Photography tips

Achieve more natural lighting with bounce flash

It's an old technique but a great one. Instead of pointing the flash directly at your subject, you turn it to 'bounce' it off a nearby wall, ceiling or other reflective surface. This is why more advanced speedlights have tilt and swivel heads.

Create Gobo lighting effects

It's a classic cinema technique, using gobos (something that 'goes between' the light and the subject) to create the lighting pattern of window frames or Venetian blinds, for example, and you can use the same technique for portrait photography too.

Get a new angle with a worm's eye view

This can be a great way of capturing unique perspectives on the world of nature, with close-ups captured right down at ground level and looking up, as if each plant is a giant tree reaching up into the sky. All you need is a macro les and camera with a tilting screen.

Create light orbs with a flashlight

We've all seen those amazing light 'orbs' suspended in mid-air in pictures taken at night, and they look impossibly intricate to create – but they're not. You just need to swing a flashlight round in a circle by hand, or on the end of a string, and slowly move your body through 360 degrees. If you keep moving, the camera won't see you, only the light trail.

How to create a classic ring heart shadow on a book

It's in every wedding photographer's portfolio, but how is it done? How do you get a heart shape from a circular ring? It's because of the v-shaped fold in the spine of an open book and how it distorts the circular shadow... and how you light it, too. Clever, eh?

Get the most from a fisheye lens

Get low and get close! You can really exaggerate the fisheye effect by getting really close to your main subject – often until you're almost touching – this makes your subject look huge against a tiny distant background.

SHow to create sunbursts and starbursts

Use a wide-angle lens and a small aperture to create the 'star' effect from the sun, or any naked light source at night. Positioning is crucial, and moving just a couple of inches can make the sun peep out just enough from behind a tree or a building.

DIY photography hack: stabilise ANY camera!

This cheeky hack really works! Screw a D-type screw from your tripod release plate into the base of your camera, hook one end of a short bungee cord into the loop, and the other end into your waistband. The tension in the bungee cord as you put the camera to your eye will stabilise your camera.

Mobile lighting... with your mobile!

You can use your smartphone torch for light painting in darkness, and you can use your iPad's screen as a makeshift softbox for lighting portraits or still lives. There's not much power, so you'll need a tripod or a high ISO, but the lighting effects can be beautiful.

DIY softbox: how to build your own lighting modifier

You can make your own softbox, with a cardboard box, a pair of scissors and some foil. It won't look as slick as a professional softbox, but light is light, and your pictures will still look great.