“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
Ansel Adams – Commercial & Landscape Photographer

Photographers use a variety of techniques to create different effects in their photographs to elicit different responses from the viewer. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then a well-crafted photograph can call up a variety of emotions, memories, and sensations.

Photographic techniques include varying exposure times, lenses, filters as well as the source, direction and amount of light.


Filters are used to create special effects or enhance parts of the image. Though filter effects can now be done digitally, filters are still available to use on camera lenses.

  • Polarizing filters reduce reflections, which helps produce richer colours in the image.
  • Neutral density filters absorb light so the photographer can use a slower shutter speed (which also may be used to blur movement).

Light and Shadow

Natural light changes throughout the year – from cool blue tones in the winter to warm yellow tones in the summer. The light can change the viewer’s feeling of the texture of the photograph (soft vs. crisp, clear vs. blurred, etc.)

Light also changes depending on the time of day – and interesting effects can be created with shadows. Reducing the light available to the camera, or capturing light from within an object in a darkened space creates a different mood or ambience for familiar places.


“A picture is more than a picture – it is a feeling.”
Chris Bruun

A well-crafted photograph can take us to “a different place” metaphorically by making us consider something commonplace as something extraordinary, simply by making us see it differently. One of the techniques photographers use to do this includes varying the perspective.

Perspective can be a visual component – changing the location of the photographer vis-à-vis the object. It can also be created, more as social construct, by changing the importance and visibility of an ordinary or unmentionable object by making it the focus of a photograph.

With this kind of intent, a photographer can help us see more clearly or more compassionately those things that we see every day but do not really notice.


Ordinary vs Art

We can all see what the objects in the photographs are but perhaps we do not always see them in this way. Do you feel that ordinary things are transformed here? What does it make you feel?

West Edmonton Mall


These images were chosen by our exhibit team because they evoked feelings greater or different from what was expected when seeing the individual object. Do any of those create strong emotions in you?