) will provide the most interesting results.

Read on:

See our guide for an in-depth look on how to take photos from a low angle.

3 Zoom in and shoot with a deep depth-of-field

Get the on-trend foreground look for your shots by shooting with a wide depth-of field. Once you start taking images this way, you'll soon find there's lots of visual elements around you that diffuse well. Photo by Christian Als - 1/250 | f/4 | ISO 100

A current trend in outdoor photography is shooting with a wide depth of field and framing the subject with diffused elements. Take a look at the examples above. For best results, a zoom lens is ideal and you’ll want to be using an f-stop no higher than f/2.8 to get the strong depth-of-field range; if your lens goes lower, even better.

If you’re new to this type of framing, it’ll take some experimentation to get the best results. So, similar to working in black and white for a day, take some time to go out on location armed only with a zoom lens–this way you’ll be fully concentrated on perfecting the technique and focusing on framing, composition, and the technical aspects of getting the desired shot.

Read on:

See our top tips for finding unusual angles for your photos.

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4 Ditch the tripod and go handheld

This image was taken without a tripod at 1/50s, f/4.5 and ISO 2500 and works very well for the scene. If this scene was created by a longer exposure there wouldn't have been such drama captured in the sky. Photo by Lincoln Wallace

If you think that you can only achieve the best landscape images with a tripod and some form of long exposure, that’s absolutely not the case.

You can get stunning shots without the need for anything else other than your camera and a steady hand. And if you’re into the habit of using your tripod for all of your outdoor shots, force yourself to leave it behind one day and embrace the creative freedom of going without.

Read on:

Here's our top tips on getting the best handheld shots


5 Visit your favourite locations but at different times of the day

Visiting your favourite photographic locations at different times of the day can yield vastly different results. As demonstrated by these two photos from Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, Scotland, by Paul Roberts - 1/5s | f/11 | ISO 100 (top) & 2.5s | f/5 | ISO 12800 (bottom)

The look and feel of a location can vary dramatically depending on what time of the day you visit, and if you like to visit your favourite shooting spots at particular times of the day, for example during the popular Golden Hour, try mixing it up visiting at different times of the day, or even during the night. Not only will you get an entirely different type of shot, but it’ll also push you out of your comfort zone and help you improve your skills with the camera.

Read on:

You can read our specialist guide to photographing landscapes at night and our tips for street photography at night for more information, or if twilight may be more your thing, see our how-to guide on photographing the Blue Hour.


Editor’s bonus tip: Look behind you

As photographers, it’s easy to concentrate on what’s just in front of us, especially if it’s the composition and beautiful light we’ve been looking for. However, when you’re in that moment, always look behind you too - you might find the scene is equally as stunning, or even better.