Photograph like a Pro: 4 Creative Photography Techniques Using Objects at Home

2021-04-22EST10:24:21-18000
Fractals Header Creative Photography Portrait Image

Just like other forms of art, Photography can get boring sometimes. And, just like other artists, photographers are looking for the best ways to break the routine of monotonous images and produce photos that stand out.

There are few routes to choose when it comes to taking up your photography to the next level. For those whose budget is not a constraint, investing in a state-of-the-art DSLR and top-rated camera lenses is their way to improve their creative photography dramatically. However, if you are someone who’s just beginning his photography career or someone who still can’t cough up cash for professional level gear, you can still level up your photography game with these creative photography techniques using household objects that even highly paid and top-notched photographers are using!

Pro creative photography techniques that won’t chew up your budget

Just like in the art of painting where you can use different mediums to create pieces, there’s no limitation and restrictions on objects you can use to produce stunning photos. In fact, thought-leaders and innovators in the photographic community continuously curate innovative photography techniques which make their work stand tall against the crowd. In the last few years, this has happened at a mind-bending rate making birth on new terms like prisming, blending, and chimping which describe the use of household items to create visual effects in camera without post production. The net result has been a flood of new expressive artistic creativity that's moving the field in ways that hadn't been previously practiced.

If you also want to take your creative photography to the next level, there are some nifty photography hacks to help you add a wow factor to your photos without spending a huge amount of money on those costly cameras, accessories and lenses! We'll help you below by touching on objects you can easily find at home that even professional and advanced photographers are using to create new styles of work.

Create the striking ring of fire effect in your camera using a metal tube

The 'ring of fire' photography technique (aptly titled due to its ability to add a circular ring-flare around your subject) has been growing in popularity over the last few years. This technique involves placing a metal tube in front of the lens and using an external light source like the sun or strobe to shine through the tube and into the lens.

You can use any type of tubing that can reflect light like metal tubes or copper pipes. You can basically use metal tubes available in your house, but if you don’t have any, these tubes can be found essentially at any hardware store. This photography technique requires you some kind of light source, so if you are looking to shoot on cloudy days, this is not the most suitable technique that you can try. You can use different diameters of tubing that are well suited for your focal lengths and subject sizes, and you can also play with different light sources from the sun to christmas lights to get some cool photos.

This technique is useful, but can be difficult to implement correctly in the field, as an external light source must be in a very particular position relative to the lens to reflect the glare from the light source into the lens. Without an external light source, the utility of these tubes quickly approaches zero as they are only useful for their ability to reflect light. Without external light, you have just a mere metal tube obstructing your view. These are therefore less versatile than other options, but still offer creative possibilities if you can properly identify environments where they would be appropriate.

Create a rainbow effect using those old CDs lying around your house

Ah yes, the forgotten data storage system of the early 2000's! We all still have these lying around, but since their utility as a file storage has long eclipsed, I assume that most of you are not using CDs anymore. But don’t throw those CDs just yet!

The rainbow-colored light flares that the backside of CDs emit can be useful to add artistic flare to an image. This is one of the most used photography hacks but at a-high level of difficulty, as the shape of CDs don't compose very well with the rest of a frame. However, you can still pull this trick off by shooting through the hole in the middle of the CD at a long focal length of ~80mm+.

If done right, those old CDs can come handy on helping you achieve these creative photos!

Achieve Stunning Photos using Beads

Beading (for lack of a better term—care to suggest some in the comments?) involves sticking a bunch of, yes, beads, in front of the lens and shooting through them. Depending on the size of the bead, the effects can range from quietly subtle to highly pronounced stunning photos like these.

At a super-fast aperture, the beads are almost too tiny to notice, and you'll instead just notice the light signatures that they bounce into your lens. On the other hand, at slightly slower apertures, you can get the color, shape, and even reflections of the beads to be more highly pronounced, which can add a strong visual component to your images. I usually find that bigger beads produce more visually preferable effects.

You might have a hard time explaining to clients what you're doing, especially if you're shooting a high-pressure situation like a wedding. This makes using beads less than optimal for some photoshoot scenarios, but this technique can definitely create great results for portrait and engagement photoshoots.

The larger beads (~1in in diameter) used for the bottom-right hand picture were able to capture reflections of nearby trees. In crowded cities or urban environments there might be a lot of room to reflect interesting objects with beads.

The Best Photography Technique Yet: Prisming

Prisming is, of course, our darling child. A battle-hardened and proven way to create great images-prisming has been taking the internet by storm as photographers use different types of glass to augment their photos. Fractals are the easiest way to create great prismed images, but there are also other options available until you can get your hand on a set like mirrors, rectangular prisms, and alike.

Just look at how this prisming photography technique using Fractal Filters added a new life and art to these photos! If you want to learn more about how you can achieve these, we've written an entire guide here about this technique.

One last tip to take your creative photography to the next level

Creative photography techniques aren’t only for professionals or advanced photographers, you can also create killer photos by experimenting on different techniques like the mentioned above. Photography is an art that has no restrictions, and getting good results all boils down on learning to have fun with your camera and shoot a lot. Sometimes the results are rather unpredictable, so you should capture as many frames as possible to make sure you'll get one you like! As cliché as it may sound, the quote “practice makes perfect” is applicable to photography more than any other forms of art. Thus, the best tip that we can give is to never get tired of practicing and trying different techniques that could vastly improve your results.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, take a lot of shots, and give your photography a shot in the arm.


Nikk Wong

Published by Nikk Wong

Nikk Wong is a photographer, probably very much like yourself. He began his career shooting weddings and portraits, but quickly became obsessed with prism photography. Now, he spends his time building lenses and products in an effort to bring the magic of prisming to a mainstream audience. (Can I stop talking about myself in third person now?) 🙃
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