If you're an aspiring photographer on a budget, the cost of new equipment can be a little overwhelming. Lens filters, flash diffusers, tripods—while these things won’t necessarily break the bank on their own, their combined price definitely adds up.
So, what do you do when you can't afford all the fancy equipment but want to develop your photography skills with creative and artistic effects that some tools can provide? Well, that’s the thing – you need to be creative.
Think outside the box. Not having extra money to spend on expensive equipment doesn't mean you can't get artsy with your photography. Here are five simple and inexpensive hacks that you can do yourself to add a little artistic flare to your images:
1. The Vaseline Hack
If you do happen to have a lens filter, even a cheap, basic one, then you can use it to add a little artistic blur to your images. It’s simple – just spread some Vaseline over the filter, but be sure to keep a clear spot on the lens so you can still focus on your subject. Now, your subject will show up perfectly, but the rest of the image will have a smooth, blurry look, giving the image a nice vignette.
2. String Tripod Hack
Tripods are incredible useful, actually necessary, when it comes to long exposures and shooting at night. Without one, even the slightest camera shake can ruin a photo. But, what if you don't have one? Or have left it behind for some reason?
You can create your own tripod with just a long string. Tie both ends of the string to the camera’s tripod mount and make it a triangle, by standing on it with your feet spread apart. This will help steady the camera a little so you can capture sharper images.
3. Timelapse Rig Hack
If you're trying to get into timelapse photography but don't have the needed equipment, like a motion control device, you can get really creative here without having to construct anything yourself. A flat-topped egg timer is all you need to create a moving timelapse. Just mount a little camera, say a GoPro, to the egg timer and you’ll get a steady, rotation sequence of images.
4. Arty Filter Hack
It’s very easy to add some color to what would otherwise be a dull scene. Take a clear plastic bag and color over it with a colored marker, or try two or more colors. Cut a small hole in the bag and fasten it over your lens. The hole will allow you to capture your subject clearly, while the colored clear plastic will give the rest of the photo a bright, artsy effect.
5. Flash Diffuser Hack
This one takes a little more craftiness on your part. Get a regular long Tupperware container and cut a flash-sized hole in the bottom of it (you can do this by tracing around the flash on the container). Then layer the inside of the container with transparent paper and tinfoil. Now fasten the container over the camera’s flash and voila, you have a perfectly decent flash diffuser.