Ordinary to Extraordinary Photography: Tips for Beginners

Cameras reveal and capture the world around us. From the point of view of a photographer, the only limitation to how they portray the world and turn ordinary to extraordinary photography is their own creativity. As a result, the person who’s looking at a photo can see the world revealed in ways they have not seen before.

There are a variety of ways in which ordinary, everyday subject matter - the ‘mundane’ - can be photographed and made to look anything but ‘ordinary’. Some of the most extraordinary photos are of everyday events or subjects. What makes them stand out is how the image has been captured.

Everyone Sees the World Differently

how to make ordinary to extraordinary photography

When taking photographs, don’t rely purely on the technology of the apparatus in your hands. The best DSLR camera can take a beautiful picture and do so quite easily - that is, after all, the whole basic purpose behind it. However, it is the creativity of the individual capturing the images that allows producing creative photography with a unique style. Depicting a subject in a manner that we are not commonly accustomed to requires the usage of your own personal perspective - not just that of your camera.

We don’t all see things in the same way or pick up on the same details. If you were to give the same camera to two different people and ask them to take one photo each of a busy street, it’s a fairly safe bet that the two resulting photos won’t be focused on the same things.

Ordinary Subjects - Seen Differently

So, before even getting to any of the compositional elements required to take an extraordinary picture of an ordinary subject, remember that the first ingredient to accomplish this goal is you, the photographer.

Now, we will look at some simple photography methods and techniques that will help you take extraordinary images of very ordinary things, and create neon photography, mirrored shots, etc. There are three key elements to consider when looking to take an extraordinary photo of something from everyday life:

  • Composition
  • Lighting
  • Tone

These elements will all contribute to the aesthetics of the final image, all doing their part in taking a photo beyond the ordinary.


follow the composition to make extraordinary photos

Composition is the foundation of any eye-catching photo. Proper placing of any objects, people, or structures within the shot will go a long way to dictating how engaging a photo will be to look at. This is where ‘leading lines’ can come into play. They are predominantly used to draw the viewer into a picture. By doing this, the eyes are drawn by the leading lines to the central subject that is the focal point of the photo.

Picture an old photo of a cobbled street with a boy walking down it, towards the camera. The boy doesn’t need to be in the center of the pic. If the edges of the street - the lines - make their way toward him, the viewer's eyes will follow. Even if the boy is at the side of the image and not the center, the leading lines reinforce the fact that the boy is the subject of the image.


follow the lighting to make extraordinary photos

The lighting of a photo can be the ingredient that makes or breaks it - and it can be one of the harder elements to decide upon. Go too bright or too dark – and the image will be spoiled. To make sure your ordinary subject matter seems extraordinary, give some thought to how you want the picture to be lit.

Say, for example, you wanted to get an interesting photo of an old metal lighter from the 1960s or 1970s. Just snapping it from the side, with that same side facing the light source won’t make for a particularly unique photo, but it will show the lighter off clearly. Take the picture from a different angle and perhaps zoomed in, with light coming from below and suddenly you have a picture of the same object but with a very different feel and mood to it. Give thought to the best light direction for your picture and how it can be used to show your subject differently to ensure you create extraordinary portrait, landscape, and urban photography.


follow the tone to make extraordinary photos

Whether black and white or in color, the tone of the picture is also very important. If a picture is dark overall but has small details in blue and yellow, just how blue and yellow do you want them to be? If going for a black and white shot, then shadows, highlights, and contrast levels will all play a huge part in the overall mood and feel of the shot and be a major contributing factor as to whether the finished image is extraordinary or not. You can also get acquainted with these shadow photography tips that will help you avoid the mistakes usually made by beginner photographers who play around with shadows.

Take a Different Approach

take a different approach to make extraordinary photos

To make an ordinary subject look extraordinary, you can’t just approach a photo shoot the same way as you would normally and expect a different result. Whatever your subject may be, try taking the photo from an angle you would never usually use, or one from which the subject is not normally seen, you can even consider buying the best drone the market can offer to create unique drone wedding photography and surprise your clients with the results.

One good trick for this is to place the subject of choice on a glass coffee table (for example) and take the photo from underneath. Doing so allows you to capture the subject in ways that fall outside the norm. Unexpected takes on familiar things can prove to be captivating to viewers.

Natural and Artificial Light

use natural or artificial light to make extraordinary photos

Natural light can be used in different ways. We’ve all seen photos of dark rooms with beams of sunlight shining in through windows. Shoot at sunset and sunrise - without including the actual sun in the image - to light your photo in a way that offers unexpected results. A flashlight can also be used to backlight your pictures. Doing so can provide some interesting shapes, shadows, and silhouettes. You can even use sparks as a light source and create mesmerizing steel wool photography by setting long exposure times.

Artificial light can be played around with too. Say, perhaps, you have an old colored glass ornament on your mantlepiece. At night, in the dark, shine a flashlight on it and take photos. This will show it off in unusual ways. An unfamiliar way of looking at something familiar makes for a very intriguing image. Whatever the subject may be, this simple method can add mystery and nuance to the subject of the image.


follow abstraction to make extraordinary photos

If you would like to be even more creative, then you can try the abstract approach. Abstract compositions don’t try to offer a clear depiction of a subject. Instead, the emphasis is on shapes, lines, and tones. Zooming in on supposedly ‘mundane’ everyday objects can yield some fascinating results. The use of a macro lens can make this even better if you want more detail. That said, a motion-blurred close-up shot taken with a regular point-and-shoot camera can also- drastically alter the mood and feel of an everyday scene or object.

If you are wondering what everyday things you could possibly take pictures of to make them appear more interesting, just have a look at your surroundings. Go from room to room in your house or apartment. The possibilities are everywhere. Moreover, at home, you are free to move things around and put any subjects you like alongside each other and photograph them from any position you want.

You can try taking unusual pictures of things like:

  • Pens and other desk objects
  • Window ornaments
  • Kitchen supplies
  • Bathroom paraphernalia
  • Clothing
  • House plants

Essentially, anything and everything is up for grabs when it comes to finding something unique within the ordinariness of the everyday.

The World Through Your Eyes - and Your Camera

The things that catch your eye and have visual appeal to you personally may not even register in the eyes and minds of others. Taking unusual pictures of everyday life and its ordinary objects and scenes can be a great way to show your unique vision of the world. A good way to achieve the goal of taking an extraordinary image faster is to take mental pictures and devise compositions when you don’t even have your camera with you. Look around, take mental pictures of ‘boring’ objects and everyday occurrences, and mold them in your mind to see how you can turn said image into a fascinating photograph.

perform professional color correction to get extraordinary photos

The final touches can be applied during editing, using photo editing software. The market is full of suitable tools for this task, as most app stores are a Pandora's Box of editing applications for phones and desktop PCs alike. Even the most basic apps supply enough filters and editing capabilities to completely change the look, feel, and mood of a photo. From giving images a retro video camera look to glitch effects, the possibilities today are infinite.

Interesting and engaging original images are more popular now than ever. If you enjoy creative photography, why not make your hobby your job as well via the formation of an LLC (limited liability company). By getting into the professional photography industry, you can get paid for doing what you love best. LLCs are simple to form and one of the most popular business structures available while representing the ideal business entity for photographic entrepreneurs.

To Conclude

Digital cameras of all types come with auto-focus and a host of other default settings. Override them all. Focus manually and make any other necessary adjustments - aperture, shutter speed, and so on - yourself. Learn your camera and then take control of it and your photography. By combining these things and then adding them to your own creativity, you will soon master the art of taking extraordinary photos of ordinary things.

Author bio:

Roy Emmerson is a Media Relations Coordinator at TechTimes and a content-strategist for Market Business News. He started several companies and failed, and then learned from his mistakes to launch several successful and very profitable projects. Roy is focused on making a difference with the content he develops and curates.

Tata Rossi

Hi there, I'm Tata Rossi - a professional blogger, read more