Simple Tips to Help Put Cool Effects On Your Photos

Apr 16, 2018 by Lisa Scarpa
12 MIN

If taking pictures is within everyone’s reach, taking beautiful pictures is not yet a quality that everyone can boast about. There’s certainly a lot in the massive use of social networks. Photography is an art that affects more than 500 million people daily, just on Instagram. But adding a questionable filter after capturing a moment in your daily life is not enough to make your content a reference in photography. However, I’m here to help! There are simple and easy tips to use to give certain effects to your photos. Tips that, once mastered, will give you a good reason to invite others to take a look at your Instagram account.

1 - Create a natural blur effect

With steam! There is nothing more simple, and it does not require any hardware. This technique is ideal for landscape photos: it gives them a softness with very natural pastel shades.

After focusing on the subject, put a little mist on the front lens of your lens, frame, and take your photos. The fog is dissipating fairly quickly and not very homogeneous, you will have only a few seconds to capture the perfect moment. Be careful though, this technique can disrupt the autofocus of your camera. in this case, focus, and disengage it.


2 - Add abstract shapes and colors

A simple technique that involves applying petroleum jelly or a greasy cream to the edges of your lens.

Of course, applying it directly to the lens is highly discouraged: first place a plastic film or a protective filter. In a few seconds, you can bring a velvety and silky effect to your shoot. The distortion will depend on the way and where you will apply petrolatum.


Image Credits: Anton Repponen’s blog


3 - Make a mirror effect

It suffices to use pieces of glasses or magnifying glasses broken and glued on the edges of support in a circle. Break the glass yourself if you do not care about the object in question, or wait for a moment of clumsiness.

Image Credits: Crafted in Carhartt

Recover the pieces, becomes quite difficult to take pictures if you don’t have fingers. Stick the glass pieces randomly or in a thought-out plan around a roll of tape for example, then place it in front of your lens before capturing the moment of your choice. It may take several tries to get used to it, but your desired mirror effect will come out as imagined!


4 - Add some color

This is an easy one, that anybody could do, even on the go. Using slightly colored pieces of tape, give your photos some soft and mysterious colors. Wrap the clear tape onto the front of your lens and color it with your choice of marker and watch the magic happen.

Image Credit: Olivier Schmitt

Colors blur in a blur effect, which can be intensified or reduced depending on the choice of your felts and the way you have positioned the pieces.


5 - Get a "bokeh" with varied shapes

In photography, a Bokeh is a background blur, taken with a shallow depth of field. The idea is that the subject in the foreground is clear, the background more blurred, and the lights that compose it circular.

Image Credit: Digital Photography School

However, you can easily make them take the form of your choice. You will need to make a circle with a strip of black cardboard cut to the size of your lens, then a black cardboard circle of the same diameter to place on it, like a cover. On the latter, cut out the shape of your choice in the center.

Image Credit: Démotivateur

Then place the cover on the lens and shoot without a flash, moving the focus to get a depth of field blur.

Image Credit: Globe Totter Diaries


6 - Play with light

Add stunning graphics to your photos by placing a piece of cardboard, colander or lace between the light source and your subject.

Image Credit: Christina Key

The object will end up dressed with shadows shaped depending on your tool, or cutouts that you will create.

Image Credit: Learn photo editing


7 - Immerse your shots

With a good wide-angle camera, quiet water, patience, and a little practice, making snapshots on the surface of the water can be a breeze. Simply immerse an aquarium or glass box in the water and place your device inside. Be sure to be careful!!

Image Credit: COOPH


8 - Top-Down Photo

If you have a small piece of cardboard laying around and some duct tape, that’s all you need to achieve this look. Make your Instagram look like you’ve been blogging your whole life.

Image Credits: happygreyluck

One more aspect of this photo that is extremely important is the app you will need in order to capture it. An app with a self-timer is absolutely necessary in order for you to get the right position, at the right time, as you want it. There are very many out there, just pick the one that suits you best and shoot away!

9 - Add mysterious reflections

Use a CD or match just next to your lens to create glare on the edges of your shots. The most difficult is finding the best way to position them, to play with the intensity of the light and the heat of the colors but the important thing is to control all your sources of light.

You can also use a match and add the heat and orange light from the flame to add and play with the colors and reflections it brings. Be careful not to melt your camera lens or set the house on fire! 

Image Credits: Sheldon Evan


10 - Make an artificial Bokeh

To add artificial bokeh to a steady shot, crumple some aluminum foil, place it in the background and illuminate it to reflect the light source. Aluminum foil is interesting to use, mainly for its color; a powerful metallic gray, shining on one side, matte on the other but also for its shape and consistency. It can be used smooth, crumpled, twisted or folded.

Image Credit: COOPH

Finally, as for a Bokeh, make your photo with a shallow depth of field to achieve a blur effect, by focusing on your subject in the foreground.


11 - Play with the lights in transparency

For a cloudy effect, wrap a piece of clear plastic around your lens.

Image Credit: Jesse David McGrady

Ideal for sunset, this technique requires, however, to be experienced in an atmosphere with bright colors and strong light. The result can be beautiful. There are solutions ideal for making your photos recognizable like changing your way of framing; lightening the subject or positioning your camera is not necessarily enough to bring the desired effect. With these few tips, you now have the keys to make atypical photographs, the effects of which will largely compete with those of Instagram.



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