9 Camera Hacks for Beginner Photographers on a Budget | Photography 2019

Photography is an incredible adventure! Pursuing photography allows you to continuing learning until the day you die. You are able to discover places that would otherwise stay hidden. You get the opportunity to meet other creative minds from all over the world, whilst combining your photography with the passions you have.

The downside… Its bloody expensive to accumulate gear!

Here are 9 camera hacks that will save you money & improve your photography immediately.
Partially inspired by Peter McKinnon.


Hack One - Belt Sling for Film Makers

Wanting to get buttery smooth movements with your camera? Can’t afford a stabiliser? Enter the trusty belt, yep a belt, like the one you have around your waist.

Simply do the belt up around the camera (make sure it’s on tight), now you can create a smooth side to side motion, upward pan & downwards pan. Could also come in handy for a unique angle inside a tree trunk or drain… I dunno… it might work?


Hack Two - Chapstick Blur

Never scratch your lens! Luckily chapstick is soft and easy enough to clean off. To create an in camera blur effect, simply cover the outer areas of the lens in chapstick leaving a small circle in the middle. No need for a Photoshop subscription for this effect, simply drop $1 for a chapstick at the chemist next time your buying cold & flu meds.


Hack Three - Coffee Hood

So it’s super sunny outside and the lens flare is killing your images, unlucky for you, the lens hood you planned on bringing in your camera bag is sitting on your desk at home… 3 hours away. You check your coffee cup and find a trusty little cardboard slip on, you know, the one they leave on the cups to prevent your hand from burning.

Take it off, make the necessary adjustments & tape it onto the end of your lens. If your lens is too wide then simply tear off a section of the cardboard (could even be from the empty coffee cup) & tape it to the side effected most by lens flare.


Hack Four - Rubbish bag Raincoat

So it’s raining… guess you can’t go shooting those moody looking waterfalls that make you scream out in excitement? Wait just a second… Is that a rubbish bag and some duct tape?

Create your very own rain cover with a rubbish bag and some duct tape. Simply cut a hole in the bottom of the rubbish bag, big enough to squeeze the lens out. Duct tape the bag around the lens and drape the rest of the bag over the camera body.

If you need to look at the view finder, make adjustments or just keep your head dry. Drape the rest of the bag over your head and start snapping away!

Tip - Get the bigger bags to allow plenty of room for the lens, body & your head.

Create this…

Create this…

…with this.

…with this.

Hack Five - Shadow Strainer

Create cool shadow patterns using a pasta strainer… Yep… I said pasta strainer.

Simply hold up a pasta strainer between the sunlight (or source of light) and your subject, then snap away. You can create some really cool shadow effects taking your portraits from plain to exciting. Try other household items; blinds, combs, mesh singlets or even a BBQ grate.


Hack Six - Blade Effect

Boring image? Add something exciting by creating a blurry looking reflection with a stainless steel kitchen knife, simply hold the knife up to the lens until a blurry looking reflection forms. Try a few different angles, positions and play with the lighting a bit.


Hack Seven - Shades On

All you need for this one is some sunglasses.. broken ones will work too, as long as you have the lens. Create a filtered effect by simply shooting through the sunglass lens, cover the whole lens or part of the lens. Play around and see how you can make the effect work best for you.

Another tip, if you have different shades lying around the house then experiment with them too. Hell test out what the prescription lenses do!


Hack Eight - Torch Flare

Sometimes a bit of lens flare can really add to an image, if you want to test how your image will look with a bit of glare, take a torch and shine it on/around your lens. Move the torch beam until you get the desired effect.

If you are confident with your equipment you could try shooting with the lens separated slightly from the camera body. Shine the torch into the gap to create a really cool flare effect directly on the camera’s mirror/sensor.


Hack Nine - I-Phone Mirror

Incase you hadn’t noticed, everyone carries a phone these days. Phone screens are also incredibly reflective, makes sense to use them in order to turn a boring photo into something you can reflect on later (hahaha see what I did there?? Dad Joke life!).

If you bounce light off the screen it can also create some really cool rainbow effects on your subject or camera lens. Do try it!

Side not, you can do this with almost any smartphone. The added bonus of having a charged phone with you, if your battery camera dies, you can still take photos.


Bonus Hack!
Always carry a coffee or an energy drink in your camera bag, if you plan on taking photography seriously… you’re going to need it!

There are so many different hacks out there! Let us know yours, in the comments below.
Happy shooting!
Paulo & Jacques | Massie Bros