Photography Course

5 Photography Hacks To Get You Started

Introductions to Photography Hacks

Photography is all about light. Many award-winning photographs are, in a sense, very cleverly employed photo hacks that were devised by photographers who made light work for them in unique ways. Of course, this might all sound very simple, but being a distinguished photographer requires years and years of practice and dedication. It also needs a whole lot of creativity – especially the ability to imagine the world around you in different ways.

A Little Bit Of History

The origins of the modern-day camera can be traced back to a device consisting of a small rectangular box, perhaps no larger than a shoebox. The box, when closed, ensured complete darkness inside, except for a small hole on one face that allowed light to pass through. The light passing through the hole formed an inverted image on the opposite face inside the box. The pinhole camera, or camera obscura, did not require the use of lenses, or any other equipment, but was completely built on the laws of physics.

Today, there is a whole spectrum of cameras in the market – from the amateurish point-and-shoot cameras which operate at the click of a button to high-end professional cameras that come fully equipped with lenses, flashes, rangefinders and tripods. In the last 20 odd years, the form-factor of the camera has been completely disrupted by the smartphone. The smartphone allows its users extreme flexibility through a multitude of photo hacks – right from simple point-and-click features to professional-style image capturing.

There are several photography hacks that can be enabled via your smartphone. Because of its versatility and its convenient size, a smartphone can be used in unique ways to capture the ideal image. In this article, we will discuss a few photo hacks – right from specific food photography hacks to the more general creative photography hacks.

Photography Hacks #1 – Changing Your Perspectives

The comparative distances between the different objects in your scene can often be used to produce dramatic results. This is one of those very old creative photography hacks. For example, if you wish to capture your subject with the sunset in the background, your subject can clasp their hands around the sun (as if enclosing the setting sun in their palms). We all know that in reality, holding the sun is impossible, but because the sun is so distant and the subject so near, the image perspective can be changed.

Photography Hacks #2 – Create Your Own Light

We mentioned before that photography is all about light. Natural light is ideal for many photo hacks, but obviously, natural light is restrictive – you cannot expect to be taking pictures only during the day and in external locations. On the bright side, you can experiment with a variety of lights (white light, yellow lights, LEDs) to create the perfect lighting inside your house. Table-lamps are a great source to illuminate your subject, especially when you are dealing with food photography hacks. It is also one of the most creative photography hacks. 

Photography Hacks #3 – Tripod Truths

All photographers of repute will emphasize on the importance of a steady hand in photography as one of the most basic of photography hacks. This alone can play a significant role in separating the good photos from the great ones. Of course, in the case of fast-moving images like a wildlife chase or a car race, you cannot control the movement of your subjects. But nonetheless, a steady hand will compensate for the pace of the subject in those scenarios. Tripods can give you a hand when you need a steady shot. You don’t have to invest in a tripod but can easily build one at home from reusable materials like an old table lamp stand, or an old floor fan. Other creative photography hacks include looking for places where you can rest your camera, like a table or a stack of books to ensure minimal camera movement. 

Photography Hacks #4 – Reflectors

Just like light plays the all-important role in photography, anything that reflects light also affects the image you are trying to capture. You will notice the use of reflectors most often in professional photoshoots as a photo hack; they are screens that are placed close to the subject. White reflects the most light, while black absorbs the most. Most amateur photography will not require reflectors, but you can treat this as one of those creative photography hacks that can possibly enhance your images. You can use any white reflecting surface that reflects sunlight on your subject as a simple photo hack to recreate a professional setup. 

Photography Hacks #5 – Filters

Filters are a photo hack that can add that magical touch to any photograph. Professionals use different kinds of filters and lenses to suit the scene they are capturing, but this can be an expensive proposition for most amateur photographers. One of the easiest photo hacks comes from the humble plastic bag. Coloured plastic can be a great filter. Attach it in front of your camera to recreate nearly the same effect as a professional filter. If you do not have coloured plastic at hand, one of the creative photography hacks you can employ is to take fully transparent scotch tape and stick it in front of your camera lens. Be careful not to smudge the lens. You can go to town with any colour by simply taking your colour marker and marking the tape in whatever manner you wish. 

Serious photography can be an expensive proposition. We have outlined above a few common photography hacks that have been used by others in this business. They will help you save a significant amount of money. As you practice more and more shots, you would certainly come up with some unique photo hacks of your own. Do share them. To learn more about photography and additional photo hacks, join an online course like the one here

Looking to sharpen your photography skills? Join our top-rated professional diploma in photography today!

Shaw Academy

Updated: Nov 18, 2019

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