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Creative Photography Ideas

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Creative Photography With a Mannequin Head

Creative Photography

As a photographer, what do you do if you want to practice different lighting techniques and different portrait photography ideas, but do not have a subject to photograph? There are times late at night when I want to practice shooting, but because it is late, there is no one available for me to practice my techniques on. It can be difficult to wait on someone else to become available for you to shoot. However, there is a solution to this problem which will allow photographers to always have a subject available to practice shooting on, and that solution is a mannequin head!

I believe it is important for photographers to keep learning and practicing their craft. When I am not shooting portraits for clients, I am practicing taking photographs using a mannequin head which I own in my studio. This is a piece of necessary equipment which I believe all photographers should own! I am constantly practicing shooting from a different angle, and with different lighting, colors, lenses, and modifiers. I use the mannequin head as my subject during these practice shoots. Your creative photography ideas can come to fruition with dedication and practice. There is so much creative photography that can be achieved, and the possibilities really are endless! The ability to express my creativity is one of the things I love most about photography.

Some of the advantages of a mannequin head are as follows:

1) Always Available

There will never be a time where your mannequin head will not be available to shoot! Any time of day or night, you will be able to practice any lighting technique you desire! This is such a great benefit because it allows you to not be fully dependent on other’s schedules.

2) Portability

A mannequin head is small enough to easily travel around with. If you need to take it to another studio location, or to an outdoor location, it is a very easy piece of equipment to carry around with you. You can find mannequin heads around 20” in height.

3) You Can Take Your Time Adjusting Lighting

Some photographers may feel the need to rush when moving lighting equipment around when they have an actual client in studio. This worry is eliminated while practicing with a mannequin head. You can take your time adjusting lighting and make sure that you get your desired effect. Once you have a better understanding of where your lights need to be in order to achieve a certain lighting effect (such as Rembrandt or Loop lighting), then it will be much easier to adjust your lights when you have an actual client in your studio.

With proper practice using a mannequin head, you will be able to become more creative with your lighting techniques, as well as more efficient during your studio sessions with actual clients.

I recently did some creative photography test shots on my mannequin head using different colors. Check out the images that I created! I really do love getting creative with my photography and realizing my creative photography ideas! I may even create a YouTube video one day of me practicing with the mannequin head!

Long Exposure

Creative Photography

A wide angle lens can be used to make creative photography images and show off your photography skills. Setting up your camera on a tripod in front of a waterfall or body of water can can lead to cool photo ideas. The wide angle lens will allow you to capture more of the surrounding environment. Some creative photography techniques used by professional photographers involve a camera's shutter speed.

Slowing down the shutter speed will allow you to create motion blur. This motion blur caused by a long exposure can create a silky appearance to water. There are filters available such as ND and other filters. The ND filter is important when trying to create a silky water image. On a sunny day, a long exposure will cause an overexposed photo, so an ND filter is a must in order to lower the amount of light entering the lens and get the proper exposure. Also, a slower shutter speed can be used to create light trails of vehicles driving on roads.

Bokeh Effect

Creative Photography

Many creative photos are created using a blurred out background. If there are lights in the background, such as neon lights or Christmas lights, using a large aperture can create a blurry bokeh effect. Using the wrong lens can cause a less than desired result. For example, using a lens which is wide angle and has a smaller max aperture (larger f-number) will create less of a bokeh effect.

Double Exposure

Creative Photography

Double exposure is a creative photography technique in which two different exposures are layered on a single image, combining two pictures into one image. The image on top is less than full opacity such that both images can be seen, producing almost ghostlike double exposure images.

Strong Shadows

Creative Photography

Some other cool photo ideas involve casting strong shadows across a subject's face by using a remote controlled flash and a flag (a black object to block the light). Shadows with different shapes and different angles can be created across a subject face by adjusting the placement of the flag in front of the remote controlled flash. Photographers love this shadow play technique.

Macro Lens

Creative Photography

A macro lens can be used to capture detail in extreme close up images of small objects, such as flower petals. Macro lenses allow you to focus at a closer distance than other types of lenses. Many cool photography ideas can be created using this type of lens. Photographers often use this lens to photograph the details during a wedding, such as the bride's earring and dress. This is a big part of a photographer's visual storytelling during a wedding.

Different Lenses and Angles

The same scene can look very different if shot with different lenses and different/unusual angles. Perspective, compression, and background blur all change when the focal length of a lens changes. Play around with the creative photography ideas which you have in order to make a single scene look different and unique.


I hope everyone is able to take the information I have provided here and use it to realize creative photography ideas!

If you would like to schedule a studio session with me and achieve these same colorful looks, please feel free to contact me at!

Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram and YouTube!

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