The cost of investing in photography can be overwhelming. But while the latest gear and accessories may cost a fortune, there are many affordable accessories you can call on to spice up your images. As you’re likely to be stuck inside right now, it’s the perfect time to experiment with some cheap camera hacks.
Calvin Fisher, owner of Pandabomb, a digital production house that specialises in photography, videography and social media marketing, put together a list of 12 hacks that anyone can deploy right now for more interesting shots that can be used for images as well as videos.
1. Plastic wrap it
The first thing you want to do is grab some cellophane, cling wrap or something similar from your kitchen and pull it tightly over your lens. This gives you a bunch of fun, free filter options. Get playful, use random markers or whatever patterns you like to create an interesting look. If the plastic is putting you off, grab yourself a cheap UV filter that would do the trick.
2. Vaseline dreams
It may sound odd but, by all means, you can add some Vaseline straight onto your lens to create a cool dreamy look in your frame. However, if you aren’t keen on getting your equipment dirty, you could apply a piece of cling wrap to the lens before adding the Vaseline – this would work just as well.
3. Sunglass NDs
You’ll often hear people describe ND filters as sunglasses for your camera. But, so are actual sunglasses – cover your lens with an old pair of sunglasses for an easy way to lower your shutter speed for some cinematic footage.
4. Shoot through everything
Don’t limit your creativity to sunglasses – shoot through all kinds of random things for some interesting looks. Textured glass works wonders too.
5. CD reflections
Play with reflective surfaces like compact discs and even your smartphone for some cool abstract reflections and effects.
6. Make use of your natural surroundings
Use your natural surroundings; don’t be afraid to grab some random bits of grass or leaves or stones and hold them up into the edges of your shot.
7. Strap that stability
If you need something to stabilise your equipment when moving around, just use the strap already attached to your camera. The technique goes like this: place the strap behind your neck and push your camera as far forward as you can for maximum tension. Then tilt, pan and track with your hips.
8. Strap that stability Part 2
And another one: in this case, loop your strap under your lens to create a steady slider or dolly motion.
9. Groovy fish line anamorphics
Get those classic Stranger Things like anamorphic flares just by stringing a line of gut over your lens. You can hold it in place with a rubber band. Just remember to shoot as wide open as you can.
10. Free flares with torches
Shine your torchlight down the barrel of your lens for some groovy light leaks. Laser pointers will be trippy too.
11. Smooth moves
You can use your scarf or any fabric at hand – a towel, cloth, whatever. Rest your camera on top of it and drag it along for a cinematic pan. Office chair? Same principle.
12. Permanent power
Just in case you didn’t already know this, you can plug any spare power bank you might have into most digital SLR and mirrorless cameras for a quick recharge. This will come in handy when you’re busy taking some shots outside.
And that’s it – a dozen practically free little hacks that you can deploy at once to level up your camera skills.