10 Cheap and Genius Camera Hacks That Will Significantly Improve Your Photography Skills

You don’t need expensive, professional photography gear to take stunning pictures. All it takes is a little time and patience to produce these camera hacks. At a fraction of the cost, these photography tips produce stunning results. Ready to get your hands dirty? Here are the DYI hacks that will help you achieve similar results normally achieved with advanced photography kits.

To help you become a better photographer, Cowapunga has assembled the Top 10 Genius Camera Hacks that have been tested by real photographers and are proven to work. Whether you want to soften a pop-up flash or transform a 50mm lens into a macro lens, these simple and genius camera tricks will take your photos to the next level.

Continue scrolling to learn the DIY hacks and rate your favorites!

#1 Use Tinfoil To Create A Wall Of Bokeh

It doesn’t take much to create a beautiful bokeh effect. All you will need is some tinfoil, a mirror and tape. Divide the tin foil into long strips, crinkle it up and roll it back out, taping the strips vertically along a level surface. Now you have your backdrop. Place your subject in front of the tin foil strips, make sure you have sufficient lighting, and start shooting.

how to create a bokeh effect, camera hacks
Image: COOPH

#2 Use Windows For A Softening Effect

Put your subject behind a clear glass door or large window. The subject should be about 12 inches (30 centimeters) from the glass. Sunlight and a little reflection will help create that softening effect when focusing and zooming in on your subject.

how to create a softening effect with window glass, camera hacks
Image: Jessica Kobeissi

#3 Cut Different Shapes In Cardboard For A Window Shadow

Get some poster paper or medium to heavy grammage stock paper and cut out different shapes. Experiment with lines, rectangles, squares, and arches. Imagination is the limit! It helps to have an assistant that will hold up the cut sheets near the light source.

cut out shapes to create window shadow, photography hacks
Image: Learn Photo Editing

#4 Use Your Sunglasses As A Filter

This is a no-brainer. Almost too simple. Take off those shades. Risk looking a little less cool for 30 seconds, and snap that photo.

use your sunglasses as a filter, Photography hacks
Image: COOPH

#5 Use A Sandwich Bag To Create Hazy Photos

Rip open the bottom of your sandwich back and scrunch it up around your lens making sure to leave a little overlap around the outer corners of your lens.

use a sandwich bag to create hazy photos, photography hacks
Image: Jesse David McGrady

#6 Get That Perfect Top-Down Photo For Your Instagram

This wins our most genius tip. So simple yet effective. Get a rectangle of cardboard. Fold in four equal parts then tap the outer flaps to the ceiling. We recommend using masking tape or washi tape so you don’t rip the paint off your walls.

Perfect top-down photo for Instagram, Photography hacks
Image: Happygreylucky

#7 Mimic Film Burn With A Matchstick

Attention! This is not for a suggested technique for pyros (or if you are shooting outside in a drought-ridden outback). Strike a match and carefully hold it off to the side, about 3 inches from your lens.

Matchstick film burn, photography hacks
Image: Sheldon Evans

#8 Use A Plastic Bag For A Softbox Effect

Glaring flash is never a good look on anyone. To achieve a softbox effect, grab a white plastic bag, fill it up with air and tie it tight like you would a balloon. Place the inflated white bag over your lens flash and, voila!

plastic bag for a softbox effect, photography hacks
Image: Sheldon Evans

#9 Instant Fake Macro Bokeh

This fake macro bokeh effect literally takes 1 minute. Find a macro bokeh effect on your desktop computer screen and place your subject in front of it. Done.

fake macro bokeh effect, photography hacks
Image: Sheldon Evans

#10 Use Torches To Add Lens Flare

Grab a mini flashlight and shine the light at an angle towards the outer edge of our camera lens. You will get a soft lens flare and subtle filtered light effect in your photo.

matchstick lens flare, photography hacks
Image: Peter McKinnon Report

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