• Charley Magazine

3 Easy Photography Hacks For Your Next Photo Shoot

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

By Amy Chatterjee

The picture of flamboyant oranges and yellows ebb into a cool blue sky, as calmly flowing waves melt into the horizon line, making you wish you were there at that beach sunset enjoying the peaceful ambiance. Or, perhaps you’re looking at a more mysterious portrait, with a dark and hollow background and a hazy fog floating across the screen. Either way, you’ve been inspired to try and create a photograph that is just as eye-catching. But, amateur or not, all photographers know that proper photography gear can be essential to create an engaging and distinctive photo. At the same time, photography gear gets expensive fast. So, to help reduce a couple of thousand dollars of spending, here is a list of trusty homemade gear you can make, that works just like professional equipment does.

1. From telephoto lenses, macro lenses, to wide-angle lenses and more, each lens has its own use but also tends to cost a lot on its own. A soft-focus lens has a tear-inducing price tag, but if you are still looking for that dreamy and soft look, use this simple vaseline hack instead.

Start by taking your camera and tightly wrapping your camera lens with saran wrap. Use a rubber band to secure the saran wrap to your camera. Then, take a small amount of vaseline and smear it onto the outer edges of the lens, following the circular shape of your lens. You can add more if you please and you can also smear inwards towards the center if you like. The part with the vaseline will provide that soft, dreamy look, while the center without it will still be sharp, so you still maintain a focused main subject in your composition.

2. Another lens filter you can create is a bokeh filter out of construction paper. Normally, professional lenses with noticeable bokeh cost anywhere from $60-$600, but for this homemade bokeh, all you need is some black construction paper, scissors/hole puncher/X-Acto knife, and tape.

The first step is to measure the diameter of your camera lens and draw a circle with the same measurements in the middle of your black construction paper. Then, use a pair of scissors, a hole puncher, or an X-Acto knife to cut out the shape of the bokeh you want from inside the circle you just drew. You can cut out a circle, square, or anything that you want, but it has to be at least half a centimeter wide. Note: Do not cut out the whole circle that has the diameter of your camera lens. After you have your shape hole-punched or cut out, place the black paper on your camera lens with the drawn circle on top of the lens. Fold the rest of the paper around the sides of your lens to create a fake lens hood. You may cut away any extra construction paper length and tape the lens hood to your camera. The last step is to adjust your aperture setting to its lowest value and go out and shoot!

3. The final hack on this list is a simple camera bean bag to stop shaky hands and blurry photos. A camera bean bag is portable and easy to carry, so you can use it anywhere you go. If you’re traveling and don’t have space for a tripod, this camera bean bag will come in handy and eliminate shaky photos all at once. Take a bag that will seal, an example is a Ziploc bag, and make sure it is bigger than the base of your camera. Fill your bag 4/5ths of the way full, with either uncooked rice or lentils. Seal your bag and even out the dispersion of the rice or lentils. And you’re all set to go! To use the bean bag, place it on a solid flat surface, and then place your camera on top (camera base on the bean bag) and click away. You can even be creative and make a warm sleeve for your bean bag or create your own mini-tripod by stacking multiple bags (please make sure it is stable)!

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