2021 WEEK 12: Intentionally Blurry

While as photographers we mostly aim for sharpness in our photography (as beginners we struggle with it), it is also a creative choice. There are blurry or completely out-of-focus photos that work really well. Why and how is the question. It needs a little bit of thinking, experimenting and practice to create them.

There are many techniques you can use: intentional camera movement (ICM), long exposure times, zooming, manual focus, filters, condensation on the lens, vaseline, special lenses (e.g. Lensbaby), pinhole photography… The list can be endless. Some techniques are further explained in the links below as are some examples to give you a starting point for your own ideas.

While I think the most fun is shooting the image already blurry you can also create the effect by editing your pictures in that way. That’s completely up to you.

The most important rule to follow for your final entry is: Please take a photo that is at least 90% out of focus but captures interest because it was planned and taken with purpose.

Budapest by Ulrike Lukasczyk

What are the important elements that make blurry photos work?

You might find them yourself if you take the time to analyse the example photos from the Pinterest Moodboad below.

The style can vary from completely abstract to just a bit out-of-focus creating just a bit of mystery.

Some elements I especially like are: color contrasts, lines, light effects and for portraits the pose and contrast.

The general rules of composition like the rule of thirds and leading lines also help to capture the viewer’s interest.

Examples and ideas:

There are so many different kinds of photos that work well in blurry. Here are some from my archive:

Autumn Lake inspired by Monet by Ulrike Lukasczyk
Buying Ice-Cream by Ulrike Lukasczyk
Dancing into Dusk by Ulrike Lukasczyk
Paddling Pool (ICM) by Ulrike Lukasczyk

Check out this mood board on Pinterest:

The Digital Photography School

is a great source for technical but also creative articles about all kinds of photography. Here is an overview about many techniques that can be used this week.

An introduction of three different blurry photos and why they work (YouTube)

Challenge summary:

  • Take or edit a new out-of-focus photo. 
  • Check out what elements of general composition work for you and experiment with the technique of your choice.
  • SOOC (straight out of camera) or edited post your photo during the week of Sunday, March 21 and Saturday, March 27.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2021photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2021 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About Ulrike Lukasczyk

While photography always fascinated me I seriously started learning techniques and composition only back in 2016. One of my first sources of learning material and feedback was this group: The Trevor Carpenter PhotoChallenge. Being insatiably curious I dived into all kinds of subjects and techniques until I finally dared to photograph people. That really is what excites me most about photography: capturing real people at the right moment, their personalities, their stories and even their dreams. This is contrasting quite nicely with my day-to-day business. I’ve got an engineering degree in biotechnology and work full time as a scientist in research. At least my husband and two kids also like my photography hobby and encourage me to pursue it, modeling for me or discussing my ideas. We live in a village near Darmstadt in Germany. We like traveling with our Unimog camper (www.derullimog.de) and I also enjoy horseback riding and Yoga. Now I’m very happy and excited to join the admin team of this group and give something back to the community: challenge ideas, encouragement and photography tips. My photos can be found via the search function in the Trevor Carpenter PhotoChallenge group on Facebook, on Instagram at www.instagram.com/mindseyes_ul/ or my portfolio site: https://ulliluke.myportfolio.com.

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