So, you want to impress people on Instagram? You wanna get the likes up? Well, put down your iPhone and go hunting around in the cupboard for that digital SLR camera you purchased with great enthusiasm more than ten years ago now. It'll be a bit dusty but it will still work. It'll still be good enough for this.
It's all in the shutter
All those in-camera filters on your smartphone are great fun, but what you really want is the ability to change the shutter speed.
The shutter speed is the length of time the film or digital sensor inside the camera is exposed to light. It's usually measured in fractions of a second: 1/500 to capture a clear action shot, say; 1/125 or slower for static images. The shutter speed works in conjunction with aperture. How much light is let in through the lens and for how long — these are the basics of photography.
Your discarded, dusty old digital SLR will have a setting that opens the shutter not for a fraction of a second, but for 30 whole seconds. Find that setting!
Then go on eBay and buy yourself a tripod.
Then wait for the sun to go down and close the curtains in the living room.
Camera mounted on tripod, tick. Shutter speed set to 30 seconds, tick. The curtains drawn, tick. Press that red button! You'll hear a clicking sound of the shutter opening. This is your cue to jump around the room waving a two-dollar fairy light from Kmart. I mean, what else are you going to do during lockdown?
This is called light painting. The digital sensor, exposed to darkness for 30 seconds, will render a composite image of all the flashes of light it picks up. Now, you'll want to delete most of your 'paintings' to save drive space. But one in a hundred goes, you'll create a perfect mistake.
How many faces can you make out in this one...?
Don't own a two-dollar fairy light from Kmart? No problem, start by flicking a cigarette lighter on and off...
Could the real Pete please stand up?
To create the ultimate haunting selfie, like seeing four ghosts of yourself in the one photo, do the following. Hold the light at your waist (or elsewhere out of frame). Flash the light on your solemn face for a second. Hold that pose. Flick the light off and move to a new position. Repeat.
You can spend the whole night taking selfies or jumping around a dark room waving a fairy light about. You will spend the whole night jumping around a dark room waving a fairy light about... The possibilities are endless. Have fun and impress your Instagram followers!