As photographers the most important thing we learn is how to perfect every element of a photograph. We learn to meticulously scan our surroundings in search of the perfect light, the perfect framing, the perfect composition, and of course the perfect subject matter. We learn to discard anything that doesn’t make the cut. We learn to twist and bend the truth until we’ve created a bright and beautiful little world, completely void of any flaws. Often times perfect and beautiful is what people want to see most of all.

Of course real life is completely imperfect, with cracks and dents, chips and scuffs, blemishes and flaws. Real life is not a perfectly symmetrical flower, or a shiny new fence, or a landscape lacking power lines. Real life is messy, dusty, and sometimes even ugly. As photographers it is our job to hide the blemishes, but as artists it is our duty to seek them out and expose them in a beautiful new way.

Usually when I shoot, I do so with a photographer’s eye, I want the best, most beautiful photograph possible. Sometimes though, I get sick of seeking technical perfection and occasionally I like to switch off and explore different methods of shooting.

Here are some of my favorites:

Through the Viewfinder (TtV) photography is one of the methods I use more than any other because it allows me embrace the dust and wonky focus that would otherwise drive me mad. I’m sure there are filters and whatnot that could give a similar look but trust me, nothing is more fun than the real thing.




Free-lensing is another fun, but dangerous method of shooting, which requires you to remove your lens and tilt it to find a slice of focus. Its an inexpensive alternative to buying an expensive tilt-shift lens…but you have to be very aware of any dust that might get on your sensor!




Of course if you are too smart to try free-lensing there is always the Lensbaby.



Another thing I have been playing with is shooting through a rainbow diffraction prism, which usually comes in the form of party glasses.



And finally long exposure photography….with a creative and abstract twist.



These are just a few methods which enable me to forgive mistakes, embrace the imperfect, and shoot in a more carefree manner.

What are some of your favorite methods for shooting?