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Tips & Tricks

5 Everyday Items For Creative Photo Effects

By Shivani Reddy on February 18th 2016

Practical Effects Without The Photoshop

Taking creative photos is not difficult, you just have to be…creative. In this article and video, we have five non-photography tools for you to use to capture unique images.

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5 Everyday Items For Creative Photography Effects


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1. Spray Bottle

A spray bottle is a simple tool that you would never think to use for photography, but spray some water on your lens and you can “she’s-all-that” a boring image into “homecoming queen.”
Directions

  • Spray water on desired part of the lens
  • Control the size of the foreground bokeh by adjusting your aperture (wider aperture = bigger bokeh)
  • Make sure there’s no dirt on your lens, because you can scratch your lens while wiping the water off

spray_bottle_creative_effect_photography_02

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

2. Prism

A prism can be used to add unique reflections, change your composition, or even add a flare. The best part is that it’s portable, and you can bring it to any shoot!

Directions

  • Bring Prism up to your lens, twist and turn until you find your desired composition
  • Keep note of which photos you like and how you held the Prism, so you can easily re-create the look later

prism_creative_photography_effects

3. LED String Lights

LED string lights are one of the most affordable ways to capture foreground bokeh. Amazon has plenty of options under $10!

Directions

  • Turn on LED light and hold in front of your lens
  • You can change the intensity and size of the bokeh by moving the light string
  • The closer the light string is to the lens, the bigger the bokeh
  • The further the light string from the lens, the smaller the bokeh
Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

4. Sparklers

Sparklers are like mini bokeh sunsets when they’re held close to your lens. Every beautiful flaming piece of gun powder that shoots toward your face and lens results in an extraordinary image (just use caution!).

Directions

  • Light the sparkler and hold in front of your lens
  • Be sure not to hold it too close, so you don’t damage your lens, camera, or face
  • Hold the string slightly above the lens, so the sparks fall into your image
  • If you want smaller sparks, move the sparkler away from the lens
  • If you want larger sparks, move the sparkler towards the lens, as long as it’s a safe distance
Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

5. Fog Machine

Fog machines are as much fun as they are photogenic. A little bit of fog in some places can add a lot of depth and texture to a scene. They can be expensive to buy, but are extremely affordable to rent, so don’t be afraid to try one out!

Directions

  • Fill the scene with the desired amount of fog
  • Using a reflector (or any thin, broad object), waft the fog around to control the spread
Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Conclusion & Learn More!

I hope you enjoyed this article! If you have any questions or wants us to do more lists like these, then let us know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more videos like these!

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Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Unknown Unknown

    Actually I would rather not recommend doing tipp nr. 1.
    First, if your lens is not weather sealed, liquid can get in and then a few weeks/months later you get a very interesting fungus bokeh – forever.
    Second, almost all lenses are covered with an anti-reflective layer, which can actually wipe off, if you clean your lens too often.

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  2. Max C

    All these effects can be easily done in Photoshop with no need to carry along any gadgets. Photoshop equals non-destructive shooting and editing.

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    • Joseph Cha

      that’s like telling jj abrams “all your effects can be done with CGI with non destructive shooting and editing.” At some point, there’s an authenticity to practical effects that can’t (or won’t) be replicated digitally

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    • Aidan Morgan

      Doing this stuff during the shoot equals fun, spontaneity and creativity. And the point of this article is to save money. Photoshop isn’t necessarily cheap (although the subscription is pretty affordable).

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  3. Adrian Ong

    Great article Shivani. Do you bring generators for the fog machine when you shoot on location?

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    • Joseph Cha

      I’m not shivani, but Pye does bring a gas powered Honda generator on his shoots to power the fog machine.

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  4. Joseph Cha

    this video’s direction and edit are incredible.

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  5. Justin Haugen

    You could try out Atmosphere Aerosol if you don’t have access to a fog machine or a way to power it on location.

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    • Shivani Reddy

      Hi Justin!

      We actually have a couple cans in our studio! We are still testing it out so we didn’t want to include it in this video, but so far so good!

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    • Justin Haugen

      Same here! I’ve been using it on wedding day and on some creative shoots and it’s been a great addition when I need something for that extra ‘something’.

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    • Kim Wilhite

      Do you use it outside Justin?

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  6. Albert Evangelista

    AWESOME article Shivani!! :)

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