Some of the best things in life are free. Similarly, some of the most amazing photography filters come at little expense if you know what you’re looking for. Photography is an expensive venture that goes beyond the cameras and lenses you invest in. Sometimes all you want is an affordable approach to give your portfolio an edgy, unique look without the hassle of unnecessary spending.
The good news is that Google can give you nearly unlimited websites and blogs that offer their own “photography hacks,” and homemade filters top the list. Just by looking around your home, you’ll find noteworthy gems to take with you on your next photo shoot or portrait session. The result? Inspiring photos. Check out three homemade filters below:
1. Plastic Wrap/Sandwich Bag
You’ve probably seen this as a tip from DIY Photography or pretty much any other blog about photo hacks, but to me this is still one of my most favorite filters. All you have to do is wrap the plastic wrap or bag around your lens and keep it on using a rubber band.
Shoot at a your widest aperture and focus manually to achieve a soft, blurry aesthetic that surrounds your subject beautifully. It’s best feature is simply how versatile it is in almost any lighting scenario, though I prefer to use this during golden hour.
2. Drinking Glass
This is likely my most favorite filter because of how effective it is in creating a dream-like quality in my photos. Truthfully, you might look a bit ridiculous if you show up to a photo shoot holding a bar glass in front of your camera. I certainly had my share of odd looks from bystanders! Aside from that, this is an amazing lens for blocking out distracting backgrounds and turning them into surreal environments.
The great thing about using drinking glasses is how different shapes and structures can give you various styles. It’s as simple as using the glass to cover half of your lens and shooting wide open.
3. Colored Yarn
I’ll admit this material was the most complicated to work with and probably the weirdest on my list. I wanted something that could be used as a supplement for my flash color gels to complete my blog. A good alternative would’ve been colored acetate sheets. Since I didn’t have any, I opted for some leftover yarn I found in a shoebox instead. After wrapping several feet of multicolored yarn around my lens hood and holding it down with scotch tape, I didn’t have much hope for the final results.
The yarn covering my whole lens made it impossible to autofocus. It only really worked with some extra sunlight pouring into the frame. However, the photos I took at the beach exceeded my expectations! The weather was bleak and overcast but the red and yellow yarn produced the impression of a warm summer day. I loved how the images had a film nitrate-like quality to them my typical flash gels couldn’t achieve.