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Adding a little magic | Creative Ideas for Photographers | Photography Education and Mentor-ship

I’ve gotten to put a lot of weird things in front of my lens over the course of four years of doing weddings. I’m a little like MacGuyver when it comes to shooting techniques – I use random objects around me to solve the plot mystery and save the day — or in my case, to bend light and make magic. But let’s not get me geeking out about light because I will *talk your ear off*.

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LHP style flows between ethereal storybook, classic chic candids, and over the course of an 8-9 hour day, we also have time to experiment and get some more artistic shots using our unusual items. The list of things we’ve shot with? Prisms, DVDs, a full suite of Apple i products, fire, glasses full of ice, shrubbery, flower petals, eyeglasses, and even a technique called lens chimping, where the lens is almost entirely removed from the camera and you move your lens around until your thin plane of focus is where you want it to be.

I even challenge my second shooters once their standard shots are done,  by assigning them peculiar and random objects to shoot with to make something beautiful and unique. And let me tell you, the people I work with could use a lemon on a fork and make a beautiful image.


Found iPhone

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Glass of ice

A reflective wall




dFound light and raindrops

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Glass with ice


 This sort of thing is particularly suited to glitzy, sparkly events with a lot of twinkling lights, and ballrooms with chandeliers, and for people who want something a little more artistic and unique. You’ll notice some of the effects are achieved by holding the object in the lens’s view as a mirror. But in some cases, the effect requires you move the object, gently shifting or spinning it so you get the slow-exposure blur effect, the shifting rainbows, or the ghosting effect. With your object, adjust the angle, distance, and motion as you’re shooting to perfect the desired result.

I read about other photographers doing something similar, but to make this my own, I had to experiment. Please don’t just take my list and decide you’ve mastered the technique. I spent a lot of time between (and sometimes during) weddings experimenting with different materials and angles to get it right. Did you know that DVDs are more blue than CDs? I do, because I tried them both. And I choose the material that’s best for the shoot I’m doing. A lot of materials didn’t work well for me, but maybe will work better for you. Paper, fabric, cotton all didn’t quite give me the effect I was going for. Some things worked well, but took a lot of setup. I have an old Brownie camera and I gritted up the lens. This gave my shots an old-timey feel you normally have to buy a pricey (free) Instagram filter for. It was a pretty neat effect, but the setup is so bulky, it wasn’t really ideal for weddings.

Other things that don’t work — small animals, children, dry wall, most pastas. Do they really not work, or am I just saying it for comedic effect? You won’t know until you get out there and try it yourself!

About the Photographer

Welcome! I’m Leah, and I capture stray photons and tell stories with my camera. I believe in kindness. I love quirky movies like Amelie, Delicatessen, & most everything Wes Anderson has ever put on the screen. I love exploring. Find out more about me….

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