At times there occurs problems in life when conventional methods won’t work and you have to think outside the box to find a solution. Photography is no different. Many times you will find yourself in situations where you have to come up with unusual or not-so-traditional ideas to get over a problem. In this article we are going to do just that. Here we will discuss some ‘outside the box’ solutions for some everyday photographic problems and show you some really weird photography hacks that will make your life much easier. So let’s begin.
No Tripod? No Problem…
Tripod is something that most established photographers or even the most amateur ones carry with them when they go out to take photos. But many times, mostly with people on a shoe string budget who have bought a new DSLR, people don’t have enough money to buy a tripod. So what to do in such situations? Not much. Got a table lamp in the house? If yes then just whisk off the lamp shade and screw your camera onto the lamp shade holder. You will be surprised to know that the bolt on top of the lamp shade holder is exactly the same size as the screws that most tripods come with. So your camera will easily attach to them.
Want that Vintage Feel to the Photo? Make use of a Sandwich Bag..
A lover of those vintage style photos, but don’t know how to achieve that effect? There are two ways you can do that. One is the more conventional method where you take a photo and then use various filters in Photoshop and Lightroom to achieve that effect or you can just go to your pantry and bring out the humble looking sandwich bag, cut open the bottom, wrap it around your lens leaving only the end hanging a little in front to get the desired vintage effect. Try it.. It works..
Get Shaped Bokeh Just by Cutting Paper..
Well who doesn’t love a good bokeh in the background. Even smartphone makers these days are coming out with phone with cameras which offer a ‘bokeh’ mode. But what if you could get light bokeh in the background of specific shapes and sizes? Yes that’s possible and you will be amazed to know how simple it is to achieve that. Just take a piece of black paper and cut it in the size of the front of your lens. Then with the help of a kitchen knife cut out the shape of your choice in the middle of the paper. Make sure the shape you cut is larger than a thumbnail. Now place the paper in front of your lens and start shooting. But there’s a catch. For this technique to be effective you have to have a lens with large aperture – something like f/1.8 is ideal choice for this hack. So if you are shooting at f/5.6, you will not get any effect at all.
Tennis Balls for Stability in Sand…
Well tennis balls can be used in more than one way when it comes to weird photography hacks. Shooting in sand (beaches, deserts etc.) can be tricky since sand has a tendency to move thus causing shake in your photos. Even a sturdy tripod can find it hard to stay still in sand. The solution here is to have three tennis balls, cut an X on all of them and then inserting each leg of the tripod in them. This prevents the tripod from sinking in sand and thus taking care of the problem of camera shake in areas with deep sand.
Check Dust Spots on Image Sensor with a Grey Card..
Another weird photography hack is to check for dust spots on the camera image sensor with the help of a grey card. Here’s how you can do it. Set the ISO to the lowest on your camera (for most modern day DSLRs the lowest ISO is 100) and then increase the aperture to f/22 or higher. After doing these two turn off shake-reduction or any other image stabilization feature that your camera may have. Now take a picture of a grey card, or the bright blue sky or a light colored even surface. During the shoot make sure you don’t overexpose the photo because then you won’t be able to to see the dust spots. Just to be sure, take a series of shots and then view them on your computer. Increase the contrast in those images and it will show you the dust spots.
Ice Chest as a Camera Bag!!
Believe it or not an ice chest can actually be a great protection for your camera and other gears in certain conditions, which include areas with a lot of heat and moisture in the air e.g. a pool or a beach. Since it is built to offer protection from heat, it becomes extremely handy in hot weather conditions as well. In the old days, photographers used ice chests to protect their films from direct rays of the sun. Thankfully, in the digital age that requirement is no longer there.
Use Reflector as Studio Backdrop
At times a white background can make a photo come alive. It is especially true of portraits. One of the simplest and cheapest ways to achieve a white background is to use a reflector in the background. But in order for this technique to work you have to increase your exposure compensation by 1 stop because the camera might try to dim down the white thinking it is overexposed and make it look gray.
Tips for Shooting from a Plane’s Window
While shooting from a plane’s window don’t rest any part of your body (hands, elbow or shoulders) on the plane. Allow your body to cushion the plane’s vibration. Get your camera as close to the window as possible without actually touching it and use a shutter speed of 1/200 sec or faster especially during landings and take offs. While the plane is cruising a much slower shutter speed would work.
Do you know any other weird photography hacks that you have tried and perfected. If you do, share it with us in the comment section below. Hope the tips we have shared here helps you out in the field and makes life a little more easier. Cheers!