9 Weird Photography Tricks That Actually Work!

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Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time reading photography tricks and tips online that I never see anything new anymore.  So, I set out to make this useful collection of some weird and cool photography tricks that aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill variety.

I hope you find some joy and learn a new tip or two.  When you’re done, comment below with what cool photography hacks you’ve learned!

DSLR screwed onto a lamp as a tripod in a pinch.

Tripod in a pinch!

1. No tripod?  Use a lamp!

Want to take a group photo but don’t have a place to set the camera?  Just whip the lamp shade off a lamp and screw your camera onto the lampshade-holder.

The thread size of the bolt on a lamp shade is exactly the same size as the filter thread used on tripods, so your camera will easily attach.

Not only will your party and indoor pictures look better, but you’ll look like MacGyver in front of the group.  Not bad.  This tip doesn’t come in handy every day, but you’ll like the coolest photography nerd on the planet when the situation arises.



Candy dispenser on the hotshoe of a camera.

Gets attention of the kids and you can give them a treat for looking at the camera!

2. Hotshoe PEZ Dispenser for kids

Shooting photos of kids can be quite the feat.  It seems like they are interested in looking at everything BUT the camera.  I have two kids of my own, and I know that the only way to get them to smile and look at the camera is with a good bribe.

The perfect solution is to buy a simple PEZ dispenser on the hotshoe of your camera!  The base of the PEZ dispenser is a tiny bit wider than a standard hotshoe, so you’ll have to trim it just slightly with a kitchen knife before the shoot.

Then, when the kids are being good and looking at the PEZ dispenser, you can have them come up and grab a little candy periodically during the shoot.  It’s pure genius.


3. Day to night in a flash

Turn your flash to FULL power and expose for the flash instead of the ambient light.

Turn your flash to FULL power!

Sometimes you’re out shooting portraits on a bright sunny day and the light just looks too… natural.  I often find this is the case when shooting a wedding or engagement when I’m shooting at a park or other outdoor location and I get bored with the same lighting in every shot.

One trick that I really enjoy is to turn up the power on my flash to the max.  This will, obviously, make the subject extremely bright.  If you change your camera settings to expose for the subject, it will make the background look extremely dark because the flash didn’t hit it.

This makes it look like it’s night time even if it’s the middle of the day.  Click here to read a full explanation of this technique.


Backward lens for shooting macro

This photo shows the lens held out from the camera so you can see what’s happening, but you’ll want to hold the lens right against the camera for this to work.

4. Remove the lens for macro

This is the coolest camera trick I’ve seen in a long time.  If you take off your lens and hold it in front of the camera, you get a macro lens!  I was really skeptical about this, but I just tried it and it worked like a charm.

There are four things you need to know about using this trick: (1) Your camera won’t take a picture with the lens off unless you’re in manual mode.  (2) The best focal length seems to be around 50mm, so either a 50mm prime or an 18-55mm kit lens would be perfect! (3) Obviously, you lose autofocus since your lens isn’t attached to the camera.  Focus is achieved by simply moving closer to or further away from the subject, and (4) The camera can’t open up the aperture, so you’ll do it with your hand.  On the back of the lens (the side you mount on the camera), move the little plastic slider piece that controls the aperture.  If you look in the lens while doing it, you’ll see the hole open up.

If you want to take this a step further, you can buy a reverse lens mount for $5 or $10 which should sharpen up the images quite a bit since it will hold the lens more solidly.  Also, be sure to use a tripod when doing this or any other macro photography.  With such fine detail, even a tiny movement can destroy the sharpness.


5. Delete tourists from travel photos

This little technique makes it EASY to get rid of the tourists in your travel shots!

This little technique makes it EASY to get rid of the tourists in your travel shots! (Photo from stock)

This is an awesome trick for travel photographers.  Sometimes you’re at an amazing location, but there are people in the way of your shot.  If you want to take a picture of a landmark and people are in your shot, you will likely spend the rest of your adult life cloning people out of the shot unless you try this technique.

Step 1: Set your camera on a tripod.

Step 2: Take a picture about every 10 seconds until you have about 15 shots, depending on how fast people are walking around.

Step 3: Open all the images in Photoshop by going to File > Scripts > Statistics.   Choose “median” and select the files you took.

Step 4: Bam!  Photoshop finds what is different in the photos and simply removes it!  Since the people moved around, it fills the area where someone was standing with part of another photo where no one was there.

UPDATE: The “statistics” script mentioned here is only available in Photoshop Extended or in the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop; however, as someone mentioned in the comments, you can get a somewhat similar effect in recent versions of Photoshop Elements by going to Enhance > Photomerge > Scene Cleaner.

This tip is mentioned in an outdated article on lifehacker.


bokeh-trick6. Shaped bokeh out of paper

We all love to see beautiful bokeh in the background of our photos, but what you may not know is there is a really simple way that you can change the shape of the light bursts in your bokeh.

All you have to do is cut out a piece of black paper the size of the front element on your lens.  Then, use a sharp kitchen knife or razor blade to cut a shape on in the middle of the paper.  The shape should be slightly larger than a thumbnail or about the size of a U.S. nickel.

Keep in mind that you’ll only see this effect work if you are shooting with a large aperture, so a 50mm f/1.8 would be a great choice for this project.  If you’re shooting at f/5.6 on a kit lens, you likely won’t see the effect at all.

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This is a photo of the setup for this technique.  When you overexpose the background and crop the reflector out, it looks like a perfect white background.

This is a photo of the setup for this technique. When you overexpose the background and crop the reflector out, it looks like a perfect white background.

7. Reflector as studio backdrop

Sometimes when I’m shooting outdoor portraits, I see a pose or an expression for the model that makes me wish we were in the studio so I could photograph them on a white background.  Sometimes a white background is the best way to focus all attention in the photo on the model, and it gives the photo a bright and clean look.  When I’m in this situation, I often grab a simple $25 reflector and use it as a studio backdrop on the spot!

The trick for making this technique work is to use positive exposure compensation.  The camera will try and dim down the white background to a dull gray because it thinks the white is overexposed.  About 1 stop of exposure compensation will make the reflector background look bright white.  If you’re still learning to shoot in manual mode or how exposure compensation works, you might take a look at my beginner photography class that I offer online.


Cool photography tricks!  I love knowing handy tips like that!

Ready for Pinterest!

8. Camera strap GND filter

This is my all-time favorite landscape photography tip because I use it all the time and most people have never heard it before.  When shooting landscapes, the sky is often much brighter than the rest of the landscape so you need something to darken down just that top part of the photo.  A graduated neutral density filter does exactly that.

A GND filter is a piece of glass that is darkened at the top and which gradually tapers off to clear.  The photographer simply holds this filter in front of the lens to cover the sky and it darkens the sky without affecting the landscape underneath.

Call me forgetful, but I often forget to bring my GND filter with me when I’m shooting landscapes, and it can ruin the shoot if I can’t darken down the sky to balance the exposure.  One trick I’ve learned is that you can simply use anything dark (a black piece of paper, a camera strap, etc) to hold in front of the lens for part of the exposure and the same thing is accomplished.

For example, while filming video tutorials for my intermediate online photography class, I was shooting waterfalls in Oregon and needed to darken the sky without darkening the rest of the frame.  Since it was early morning, I was using a 2 second exposure.  All I had to do was hold my camera strap over the top half of the glass on my lens for 1 second, and then remove it.

This makes it so the top half of the picture only sees light for half of the time, so it is much darker.  And no, you won’t see the camera strap in the photo since it’s black.


9.  Insulation reflector board

I debated whether or not this counts as a “camera trick” or if it’s really just a super-awesome reflector that costs basically nothing.  Call it what you will, but it works so well that I have to share this tip.

Circular reflectors are excellent for improving the lighting in your outdoor portraits.  By holding them to reflect the sun’s light, you can fill in shadows and put beautiful highlights on the face of the person you’re shooting.  However, most circular reflectors only work for a head-and-shoulders shot and only for one person.  You can purchase a large full-body reflector, but they usually cost around $70.

The back side is white.

The back side is white.

One trick I learned from a photographer who shoots celebrities is to simply purchase insulation board for $5 and then cover the back and edges with white duct tape.  You’ll find insulation board with reflective silver backing at any home improvement store.  It comes in several sizes.  I chose one that is 4 feet (1.2 meters) in height.

This simple solution gives you a very large reflector that is lightweight, and you can use one side to reflect silver and the other side to reflect white.  Awesome!

Oh, and I also use this as a way to put a little wind in the hair of my models when I’m shooting someone with long hair.  Just have an assistant fan up and down with the reflector board and it gives just the right amount of wind to give the hair some bounce without blowing the models away.

10. Get the Popular Trick Photography eBook

1-TPSE2I can highly recommend Evan Sharbaneau’s Trick Photography and Special Effects eBook if you’re interested in learning more photography tricks.  I’ve given a few ideas for photography tricks in this article, but this book really is quite good.

I like that the book has so many projects of exactly how each photo is taken so you can use the ideas in your own photography.

You can find out more about the book here.


  1. L.B.

    I enjoyed this post! You mentioned a link article at the end of #3 but there is no link. Would be interested in reading it when you post it. Thanks!

  2. Matt

    I love #3 and want to learn a little more about it, but the “click here” link is missing.

  3. LoRey

    I’d also like to learn about #3. Messing with my camera I accidentally got a shot just like this that turned out great. But I have no idea how I did it and for the life of me can’t recreate it! Great post! very helpful tips!

    1. Nitin

      HI..!!! i liked the 5 article but while trying in in Photoshop i didn’t find “statistic” option in “scripts”… please help..

  4. Jordan Brooks

    number 5 will save me a lot of time, never thought to search for an automated way of doing it. Never thought of 8 either and 9 could be useful. Surprised to learn so much from a simple short tips page, good post.

  5. Jill

    Just tried the macro and all my shots were black? Am I doing something wrong?

    1. Rafi

      For Just a few $ you can find a metal ring to put between the camera and the lens. That will help you to hold everything firmly and the focus will be more stable. the focus is very narrow in this shooting mode
      I got a set of 3 rings – gives 7 optional distances – on Amazon for less than 5$.

  6. Author
    Jim Harmer

    @Jill – THANK YOU! You reminded me of one more step I forgot to mention in the tutorial. You have to use your finger on the back of the lens (the side that mounts to the camera) and move the little slider that opens the aperture. I’ll update the tutorial.

  7. Melissa

    I’m really interested in #5. However, I have Lightroom 4, but not Photoshop. Is there an automated method for doing this in Lightroom?

  8. Eric

    Number 5 is my favourite. I’ve been using PS since version 3 and never knew about this.

  9. Dara

    I have also used a silver car windshield sun/heatblocker as a silver light reflector in a pinch. It’s not elegant and you need some way (or some_one_) to keep it in position, but it works.

  10. Dirk

    This is a cool article. I’m definitely going to use your tips. Thank you!

  11. Madge

    As a beginner ( semi professional ) This is GOLD ! I can’t wait to try it all out. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. Bri

    Never knew about number 5. I dont enjoy most of my vacation photos because of moments like this. Finally! Thank you!

    enjoyed this!

  13. Michael

    Concerning the insulation reflector board, I saw someone using a windshield reflector – the type that you place inside your car window to reflect the heat. One side is silvered and as it folds up, it seemed like a “bright” idea. But isn’t the quality of the reflected light from this sort of surface rather harsh?

  14. Angelique

    Great article, and love that they’re unique and not the same as every other article filled with tips and tricks that everyone already knows. #5 is really helpful and my fave. :)

  15. Mark Johnson

    Awesome, in our current climate tips like these are invaluable, I’m certainly going to try a few of these out, particularly the large reflector!

  16. Connie

    I use Photoshop Version CS2 and under File > Scripts it doesn’t have Statistics. Do you know if there is another way to achieve Step #5 in this order version? I pretty much just play around with this, so I won’t be spending the money to upgrade. Thanks.

  17. Sandy

    @Connie – you can do this in Photoshop Elements under Enhance>Photomerge>Scene Cleaner. It isn’t automatic but doable. The newest version PSE11 is well worth the >$100 for the program. I noticed at Office Max that Bamboo has digital tablets with the program included (just make sure it is #11 and not an earlier version). You spend less than $100 to get the tablet and program.

  18. Ina

    I am trying No. 5, but I cannot find in Photoshop CS6: File > Scripts > Statistics. Where does one find this script.

  19. Ina

    I think I found my own answer to the problem. It appears that the script is only available in Photoshop Extended and not in the standard version of Photoshop.

    Therefore, I will have to wait until I subscribe to Photoshop CC AYK, Photoshop extended will be included in Photoshop CC. perhaps, that’s one of the few shining lights in the new Adobe subscription plan.

  20. Author
    Jim Harmer

    @Michael – No, the light from a reflective surface isn’t harsh. It can be BRIGHT if you’re too close for the conditions, but it is very soft light because of the large size of the reflector board.

    Remember, large light source = SOFT light.

  21. Julie Ireland

    These are brilliant…and I’m still laughing out loud over #1. Thanks, Jim…you’re very clever and kind to take the time to share these groovy tricks with us!

  22. Christina

    Thanks so much Jim! Awesome tips! I can’t wait to try the Pez trick. Also, the insulation board is genius, also the lamp tripod! I look forward to ALL of your tips!

  23. campfool

    awesome! now I’ll have a perfectly reasonable explanation for wearing a lampshade at parties!

  24. Araceli Gutierrez

    These are awesome tricks… I am definaty trying the macro lens trick and play with that…

  25. Stu Marks

    You and I have “talked” a few times, Jim. But this PhotoShop trick of “automatically cloning out” tourists is worth it’s weight in Canon lenses. I’m sharing this with all of my ‘togger friends in both markets where I am working: Chicago and Portland, OR. Large thank you, Jim.

  26. Doug Nixon

    These are just great! I really like the first one, using the lamp as a tripod. My other favorites are 7 and 9 which I am going to combine into one. The deleting tourists solution sounds great and will have to try that as the cloning tool gets old fast. Thanks for taking the time to put this list together.

  27. Kathryn

    Hi, I like the reflector idea! I’m getting one tomorrow!!! and how to get people out of photos. The pez dispenser sounds good. I read somewhere that young children only see black and white, and shapes. I printed out a checker board pattern on my printer and attached it the my Nikon 910 flash, cutting out a whole for the flash, it worked, the kids looked at it for awhile, enough to get a few good shots. THANKS for the tips, keep them coming.

  28. Debbie

    Question on reflector board. You had to duct tape the “whole backside with white duct tape”. Didnt that take a huge amount of time?

  29. Noel Bunce

    Love Items 2 & 5 particularly.
    Often when shooting children you either get no “smile” at all or a horrible “cheesey” grin which is YUK!
    So often I get totally frustrated when I’m trying to take a holiday shot and folk walk in to the shot and just look at you! This is a FAB tip!!

  30. Jim Harmer

    @Debbie – Nope! Only took about 5 minutes to tape the back of the board. You’re using very long strips, but only about 10 strips wide. It doesn’t take too long to put on 10 strips of tape.

  31. Roadkill

    Number 8 is cleaver and even though I have a GND filter, it sometimes is the wrong diameter and I end up holding the stupid thing in front. Look forward to trying this one out.

    For number 1, make sure you have a substantial lamp base, or it could be “lights, camera, no action” – ouch!

  32. Angie

    For #5, you can use the preview button to set the fstop as well – it just takes a little coordination. Dial in the fstop you want your lens to be open to, press down the exposure preview button, and hold it down as you remove the lens. The lens keeps the aperture until you put it back on the body.

    The backward lens is a super nifty trick!

  33. Patrick Lyons

    For number 1 if your outdoors and have no lamps, take any empty plastic bag, fill with sand/dirt/whatever is abundant and near by, instant sandbag. Set your camera on it and shift it all around until you have the angle you want and the camera is stable. (Also an empty plastic bag is a LOT lighter and easier to carry on long hikes then a real sandbag, or tripod)

  34. Joni

    The problem with #4 is you risk your camera. Dirt and scratches on the sensor can destroy your camera. Also don’t forget to clean the sensor before replacing lens.

  35. D. Travis North

    Two comments about #4 (freelensing):
    1) Oldskool lenses with aperture rings seem to work best. I have a classic Nikon 50mm that I use, I can open that aperture way up or stop it down to get the DOF that I want/need. Reverse mounted, a wide-open aperture is really shallow DOF and sometimes hard to focus.

    2) My favorite accessory for macro is my reverse mounting ring. I saw a few comments about risks to the sensor. Well a reverse mounting ring (which is only about $20) screws into the front of the lens like a normal filter, but it has a mount for your camera. Just make sure you get one specific to your camera mount. Not only does this alleviate sensor risk concerns, but it also makes the setup easier to use.

  36. Eric Bier

    #5 Delete Tourists

    To be sure to be able to delete tourists, look through the viewfinder and watch an area until no tourists are there, take the shot, and then watch another area. After several shots, depending on how many tourists, you will, most likely, have eliminated them from all critical areas. Keep the camera on the tripod and do not move it during this procedure. Then let Photoshop do its magic!

  37. Don

    I have bookmarked your site for future reference ….so simple and yet effective. Deleting tourists….have been looking for an ‘excuse’ to purchase photo shop, this tip alone makes it worthwhile. Many thanks.

  38. Charlene

    Not sure if anyone is still monitoring comments on this post, but I thought I’d try anyway. I’ve tried Tip#4 several times and still come up with a totally black photo. Yes, I’ve held the little button that opens the aperture and have the camera in manual mode. I soooo want this to work. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Nikki

      @Charlene- You have to set the shutter speed pretty low. Even in full sun, I need at least 1 sec. shutter for it to be properly exposed.

    2. Emily

      Try turning the lense around so that you are capturing the image through the part that would be connected to the camera normally. and holding it close against the camera .. you are going to have to move in order to focus .. you are basically doing the focusing yourself .

  39. Pieta

    For trick 8 I use an polarisation filter, makes your blue sky darker blue and your photo looks like one of a vacation folder! I can twist the filter as I am taking pictures, I have one on every lense. Also you can turn reflecton in glass up or down…
    Im from the Netherlands, so im not sure if polarisatonfilter is the correct translation… (not even sure if my English is understandable) :-)

  40. Thomas

    Also, on deleting tourists (#5), in older versions of Photoshop (and other editors), throw the images in separate layers and manually erase the tourists in each. Flatten the image, and your photo is free of tourists. This takes a little longer, but if you don’t have the latest/greatest, it works.

  41. Peachy

    I tried use your trick to remove tourist using File>Scripts>Statistics, but can’t find the right steps in Photoshop CS6 — please help!!! Thanks.

  42. offtheback

    The tip about the Pez dispenser is the funniest I’ve seen and extremely useful.

  43. Charlie

    This is all wonderful information to assimilate. It seems to be coming in and sticking. I’ve been using a D700 for years now and find that these tips really come in handy..

    1. Emily

      you are goign to want to Try turning the lense around so that you are capturing the image through the part that would be connected to the camera normally. and holding it close against the camera .. you are going to have to move in order to focus .. you are basically doing the focusing yourself .

  44. Jones

    Found an amazing course on

    Wow, wow, wow! Great stuff!

  45. Rafi

    Thanks for all the great ideas!
    About #5, if you don’t have Photoshop you can use a tripod and very dark ND filter and even a small aperture and shoot very long exposure. this will clear the moving objects from the final picture. I took a picture of the Golden Gate bridge in mid day. #8ND filter, f/22,and 25 seconds exposure and it looks empty. no cars at all!

  46. Morgan Calvi

    I love tip #5, but only have CS5 and not Elements or Extended…what now?

  47. wowApic

    Well said, step by step techniques & tricks are explained very well. Valuable tips to the beginners and the professionals.

  48. Photo TipMan

    These are definitely unusual tips that some photographers would call weird, but creativity and thinking outside the box usually leads to improvement.

    I especially like the PEZ candy dispenser idea on the hot shoe. I photographed 5 grandchildren yesterday for a client and they were all under the age of three. OMG-it was comical to get all of theri attention at the same time.

    Also got a kick our of your macro tip for removing the lens, although I am a bit nervous about having the inside of the camera body open to dust when making exposures.

    Keep up the good photography posts!

    Photo TipMan

  49. Mkt

    I’ve used a couple of these techniques to successful results. The reflector specifically is simple and cheap when you need to improvise. I think the lamp idea is a bit silly though.

  50. CheyAnne Sexton

    love these tips. the macro one, the reflectors ones and the travel shots and how to get people out of them. Thank you much.
    peace n abundance,
    [link removed]

  51. Wolfie

    Very cool ideas! I can use some of them in the near future, especially the Pez dispenser (Easter pix) and ‘reflector’
    thanks very much.
    Lisa er… Wolfie

  52. Dave Mills

    Hey, for the longest time I couldn’t wrap my head around special effects and trick photography. There is a lot of information out there but not many good step by step tutorials. Luckily I finally found Improve Photography and it’s really easy to follow!

    I feel like I went from an average photographer to a rockstar, everybody loves my new photos. I only wish I would have found this sooner so I could have mastered my craft a little more by now. If I can help somebody achieve something great it would make me so happy!

  53. judywisconsin

    Instead of the insulation board, you can use a window shade/reflector they use in warm climates to keep your car a little cooler. Bonus is they fold up accordian-style and are very easy to carry.

    And just this morning I saw a video down the same line as the macro tip (removing the lens). This guy actually tilted the lens (up, down, side-to-side) and made his own tilt-shift lens. Haven’t tried it, but it looked kind of cool!

  54. Jules

    Your macro tip, shoot with the lens off… I think you might get dust on the sensor doing that. I think when the sensor is on it has a static charge and pulls in dust… At high F-stops you will see many dirt artifacts on your image if you do that often.

    Like the PEZ tip, guess I will wire my remote flash triggers from now on my kid photo shoots!

  55. Chris

    Definitely have to try out the one w/ the other tourists in the photos! Will be awesome for my Europe trip!

  56. Cramer

    Some of those ideas sound great. I’m going to try #2 out asap. I did a portrait shoot fundraiser last year and could not get a toddler to look at the camera and smile for anything, not even a cupcake bribe. This might just make my life easier this year. Thanks so much for sharing.

  57. Lynn

    Amazing tips ! Thank you so much for sharing these ! I have always wondered how to remove people from my photos without photoshop …I Love all of these tips :)

  58. joena

    This is really helpful. “Put a PEZ dispenser on your hotshoe” After reading this sub-heading I start laughing but after reading that part I feel that it will work.

  59. Simon

    Trick 5: The median filter, to remove tourists, by using multiple photos, can be done best by:

    > convert *.jpg -evaluate-sequence median OUT.jpg

    “convert” is part of ImageMagick suite, available for all operating systems.

  60. Alex

    LOL…a lot of these will not work. Don’t try to be a photographer if you aren’t one and don’t own the right camera, lenses and other equipment. Your photos won’t turn out good if you follow these.

  61. Jim

    Awesome tips.
    A person with an expensive camera, or a person with a value camera is still classed as a photographer.
    Knowledge of anything is mostly gained through experience, therefore starting off with cheaper equipment is still a start.
    Once skills are gained, and money is made from the sale of quality shots, then better quality equipment can be obtained.
    All you need to succeed is enthusiasm.
    If in doubt, check out David Bailey’s shots taken with a meagre Olympus mju compact camera. Amazing photos made with a true point-&-shoot cheap camera!

  62. Leslie

    Go easy, you were once a beginner too! I am a beginner, but have some fantastic shots that pop up sometimes! You shouldn’t be so discouraging. I know photogs that can get fabulous pics, without editing, from Canon Rebel camera’s and no extra tools. If someone has a great eye, I bet they could even out-do you at times…

  63. BIJAY

    I like all above explanation, But i am sure Flairsen Photography Tips and Tricks are more effective between entire ideas.

  64. Moonbird

    Whether you’ve got tons of cash to pour into a high-end camera or you’re shooting with a thirty-year-old film camera, the principle remains the same: a camera is a *tool*. Experience, imagination, eye, timing, a little luck and a lot of hard work make a photographer.

    Just because you can afford to pour thousands into a camera and equipment, that doesn’t automatically make you a photog; by the same token, just because you shoot with something simple and/or old, that doesn’t mean you’re not.

    Thanx for the tips, Jim– I’ll be certain to give them a whirl!


  65. AJ

    You don’t need the best camera for the best photography you need a natural eye. I’ve got a good quality camera and am a rubbish photographer as I just don’t have that ability to spot the moment. My 11 year old does, and WOW the pictures she takes are outstanding and her camera was £30. The best camera in the world won’t make you an amazing photographer.

  66. Lindsey Garber

    Hi there. I loved reading these tips! I have a kind of random question. It may be pointless in even asking, but thought I’d give it a shot anyways ( pun not intended!). So, I am really into nail art and I think I’m pretty good at it. I’ve been approached by quite a few polish makers who would like me to use their products and photograph them. This is a very exciting prospect for me, except…I have virtually no way to take decent photos. I own only an iPad mini, which has no flash. I don’t even own a cheapie camera. So, as you can imagine, it’s extremely difficult to get a decent photo. Trying to photograph my left hand while snapping with my right is not easy. I know at there are tons of things that I can buy, problem is, I am literally flat out broke. I’m a newly single Mom and funds are extremely tight. I’d love to find a way to make this work out b/c it is my therapy. Sounds cheesy, but It soothes my soul,I’ve always wanted to get into photography but that’s not really possible right now. Anyways, aside from my rambling….I was wondering g if you had any tips at all. As I stated, money is very limited ( I cannot really buy much of anything) so any cheap DIY TIPS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. I have a hard time with lighting, keeping the iPad steady,etc. I really need to find a way to make this work. It’s one of the few things that bring me happiness. Any tips? Thanks in advance.

  67. ricardo

    Just love the tips!!!!! Ricardo [link removed as violation of comment policy]

  68. Cest Moi


    As the camera on your ipad is in the corner try placing the centre of the ipad on a tumbler or glass as a makeshift tripod (experiment until you find the best height).

    Next try (something like tip 7) use a sheet of white paper on the table under your nails to focus attention on your nails.

    The focus recognition on the ipad should pick out your nails as the focal and exposure point (yellow square). If not, just tap the screen where your nail is to tell the ipad to clue it’s attention on your nail.

    Try to find a room with natural light and avoid casting shadows from yourself, the ipad or other objects around.

    Let us know how it goes.

  69. Sandra Broadston

    Thanks for the tips Now I know what to when things to don’t look right.

  70. Ramona

    Has anyone tried #5 using PS Elements 11? Would love to know if it works…. Loved tip #9. What a great idea!

  71. Jairus Marl

    Learning new trick photography ideas is a best practice to improve your photography skills! Trick photography is one of the friendliest subgenres of photography, because it gives “shooters” the freedom that they wouldn’t have if they practiced purely conventional photography.

  72. Scott Cove

    Just stumbled across these; a fantastic guide! Another trick we use outdoors is to take a simple black golf umbrella to reduce glare and uneven highlights while shooting on hot, sunny days of under trees where shadows become distracting.

  73. Mrs. Banu

    Hello, thank you for the wonderful information. I would like to ask you a question if possible. I just bought Olympus Stylus 1 but in a photography class I attended recently the instructor told me olympus XZ-2 iHS is a a better choice. I bought the camera for a thailand trip and I am a beginner so I will use mostly aperature priority and program mode. I don’t know if I should return the camera and exchange with Xz or just the keep the stylus 1! I will travel to thailand in 2 weeks and if you can help me I would really appreciate. Thank you so much.

  74. Sarah

    I was a decent hobbyist photographer back when all photos were printed from film but I let my skills fade when it became necessary to transition to digital SLRs and RAW editing. I recently picked up my camera again and made an investment in two quality lenses because I needed a hobby to help redirect the stresses that come with being a 40 year old veterinary student. I don’t have the time to experiment with the new equipment at length but I’ve been able to enjoy what I’m shooting because of the tips you offer on this site. Even if I only have half an hour, I throw my camera bag over my shoulder and shoot using at least one new technique each week. Thank you!

  75. John

    Some good tips there thanks – I had not seen the one using the reflector as a backdrop –

  76. Jonathan

    Haha, you can use a lamp as a tripod? That’s genius. I seriously would never have thought of that. Best tip ever.

  77. BigJimSneaker

    Dude…. it’s GAFFER tape, not duct tape. The best investment you can make as a photographer is to spend $10 on a roll of 1-inch gaffer tape (after you see how awesome it is, you’ll move up to the 2-inch size). You can use it to stick lights to walls, create props, fix anything, and the best part is that the adhesive is designed so that won’t pull the paint off the wall when you remove it and it never leaves a residue.
    Duct tape, by contrast, is useless. It destroys whatever you use it on, doesn’t hold things to walls very well, and leaves gunk on every surface it touches.

    1. Rhonda

      hes not sticking the insulation board to a wall hes only backing and edging with it leaving it on the board and not removing it. It will work fine for this project.

  78. Taposy Rabeya

    How much amazing!! very professional and creative article, thanks for sharing your technique with us. Please keep it continue for help us.

  79. Matt

    Been taking pics for a long time & seen many photography web pages…..THIS is one of the very best!
    Thanks for all the tips- especially the PS median cleaner & using the camera strap to darken or ‘hold back’ the sky!

  80. Crystal Rose

    This was soooo helpful for my beginning photographer self! I loved the tip with the camera strap–it’s so ingenious!!

  81. Sydney

    Hi, wondering if anyone can attest to the Trick Photography eBook’s credibility? has anyone bought it or is it just a scam? (just having trouble finding other credible reviews on it)

  82. Jayme

    Yes it is a great book with a ton of cool project and how they are done

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