The majority of people who only take occasional photographs like the ones of family events, tend to leave their Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras on the default or automatic settings. If someone taught you how to use the manual settings to make cool photo effects would you then use the manual settings? If you left the shutter of your camera open for longer than normal and you were taking a picture of a moving cars’ tail lights, the picture you would end up with would have long red streaks of light. 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. Here is a major bonus, you don’t need a really expensive DSLR to make cool photo effects only one you can operate manually.
Having the imagination is of more benefit then having the best gear, as long as it’s a DSLR camera you’re good. Once someone shows you a certain thing on your camera you will be able to apply that knowledge to any photographs you take. Like with any skill once you get the fundamentals down pat, your imagination is your only limitation. Going back to the shutter speed, picture this, a moving swing with coloured lights and a shutter open longer than normal, I think that would look really awesome.
Or taking a picture of an object and then while the shutter is open you move a light, (like a flashlight) in a pattern, photographing the light trails, it’s called light painting, now that is a cool photo effect. Going with digital photography has the added benefit of not having expensive processing fees, so if you aren’t happy with something you delete it.
Another thing that you can do with the manual settings on your camera is HDR photography, another cool photo effect. You would use this technique to gain more detail than is possible with only one photo. 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.
You can use your camera to make cool photo effects such as 3D images. Your camera is capable of creating perspective illusions and even infra red to change the colour of typical photos making them look surreal. Your friends and family will be totally amazed and will want to know when you had the 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.