Photography is one of the best ways to express ones creative vision. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a better way to tell a story than through pictures. With most camera models today there’s a huge variety of creative and fun features that come bundled with them either as an in built feature or through the use of other standalone software that can personalize your pictures and videos.
I’m going to touch upon some of these features. You will find most of these features I’ll mention on Nikon cameras but other brands such as Canon will have definitely have something similar, so these tips can apply to any brand, the software will just be different. Whether you use a DSLR model or even Coolpix models there is definitely a feature for you.
Nikon’s Motion Snapshots feature.
One of the coolest features from is the Motion Snapshot mode; these are typically found in Nikon 1 J1 and V1 interchangeable lens digital cameras. This unique software captures your memories in a very different kind of way. How different you ask? Well what it does is that it puts just one second of video and a still image together. In addition to all of this, you can choose themed music for playback in the camera, and you can then save the files to your computer or laptop.
You’re probably asking where the benefit in this is, well I’ll tell you. How this works is that video is recorded by your camera immediately before and after your picture is taken. To put these files together you would use the Nikon View NX2 software. This software will then assemble your video and picture into a “motion” snapshot. Some popular uses motion snapshots is for social media uploads especially Facebook or you can post directly to your website or blog.
Nikon’s Slow-Motion and Time-Lapse features.
On certain models of Nikon’s DSLR and Coolpix cameras is what’s called a slow motion feature. This feature helps you to capture videos in slow motion and also playback in slow motion. I’m sure you have seen the Olympics where an athlete is captured crossing over the finishing line in slow motion? This is exactly the same. When you want to capture video just like they do in Bollywood or Hollywood, the slow motion feature creates that exact kind of look for you.
Quite a few Nikon DSLRs also have the ability to shoot in timed intervals. What you would do is assemble your images together to create a time-lapsed video. For the photographers who have an interest in astrology, time lapsed videos are useful to showcase activity in the sky such as movement in stars. For other photographers it might be showing the sun moving across the sky from dawn until dusk. The possibilities here are endless. If you’re not sure how time lapsed videos work, you can check your camera manual.
Nikon’s Picture Controls features.
Picture Controls are a great way to alter the way your camera perceives and understands color. I’m sure you’re familiar with the standard vivid, monochrome, neutral, standard portrait and landscapes modes. With these particular settings you can change them as often as you like. You can change the settings for a group of pictures together or change it everytime for each unique picture. Picture controls work for both still images and HD video/D-movies.
To give you some ideas of what you can do, you can for example; use the super saturated settings when photographing flowers or in some cases a macros shot of a close up object. When you want to capture a portrait I’d recommend the standard or neutral setting and monochrome can really bring that ‘vintage’ look to any picture. Picture controls are always found in the picture control menu. With the picture control settings you can make further adjustments to contrast, brightness, saturation and sharpen features. You’re also able to create a custom preset if you wish to.
Nikon’s Special Effects features
It’s never been easier to add special effects to your photography and HD videos with certain Nikon camera models. Some of the effect modes most commonly found is the fisheye, miniature and selective color modes. These allow you to create a unique look for every individual picture you have on your camera. These special effects are accessible when your shooting still photos and HD video, these are visible to you in real time, giving you the opportunity to see how your images and videos will turn out. Based on what you can see you can adjust to whatever level you wish. Gone are the days where you need really complicated software just to create some flair.
Just when you thought that’s all the special effect features that a Nikon camera could have, you’d be surprised, there’s more! In Nikon camera you will find what’s called “Effects mode.” To get to the Effects mode, you just simply scroll through the array of different effects available for you to choose from that you think is right for the subject at hand. Some of the effects available to choose are the Selective color, color sketch, High and Low Keys, Night vision and my personal favorite the Miniature effect. To find these effects they can be found in the retouch menu option and in some models the effects are available in real time before you even take the picture. Here are some of the things you can do with these features.
- Create pictures and video in the look of a scale model using miniature effect.
- Turn images or D movies into monochrome using selective colors.
- Create a sketched version of your picture as if you had drawn it using the color sketch feature.
- Create a series of stills in playback mode using D Movies.
By using these creative effects you create the ability to create stunning HD and D movies and photos. The selective color and miniature effects are some of the most popular effects in use today. Another hot trend that’s definitely worth a mention is HDR photography. Now there’s no need to be spending extra money on specialist software or your precious time to create these pictures. The Nikon D5100 for example does the work for you. All you have to do is choose the EV range you would like in your images and select your smoothing preferences.
There really aren’t many things you cannot do with a Nikon camera. The features are ongoing and the possibilities are endless, and I’ve only touched upon a few. As time goes by you will see the larger brands bringing newer and more advanced features that will be just blow your mind. It really is amazing what a camera can do these days. With so many of these features using them is just effortless. At the same time there is no end to the stimulation in your photography creativity and above all saves so much time. You can’t get better than that!
How about you? What effects do you use in your photography? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment below.