Cheap and dirty tricks for pretty pictures

Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I don’t have the money for a SLR and I don’t know enough yet about photography to justify the purchase ~sniff~ However, I did happen to learn some cheap tricks for getting the maximum out of a simple point and shoot digital camera. I still need to try these out!

I’m always jealous of the crisp and beautiful photos in magazine spreads and design websites. In the end a lot of it comes down to proper lighting and backgrounds. I was a little bit disappointed with the photo of my purse so I found these instructions for a DIY light box. I think this would be very useful for future craft photos.


Were you ever in a car and wanted to take photos of the scenery outside but your reflection gets in the way? Polarizing filters should do the trick. They reduce the glare and reflections of sunlight on glass and water. They can also deepen the colors in the photo. You can buy filters online or at any camera store, BUT if you already have a pair of polarizing sunglasses all you have to do is hold them in front of your camera’s lens. The effect of the polarizer depends on the angle of light, so you may have to play with the direction your camera is pointed.

These last three tips I learned from an astronomer at a trip to our local planetarium.

Do you ever want to take detailed close-up shots but your macro function doesn’t allow you to get close enough? You can find macro lenses to attach to your camera for sale online BUT you could try using a simple magnifying glass instead. I’ve seen some pretty impressive results of this technique. You may have to turn auto-focus off on your camera to get the image just right.

Did you ever want to get shots of the moon or stars? Instead of using a magnifying glass you can hold your camera up to a telescope or a pair of binoculars. You may need a tripod for these shots to come out clearly, but if you’re patient it can be done.

Lastly, here’s something cool and unusual. Infrared filters allow you to cut through the haze and bring out details that you wouldn’t ordinarily see in daylight. If you can find any old film negatives, look for a square that is completely black (at the beginning or end of the roll). Hold that in front of your camera lens – and voila, an infrared filter.
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