9 Amazing Photography DIY’s to Help you Cut Costs
Whether you’re a pro photographer or your family’s resident paparazzo, you know how crucial it is to showcase eye-catching, high-quality images. No matter what brings you online, whether it be to launch a photography website, build an online store, promote your small business or make connections via social networks, every photo you upload is a representation of you and needs to be killer. With the new Wix Pro Gallery you can showcase your photography in the highest quality online. Now all you need is an album’s worth of stunning photos.
Which brings us to our golden rule – Don’t spend a fortune on something you can DIY! The difference between just so-so images and stunning ones need not involve expensive equipment or years of training. We’ve put together these 9 awesome hacks anyone can do with everyday household items so even if you’re not a pro, your viewers will think you are. Shhh, we won’t tell if you don’t!
In photography, lighting is everything. When shooting with a flash, whenever possible you want to tone down the brightness of the bulb to produce a softer, more diffused light. This gives a professional look to your shots and avoids harsh shadows and white zombie faces of your loved ones. With this crazy easy hack, you simply stick a piece of white cardstock (business cards work great) over the flash, point and shoot.
Blurry photos are the WORST. But who wants to lug a tripod around at your cousin’s wedding? If you’ve got a long piece of string, a screw and a bolt you can virtually eliminate all camera shake forever more. Just tie one end of the string (should be slightly shorter than you are) to the bolt (1.25 diameter). Next, tie the other end of the string to the washer – this is going to act as an anchor on which you will stand. Now, screw the bolt into the bottom of your camera, right into the hole the tripod would screw into. When you’re ready, step on the washer and pull up on the camera against the tension of the string and start shooting. Banish the blur!
Ye Ole Sunglasses Filter
Whether you’re hoping to reduce glare and improve color saturation outdoors or just want a funky retro filter, this trick is as simple as it gets. Spend 10 minutes trying to locate your sunglasses, then realize they are sitting on top of your head, remove them and hold them in front of your camera. Done and done. Even non-polarized glasses will serve as a neutral density filter, and that’s just fancy talk for darn good pictures.
DIY Light Tent
If you’ve got an eCommerce website, you probably already know the importance of having crystal clean product shots. To achieve that, use a light tent (also called lightbox) to create even, near shadow-less lighting against a simple, solid background. Here’s a quickie tutorial, but you can also find more in-depth info and how to videos around the web.
Assemble a large cardboard box (18x18x24) as if you were going to pack it and cut large “windows” into 2 opposite sides.
Cut a piece of white poster board (roughly the size of one side of the box) and tape one end to the inside of the back of your box, as a lining (think of a studio backdrop).
Find a light, white fabric, cut 2 pieces larger than your windows, and cover the windows.
Place 2 reading lamps outside of your windows and shine them directly in the box. The sheet will create soft diffused light. To really flood the box with light, create a third window on the top of the box and clip a lamp above it.
Place your product on your backdrop and shoot from the open side of the box (make sure to fold the flaps back).
Make-Shift Tilt Shift (with Vaseline!)
We’re all kinda obsessed with the tilt shift effect, right? It allows you to shift focus to the cool part of your pic even when there’s a lot of other junk in the background. Here’s a little secret – pros use it to create a romantic vignette or an illusionary depth of field. Just smear a bit of vaseline around the edges of a camera filter and experiment with the effect. Mucking up your lens can also lend a sweet vintage vibe to your pics! We recommend you purchase a cheap or used UV lens filter ($5) that you can remove and reuse whenever you want to repeat this effect (oh, and you will).
Toilet Roll Macro Lens
Macro photography is about creating larger than life images of teeny tiny subjects. These amazing closeups are achieved by using a specialized magnifying lens (cha-ching) and will get you awesome nature shots without leaving your backyard. To do this on the cheap, repurpose that used toilet paper roll (not the used toilet paper, please) by turning it into a lens extension. Simply remove your lens and fasten the empty TP roll to the camera body (with tape). Then attach the lens to the other end of the roll, reversed so that the front element goes into the tube and again, secure with tape. Be sure to line the inside of the roll with black neoprene or heavy paper to block out the light. Now you’ve got a super cheap, super powerful way to take super cool macro photographs.
Bokeh describes the effect created by the out of focus blur in the background of a photo (think twinkly lights). Good bokeh can transform an ordinary shot into art. Make your own cute/crazy/cool bokeh filters with little more than some poster board, a pair of scissors, tape and a ruler. Start by making circular cutouts from your black poster board, the size of your lens. Find the center of the circle and draw or stencil the shape of your choice (hearts and stars work nicely). Cut out the shape with an exacto knife and tape the circle (now your filter) onto your lens. Find some situations with nice background lights (night time is a good idea) and start shooting.
Starbucks Lens Hood
Unless you’re J.J. Abrams who (admittedly) uses lens flare like it’s going out of style, chances are, you’re looking to prevent the backlighting in your photo from interfering with your subject. A lens hood will stop that pesky glare by blocking out background light, but can cost upwards of 20 bucks. So after your next cup of take-out coffee, keep the sleeve, slap it around your camera lens and use the money you saved to catch a film instead.
Lighting, lighting, lighting! (Did we mention lighting is everything?) With this super simple hack you can replicate one of a photographer’s most important tools for creating diffused light – the Gary Fong Lightsphere (Applause! Fanfare!). This simple gadget creates soft, even light for the most flattering pics. Don’t feel like shelling out $50+ for this little number? No problem, this brilliant hack should cost you zip and make your clients flip. After your next order from Amazon, take the bubble wrap and cut a long strip, about 2 feet. Wrap the bubble wrap around the flash so there’s plenty of room over the top, and affix it using velcro, gaffer’s tape or even a rubber band. For extra diffusion, double your bubble wrap creating 2 layers, or even try a vinyl drawer liner for added thickness.
By The Wix Team