African landscape with mysterious ball
Lens-Artists,  Photographic techniques,  Themed galleries

Gallery: it’s tricky!

Tricks and treachery are the practice of fools, that don’t have brains enough to be honest

Benjamin Franklin

If tricks are the practice of fools, where does that leave trick photography? The genre is nearly as old as photography itself. Early photographers developed the techniques to create double exposures, to mimic the appearance of ghosts in their shots or to use distorting mirrors. Their critics claimed that ‘truth’ was one of the prime qualities of photography (‘the camera never lies’) and decried such tricks. But were those early experimenters really so foolish or so treacherous? Or did they pave the way for today’s explosion of in-camera and post-editing trickery?

I do very little of the former, preferring to capture scenes as they are, especially for my travel photography. However I do enjoy some fun post-editing, often using some of the more creative apps that are available these days. I shared some of my surreal creations last summer, for a previous Lens Artists challenge (Creating the surreal in post-production). And I created some spooky edits for Terri’s Sunday Stills challenge for Halloween in 2021, Creating an eerie unreality. Not to mention some much earlier posts on a similar topic!

For this week’s challenge set by Donna, It’s tricky, I decided to create some brand new ‘trick’ images as well as pull a few more out of my archives. I hope you enjoy the results.

Technical note

Some of these shots were created a while ago using an app called Enlight by Photofox. It was a real favourite of mine but unfortunately wasn’t available for Android, so since I switched from iPad to Samsung I turned to alternatives. All of them are fine but none of them combines all the tricks I learned with Enlight. Since then Photofox has been taken over by Lightricks, and their apps, while now available across all platforms, don’t quite match up to the old Enlight. If anyone has recommendations for great Android apps for trick editing, other than those I mention below, please leave me a comment and I’ll try them out too!

Trees appearing to burst out of phone

With Enlight I created this image in which trees in a Kerala tea plantation appear to be bursting out of my phone!

Scene in cinema with birds flying out of the screen

Enlight also enabled me to create a scene in a cinema with birds flying out of the screen. The source image, on screen, is also from our Kerala trip.

Head and shoulders portrait with night sky superimposed on Afro hair

Another Enlight edit, of a edit of girl from a carnival in Cape Verde with the universe in her hair!

Road with chocolate apparently being poured over it from a spoon

My final Enlight example from my archives is of a road in the Torres del Paine with chocolate apparently being poured over it from a spoon!

Road with motorbike and oversized elephants

Here’s one of the images I created especially for this challenge. It’s a double exposure of a road in Colombia and African elephants in Botswana, created with the Lumii app.

Desert sand dunes, large statue and Aurora sky

Another Lumii creation, a double exposure of the Empty Quarter in Oman and Shiva statue near Pokhara. I also added a touch of the aurora, one of the app’s backgrounds.

Man appearing to walk into pool of hippos

This double exposure was created with another app, Toolwiz. I blended a man on a Colombian beach with a pool of hippos in Botswana!

I used Lumii to add a dramatic moon rise to this shot of the Eiffel Tower from the Montparnasse Tower in Paris. The colour was added later in Photoshop.

Eiffel Tower with night sky and huge moon

Flower and butterfly as if painted on a brick wall

This is a straightforward shot of a butterfly on bougainvillea in Colombia, but thanks to Toolwiz it appears to be a piece of street art!

White marble domed building reflected in inverted sphere

I didn’t take my lens ball to the Taj Mahal but using the Mirror Lab app I can trick you into thinking that I did! I added the blur later using a vignette filter in Color Efex Pro.

And now for something a little different. I created this little video using an app called Motionleap by Lightricks. It enables you to turn still images into videos, another cool trick! It works particularly well with water. You can also add skies with moving clouds, and additional elements like the birds in this one, based on a still taken in Halong Bay.


Do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you! And please include your name in case WP marks you 'anonymous' - thank you