This is a collection of my favorite photography and camera hacks.
They’ve all been proven to work and most of them won’t cost you a dime! Have you come up with photography hacks and tricks of your own? We’d love to hear about them!
TIP #1: The Sunglasses Gradient
But certain high contrast scenes, especially sunrise and sunset, can be difficult for your camera to capture creating overwhite skies and underexposed land.
Fortunately, mankind has devised a solution for protecting our eyes from the sun’s harsh rays in the form of sunglasses.
The sunglasses had a darker gradient at the top fading to lighter at the bottom which helped to bring the all too bright sky under control and gave the underexposed bridge bits the light that they rightfully deserve.
Pop a pair of sunglasses over your lens and fear sunset photography no more!
TIP #2 : IKEA SCHOTTIS, the $3 Diffuser
The SCHOTTIS pleated shade becomes a great diffuser when your flash is placed on one side and your model is on the other.
TIP #3: Create your own reflectors
Using reflectors is one of the easiest ways to have even light on your subject and great stunning portraits. If you are in the market for a few reflectors, but aren’t ready to fork out the money to buy some yet, there are easy ways to create the same effects with much cheaper items. The easiest items to use are colored poster board for a reflector. In my photography kit, I always have a white foam poster board that I can use to bounce off clean light onto my subjects. You can also use a black poster board for the opposite effect. Another item that I love to use as a reflector is aluminum foil. Just grab a couple sheets of foil and tape them to any piece of cardboard you have. Now you can reflect any light back onto your subjects with ease!
TIP #4: Body language hack
From the minute you meet your subject, until they walk away from the session, it’s vital that you appear in control by using confident body language, keeping your energy up, using positive words, and never showing any signs of stress – even when you’re freaking out because the settings you’re trying aren’t working.
I know this one is tough when you’re starting out, and you have to think of a million things – camera settings, composition, lighting, backgrounds, etc., and now I’m asking you to also think about what your client’s body is saying! But let’s think about this for a minute. How do you think your subject feels when they are working with a silent, stressed out, and fidgety photographer who is focusing all their attention on the camera or the lights? Not so great right? Guess where that’s going to show up? In your pictures.
They need to know that you’re in control, even when you’re not! This is a, “fake it until you become it” moment in your life. Talk to them. Explain what you’re doing. You might be concerned that they won’t take you seriously, but really, they are just curious about what’s going on. If they feel that you’re in control, that you know what you’re doing, you will keep the connection with them and help them to relax.
The best part is that you’re also going to feel more in control. Recent studies on body language have found that by changing our posture and behavior, we actually change our feelings too. Not only will you appear more confident, you’re actually going to feel more confident.
TIP 5#: Pinhole Camera for Less
Pinhole photography is very underrated and great fun to play with—want to get started in less than two minutes? Simply drill a 5mm hole through the center of a spare lens cap (obviously not while it’s attached to the camera!) and you’re good to go.
Check out another one of our articles to see a video with even more photography hacks!