Those of us who only take occasional pictures, like the ones of special events or of new babies, typically leave the camera on automatic or on it’s default settings, but if you were given the knowledge of how to work your DSLR manually to make cool photo effects for your photographs would you use it? Can you imagine what kinds of pictures you could take if you increased the length of time the shutter was open and you were photographing a moving cars’ tail lights, you would end up with long glowing red lines. Which you may have done before but this time you knew why it happened and that you did it on purpose just to see what it looks like. To make cool photo effects you dont need to have a really expensive DSLR one you can operate manually, which is an added bonus.
The ideas are more important than the equipment, if someone taught you something specific about your camera you would be able to apply that knowledge to any subject you liked. Like learning to paint with oils, you get the fundamentals down and you are only limited by your imagination. Getting back to the shutter speed, imagine this, put some coloured lights on a moving swing with the shutter speed open that would look very cool.
Another idea you can use, is to take a photo of an object and then use something like a flashlight to make a moving pattern, while the shutter is open. This is called light painting and is a very cool photo effect. The great thing about digital photography is, if you don’t like how the photo’s turned out you delete them, no harm no foul, and no expensive development fees.
Another thing that you can do with the manual settings on your camera is HDR photography, another cool photo effect. Using this technique enables you to show more detail in a photograph than is possible using only 1 shot of the image. Put your camera on a tripod and take 3 photo’s of the same space, at normal exposure, under exposed and over exposed to get the shadowed detail, and then you can use software to meld the images together creating a high dynamic range photograph with so much detail in the fore and back grounds and with definition that just pops.
3D images are another cool photo effect you can make with a DSLR camera. Use it to create perspective tricks, and even infra red techniques to make eye catching shots. Learning about your camera will amaze your family and friends so much they will wonder when you had time to take a professional photography course.
There are many photo artists who use these cool photo effects in their art and you can learn to do this as well.