Getting a degree in photography will cost you upwards of $6,000 plus additional costs. But the world is overwhelmed with visual media these days and you need to stand out with your pictures even if you’re an amateur. So here are some helpful tips to get you started.
We at Enlighten are fans of cool photography, so we have carefully collected these tricks for you to improve your skills and take the best pictures possible.
1. Use an old milk bottle.
Cut a piece of plastic from the side of the milk bottle to put in front of your camera’s flash to soften the ray of light — if you use clear plastic the effect will not be as drastic, but a carton with white plastic should do the trick.
2. Make a macro lens out of a plastic bottle.
DDelectroTech.com / YouTube
This is an extremely simple DIY trick to give yourself a macro lens for mere pennies.
This is what you’ll do:
- Take a plastic bottle and cut off its ends.
- Paint the tube you got after those manipulations solid black. To achieve the best result, use spray paint in a nicely ventilated place.
- Take a magnifying glass and saw off the handle.
- Push the glass to sit tightly inside the black tube.
- Hold it to your camera lens to take really cool macro pictures.
3. Play with textures to get some depth.
pattyina / reddit
To take a great picture, take the object that you want to be photographed and take a picture of it over some cohesive ground. Make sure to do it in a way where it will be further away to create depth with several focal points. This will also make the picture more visually interesting and it will really show off the object of focus.
4. A handmade camera stand
You can buy it in stores or you can make an easy soft camera stand yourself.
- Take a smaller pillowcase and fill it up with dry lentils — you can regulate the softness of it by adding more or fewer lentils.
- Zip or sew it closed.
Voila! Now you’ve got a brand new camera stand!
5. The vaseline retro effect
Use simple vaseline to give your pictures a cool retro rim around the edges. You can remove the vaseline afterward with a clean cloth or regular glass cleaning compound.
6. Handmade lighting
Ashlynn C / YouTube
Here’s a great plan for those who don’t want want to invest in a professional ring light right away, but want to enjoy its benefits.
- Cut a ring shape out of a carton box.
- Wrap and glue down tin foil all over it in a couple of layers.
- Take several meters of led lights and glue them around one side of the ring, putting glue on the cord, not the lights themselves.
- Fix it on the stand or any other tall place and enjoy your ring light!
7. Distorted edges
Here’s another cool effect for the edges of your pictures! You can achieve this by taking a plain plastic bag, cutting a hole on its side and cramming it around the camera lens — you can adjust the effect on the go!
8. Use a magnifying glass for macro shots.
peetie5000 / reddit
Another simple trick for macro photos if you don’t want to go through the whole “making a lens extension” process, is taking a magnifying glass and putting it over the object that you want to be photographed or if you want a more interesting picture, the side of the object. In the first case, the picture needs to be photoshopped later to clean the edges.
9. Flashlight to black light
ThreadBanger / youtube
Phone pictures are extremely popular worldwide and there are even some devices in stores to make them look more professional. But you can actually use a simple trick to change your phone’s flashlight into a blacklight or give it any type of hue you want.
- Take a small piece of tape.
- Put it over the flashlight.
- Color it with markers.
Use blue and purple colors to make a blacklight and other colors to give your pictures a cool color effect.
10. Warp the perspective with a glass of water.
<-33">Sindre Strøm / pexels
This is the oldest trick in the book and it makes a pretty picture with the least amount of effort. Simply take a glass of water and take a picture through it to flip the image and perspective. The same can be achieved with a glass ball.
Which one of these tricks do you see yourself using at your next photo shoot? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below!