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Creative Shooting and Using Summer's Long Days to Find your Muse

Summer sun shining through the slats of a garden chair
Do you ever experience a creative shooting version of Writer's Block? Sometimes it's hard to find inspiration when you're a creative artist. What do I shoot next? How can I make my next shot different? This week marks the first week of summer - let the Summer Sun be your inspiration!
 
From forced perspective to timelapse shots, these long summer days give you the best chance to get your creative shooting techniques polished. Here are five tips to help you get inventive, try new ideas and find your muse.
 
1.
Shot of a giant woman holding three tiny men in the palm of her hand
Play with Perspective:
 Kids love these creative shooting techniques and they make you think about your shots. Placing a couple people in the distance and another person closer to the camera makes them appear to be very different sizes. Have the person in the foreground hold out her hand, as I'm doing in the image to the left, and angle your shot to show the farther subjects sitting in her hand. Done right, this can give the illusion of a powerful person or giant. To sell the stunt, make sure your "tiny people" react correctly by looking up, cringing, or otherwise being awed by the giant. You need to shoot with a deep depth of field that allows both distant and close subjects to be in focus. I am the Queen of all the Videomaker editorial staff - hahahaha!
 
2. Try a New Angle: If you're always shooting from eye level, get a different perspective for your creative shooting ideas - get down... w-a-a-y down... worm's-eye-view low! What does your cat see as it meanders through your backyard? Follow the iridescent slimy path of a garden snail... Experiment with a s-l-o-w timelapse shot of that snail moving across the sidewalk. Shoot through some ground plants up at the sky for a view that you might not always see. Go ahead, get dirty!
 
small child with a big DSLR camera
3. Teach a Child: 
Nothing hones your creative shooting techniques better then when you're teaching someone else your tricks. Explain the meaning of the Summer Solstice to a child - the longest days versus the shortest, through video examples using various size balls for the Sun and Earth. While you're at it - spend a few moments explaining the Rule of Thirds to the child by drawing a tic-tac-toe on a white board. Then hand that child your camera and see what he or she creates.
Montage of various Divine Proportion subjects in nature - plants, seashells, lizard tail
Since you're outside, show them the meaning of the Divine Proportion and Golden Rule of Composition - how it's all related in nature through the flowers, plants and even that lowly garden snail's shell.
 
4. Celebrate the Sun: It's Summer, right? Play with the sun. Close your iris a bit, point your lens right into the sun, and turn yourself in a circle... try not to get dizzy, of course. In the olden days of analog cameras, you wouldn't dare point your lens at the sun for too long for fear of damaging one of the color guns within the camera; not a worry with today's cameras. This spinning creative shooting shot is a very pretty way to celebrate the sun - sparkles flash across your lens and fade out as you spin. Try it with a soft focus, see if it makes a difference in the aesthetics of the shot. Hint: Make sure your lens is very clean - spots are magnified with this kind of shot! Here's another chance for a fun timelapse scene: watch the sun race across the sky from sun-up to sun-down. Patience, Grasshopper!
 
Full moon shot through grassy plants
5. Get Creative with the Moon:
The Summer Solstice means staying up late and summer nights are the best - and there's no better week to shoot all day than the longest sunlight days of the year! From sun-up to sun-down there's so many angles and subjects in nature to exercise your creative eye. We're equally lucky this week because we have a full moon for a few days to play with, too. Experiment with some Golden Hour shots, or slo-mo day-to-night scenes. Watch the stars come out by experimenting with stop motion and timelapse shots of the moon. Every evening this week can be a different type of timelapse opportunity.
 
Are you seeing a theme developing here? Get out - get your creative shooting hat on, experiment and enjoy the Summer; it only comes 'round once a year!
 
 
Jennifer
O'Rourke
June 21st, 2013