Imperfect Photography: A Blurred Photo - Isn’t A Bad Photo

Black and white photo of a man in a coat

In the last couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of imperfect photography. I have also seen a lot of blurred, underexposed or overexposed photos and so on. Endlessly I’m continuing shaping my photographic style and I realised that the most important for me is to show the mood, and tell the story but not to create a correct and perfectly lit photograph. I noticed that some of the most famous Asian photographers are having the same aim. Unlike western photography, the Asian style is more about feelings and moods and less about a perfect picture. It’s similar to impressionism when paintings valued the mood more than photographic quality and realism.

Try to choose photos with the most interesting content even if they are blurred.

Blurred photograph of two running horses
I've seen horses quickly passing by and took a picture last moment.

Of course, when doing photography for a specific client you need to achieve some certain quality and sometimes there are a lot of restrictions. For a while, because of working with these clients unfortunately I paid too much attention to the noise or sharpness of the photographs more than to what is depicted in them. It took me almost over a year to reteach myself to choose the photographs with the most interesting subject and scene and not the best quality images.

Intentionally Imperfect photography

Foggy photo of a woman in Red Coat by Fedor Vasilev

Imperfect photography can be even special because of its flaws. Sometimes photographers blur the photographs to add movement or unclearness to the image. Sometimes I do that too. In order to show a chaotic atmosphere, you might even want to keep the picture distracting. If you create fine art photography, the most important for you is to show the main idea of the art piece using any means you have. All of that doesn’t mean that you can forget about compositional rules or lighting. But you need to remember that your aim is to show an atmosphere. If the atmosphere is misty and unclear, so should be your photograph.

Check out Paolo Roversi photographs I really love his works and most of them are intentionally imperfect and because of that are quite unique

The ways to add flow and movement blurring your photos.

I don’t want to discuss the cliched techniques when you do everything according to the tutorial and get an overused blur effect. For example when you blur everything but the subject in the middle.

Instead, I want you to put your own creative vision in force and use that whenever needed and as you like. You can use reflective surfaces, distorted glass, long exposure or anything you can find to get the desired result.

Blurred photos can be either abstract or have some distinctive objects.

Abstract Blurred Photo

Abstract photograph with a young woman going late for a meeting

You can create abstract photographs by simply choosing different colours and setting your camera to shutter speed longer than about 1/20 of a second. Then turn or move your camera when taking the photograph to get different spots of colours. These works can be independent or as an addition to another photograph in a diptych or triptych…

Subject-Based Distorted Photo

Portrait of a Musician with a Flute

To keep some objects sharp and at least have some information on the photographs except shapes and colours you can add some light sources.

The most commonly used technique is Freezelight (if you type “freezelight” in google, you will see the worst examples of it) Basically the idea is to use a flash and long exposure.

Using a flashlight you can “freeze” some of the light on a photograph reflected from your subject. You can do light painting too(when someone draws with a lantern), but personally, I’ve never seen any good works in this genre.

Another way is to basically use a quite long shutter speed and any sorts of movements (turn your camera, move it or zoom in or out etc...

Some more imperfect photography

Portrait of a young woman with dandelions

Couple hugging on black background

Man looking through bright light

Portrait of a woman in conceptual dress

Man quickly walking in black outfit on a street

If the picture is blurred it doesn’t mean you lost it

Sometimes you look at the photograph you thought will be a masterpiece and then you notice that it’s strongly underexposed or it’s quite badly blurred. Do not abandon that photograph. If your clients won't understand your imperfect photography - save it for yourself. I’ve seen lots of sharp clear and boring images but very little of interesting ones.

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