10 easy tips to put effects on your photos

Taking pictures is something everyone can do, however taking beautiful pictures is not something that everyone can boast about. Nowadays, there is certainly a lot more photography, especially due to social media sites. Photography is an art that affects more than 500 million people daily, on Instagram alone. But just adding a filter after snapping a moment in your daily life is not enough for your photo gallery to get noticed in the photography world. Fear not because here are some tips you can use to put certain effects on your photos. Tips that, once mastered, will give you a good reason to brag about your awesome Insta account.

1 - Create a natural blur effect

With steam! There is nothing easier than this, and it doesn’t require any specialist equipment. This technique is ideal for landscape photos: it gives them a softness with very natural pastel shades.

DIY photography blur effect

​After focusing on the subject, put a little mist on the front of your lens, frame, and take your photos. The fog disappears fairly quickly, you will only have 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 colours

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

DIY photography abstract shapes and colours

DIY photography abstract shapes and colours

DIY photography vaseline on camera lens

​​Of course, applying it directly to the lens is not recommended: first, place a plastic film or a protective filter over the lens. In a few seconds, you can bring a velvety and silky effect to your shoot. The distortion will depend on the way you apply petrolatum.

DIY photography vaseline on camera lens

Image Credit: Anton Repponen’s blog

3 - Create a mirror effect

It’s enough to just use pieces of glass or a magnifying glass that has been broken and glued onto the edges of a circular support. Break the glass yourself if it’s of no value or wait for a moment of clumsiness!

DIY photography mirror effect

​​Image Credit: Crafted in Carhartt

Recover the pieces (delicately, because to take the photos, you’ll needs your hands ...), stick them randomly or in a specific way around a roll of tape for example, then place it in front of your lens before capturing the perfect moment.

4 - Add some colour

Using slightly coloured pieces of tape will give your photos soft and mysterious colours.

DIY photography add colour to lens

Image Credit: Olivier Schmitt

Colours blur creating a foggy effect, which can be intensified or reduced depending on your choice of colours and the way you position the pieces.

5 - Get a "bokeh" with various 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 blurred, and the lights that surround it circular.

DIY photography bokeh

Image Credit: Digital Photography School

However, you can easily manipulate the lights to make them take whichever form you like. 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 over it, like a cover. On the latter, cut out the shape of your choice in the centre.​

DIY photography bokeh cut outs

Image Credit: Démotivateur

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

DIY photography heart lens city view

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.

DIY photography sieve shadow effect

Image Credit: Christina Key

The object will end up with a patterned shadow over it, shaped depending on your tool or cutouts that you have made.

DIY photography cut out shadow effect

Image Credit: Learn photo editing

7 - Snap your shots underwater

With a good wide-angle camera, still water, patience and a little practice, taking snapshots on the water surface can be a breeze. Simply put a fish tank or glass box in the water and place your camera inside. Be sure to be careful though!!

DIY photography camera in fish tank

Image Credit: COOPH

8 - Add mysterious reflections

Use a CD or match just next to your lens to create glare on the edges of your shots.

The hardest thing is finding the best way to position them; you’ll have to play with the intensity of the light and the heat of the colours, but the most important thing is to be in control of your light sources!

DIY photography lens flares

DIY photography matchstick film burns

Image Credit: Sheldon Evan

9 - 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 because of its colour; a powerful metallic grey - shiny on one side, matte on the other, but also for its shape and consistency. It can be used smooth, crumpled, twisted or folded.

DIY photography artificial bokeh

DIY photography artificial bokeh

Image Credit: COOPH

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

10 - Play with the lights using transparent objects

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

DIY photography light play with plastic bag

Image Credit: Jesse David McGrady

This technique is ideal for a sunset photo shoot, but it does require experience in bright colours and strong light. The result can be beautiful. There are ideal solutions for making your photos recognisable, like changing the way you frame your photos. Just enhancing your subject or positioning your camera at a different angle is not enough to create these desired effects. With these few tips, you can go ahead and start taking unusual photographs, which will give those Instagram filters a run for their money!

07 Feb 2018 by Oréline Bouteiller

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