My Favorite Photo Effects!
DIY Guide and Links to Products!
I’ve talked quite a bit on Instagram about star filters, prisms and cellophane - so I thought I’d finally give you a resource for all the info and links to purchase! Read on to see what my favorite in-camera special effects are and where to get them!
1. Cellophane: The cheapest and easiest DIY trick in the books. It’s a thin piece of transparent paper that feels almost glossy like shrink wrap. They come in different colors: blue, yellow, red, purple, white…the list goes on. You can buy this at your local craft store or order online. Here’s a link to the best deal. Lots of color options for you! You don’t need a huge roll like I bought, you only need like a 4x4 square to cover your lens. I’ve also seen people get similar effects using zip lock baggies! You can use it multiple different ways. I like to use cellophane either in the corner of the lens or shot completely through to make a ‘filter’ effect. See the photos below for the two different effects. I usually hold the cellophane in one hand and move it around to play with the effect. You can also take a rubber band or hair tie to secure it to your lens.
~examples of cellophane shot in camera~
3. Vaseline: Another cheap DIY! Super fun to play with and makes probably my favorite effect. It creates a smearing effect and causes any reflections/lights to ‘sparkle’! Make sure you buy a blank protective filter for this effect - DO NOT put vaseline straight on your lens. It could damage your expen$ive lens, and that’s not worth ruining. Here is a link to a protective filter. Make sure you get the right diameter size for your camera. Usually you can find this info right on your lens. Look for a geometric symbol that looks like: ø For example, my lens is a 24-70mm - but the diameter size is ø82mm. Here’s a video on how to find the diameter if you’re having trouble. Don’t worry about buying a super fancy filter - just get a cheap one. You’re going to end up smearing Vaseline on it anyways! 😂Once you have your protective filter, take the vaseline and line the corners of the filter with a tiny layer. I like to smear it in two opposite corners and leave the center untouched. That way when I’m shooting, my model and details are still in focus. But play around with it and see what you like best! I use good ol’ windex and paper towels to remove the vaseline. And sometimes for a combo move I will put a ‘star filter’ on my lens first and then stack the vaseline filter on top! Here is a link to purchase some vaseline (you honestly don’t need much, a little goes a long way!)
2. Prisms: There are so many different kinds of prisms out there…but to be honest I love THESE the best. They are the prisms everyone asks me about! They are so easy to use and made extremely well. They are built out of glass and they also come in a protective travel case. The case is the best - honestly I’m just as pumped about the case as I am with the filters!! It’s padded for protection! I love these filters because they are built with what looks like a brass knuckle handle - which makes it really easy to move while shooting. You won’t drop them! When you buy them, you’ll receive three different shaped prisms. I have listed below the three different effects you can make with each prism. These are a bit expensive, but worth the investment in my opinion. If you’re looking for other cheaper option, this would be my recommendation.
~here are three examples, one for each prism~
5. Star Filters: Sounds like a fake name, but that’s actually what they are called. 🤷Depending on the kind you get, the filter will split rays of light 4-8 times. The effect you get is similar to that ‘kira kira’ effect you see on Instagram. The filters will have lines etched into the surface of the glass, causing the flares you see. Here is a link to the filters I have for my 2470mm lens. And this is the filter I use for my macro lens. Make sure you get the right size diameter for your lens!! From my experience, I prefer a ‘number 4’ star filter. Which means it just splits the light into four different rays. I just like how simple and vintage it feels in comparison to a number 6 or 8.
~here are some examples of the filter used in camera~
4. Fabric: The best kind of fabric is something shear or with big holes - like shown below. I’ve taken a bit of ‘tulle’ fabric, cut it into a square and then used a rubber band to temporarily secure it to my lens. You can get fabric from your local craft store, or use an old dress in your closet - OR - what I like to do a lot of the time - is use the end pieces of fabric that my model is wearing for fun close up shots. Here is a great color options for tulle fabric. Its matte and light colored to give a dreamy effect. You can also purchase this pack of tulle if you want all the color options. One tip to add - sometimes your camera will have a hard time using auto focus while shooting through fabric. What I like to do is find my focus quickly before and then move the fabric in front of my lens. Be quick and don’t move too much so your focus stays!
~here are some different examples~
6. Spray Water Bottle: This is a very specific effect - but looks amazing when you pull it off! The key to this effect is having your subject backlit with a dark background. You want the sunlight to be hitting just the back of your subject. Take this spray bottle, fill it with water, and spray behind your subject to make a really cool light effect! Add a reflector to bounce light onto the front of your subject for extra credit :)
7. CD’s: WTF is a CD?!? Haha You can buy them at a second hand shop or here online. CD’s (or DVD’s) are great for making a fun ‘mirror effect’. They are reflective of light and color - and cost almost nothing. I’ll use them in the corner of my frame and play around with reflecting the sky or my surroundings. The effect works best when you are using a 70mm or higher lens and a shallow aperture like f2.8. It helps with blurring out the corners of the CD and keeping your subject the focus!
Thanks for reading! Hope all of this was helpful. Tag me in your photos on Insta if you end up using any of these tips! Would love to see what you create 💖All of these photos were edited with The Unicorn Presets! They are available for purchase here. Cheers, Champagne