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31 Amazing Photography Hacks to Try Today (DIY Camera Hacks)

Last updated: September 21, 2023 - 13 min read
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Sometimes you look at a photograph and fall off your chair. It looks impossible, is that Photoshop?

Not always!

You don’t have to spend a fortune on high-end photography equipment to take incredible shots. With simple photography hacks and DIY tricks, you can create mind-bending images yourself!

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Our Best DIY Photography Hacks

Go through our list of 31 photography hacks to learn how to level up your photography without breaking the bank!

1. Using a Blank CD Case As a Rain Guard for Your Lens

Who uses CDs anymore, right? The cases seem to be useless once you stop using them for storing CDs.

But they are made of strong plastic. And that makes a durable rain guard for your lenses and camera.

For this hack, you’ll only need a CD case, polythene, an easy-to-tear gaffer tape, a ruler, a pair of compasses, and a sharp craft knife.

If you like shooting outside, try this idea before investing in an expensive rain guard!

A CD used as a rain cover photography hack
Photo by Techradar

2. Use Windows for Softening Images

If you put a layer of glass between you and your subject, your images are going to have a softer look. Windows are great tools for this purpose.

This is not only a great idea for portraits, but you can use it for still-life images or street photographs as well.

Reflections can add interesting elements to your composition. And they are also great for adding textures. Try bringing out the best by using them consciously.

Check out this video tutorial to try this photography hack yourself!

Reflection portrait of a girl in a window

3. Create a Perfect Top-Down Camera Holder

If you would like to take images from above, this DIY camera hack is for you.

Make your own top-down camera holder, following these instructions. Take selfies or flat lays with this simple idea!

You only need a piece of cardboard, some tape, and a self-timer function or an app for your smartphone.

Check out these step-by-step instructions to try it yourself!

Photo of a DIY camera phone holder
Photo by Happy Grey Lucky

4. Build a Simple DIY Softbox

A softbox is a not-so-expensive tool even if you are buying one. But it’s much more fun to make your own, not to mention that it’s more environmentally friendly too.

You won’t need anything you couldn’t find at home. Grab a box, use a plastic bag, scissors, tape, and a marker. Then follow our tutorial on how to make a softbox! Also, you’ll need a hot shoe flash to use this.

Image of a DIY softbox attached to a DSLR camera hack

5. A Shower Curtain Softbox

Unless you are a photographer with your own well-equipped studio, you are going to find this idea perfect for portraits.

You don’t necessarily have to buy a softbox when you can soften the light with a shower curtain.

A milky white curtain is the best choice. If you hang it between your subject and the light source, you have the same effect you would have with a softbox.

You can check out this video on how to make a shower curtain softbox for more details!

Image of a bride with curtain

6. Create Your Own Backdrop

Photographers use backdrops and backgrounds to frame and enhance their subjects. Knowing how to make your own backdrop is really helpful for product, portrait, or food photography.

In our DIY backdrop article, we compiled 21 ideas, they are all fun DIY projects to try.

Image of a brick style DIY photo backdrop

7. Make Your Own Backdrop Stand

We saw the ways you can make your own backdrop, now see what’s going to hold it.

A DIY backdrop stand doesn’t require expensive components, they are made of PVC pipes.

It’s a great solution because you can build and take it apart easily. It won’t take up too much space in your room. Also, they are quite stable, so you don’t have to worry about the quality either.

Check out our full article on how to make a background stand.

Image of PVC backdrop holders
Photo via Pinterest/Jennadesigns

8. A DIY Light Box

Why would you buy a light box, when we can show you three ways you can make one for yourself?

All of these DIY photography hacks can be done at home and you won’t need any special equipment to create them.

After you have one, you can use a DIY light box for product or macro photography. No one will notice that your images weren’t made in a mass-produced box!

Check out our DIY light box guide.

Image of a DIY lightbox

9. Create a Studio Snoot from a Pringles Tube

The shape, size, and silver interior of a Pringles tube make it perfect for a DIY light modifier.

Here you can see more ways you can use it. These are cheap but perfect tips you can take great advantage of whether you are shooting in a studio or somewhere else.

Here is our article on how to make DIY light modifiers.

Image of a DIY Pringles studio snoot photography hack idea

10. Make Your Own Bean Bag Tripod

A bean bag can be useful when you need to stabilize your camera, but you don’t have the chance or space to use a tripod.

Just place your camera on it, and it’ll help to keep it in place. It can be easier to carry and can be used in many ways even if you put it on the ground.

Luckily, you can make your own bean bag tripod at home.

Picture of a DIY bean bag tripod
Photo by Techradar

11. Create Amazing Decorations by Transferring Photos to Wood

If you are thinking about having your photos printed and used as decoration, you should try this DIY idea.

You can transfer the image to wood, this way it’s going to gain a unique look. The pattern of the wood looks great behind your shots.

In our article, we have two tutorials for this, and neither of them requires any special gear. A laser-printed image, sandpaper, a brush, a piece of wood, Mod Podge, and a cloth or sponge, and you are ready to create!

Image of a photograph transferred to wood

12. Transfer a Photo to Fabric

Do you love fun and unique tote bags? Or tutorials that show how to spice up your old clothes and accessories? Then this idea is for you.

You’ll need a laser-printed photo, some kind of fabric, transfer gel, a brush, water, a hairdryer, and an iron. Follow our tutorial on transferring photos to fabric for one of the most fashionable photo hacks!

Image of a girl wearing a custom fabric with photo

13. Remove Tourists From Your Pictures

There are a few photography hacks for removing strangers from your images. But the easiest one is probably doing it in Photoshop.

You should learn to use the clone stamp tool for this.

Follow our guide on removing people from photographs and making your images look like you were the only one there!

Retouched image with the Eiffel Tower

14. Create Magical Food Photos With DIY Flour Clouds

To create engaging food photography, and make the images look dynamic and lively, try out this DIY photography hack.

You’ll need some flour to it to create clouds around your subject. The photos are going to look like the food was made in another world!

Check out our article on making flour clouds for food photography for the full tutorial!

A creative DIY picture using flour as a smoke effect
Photo by Dina Belenko

15. Shoot Beautiful Soap Bubble Images

If you take a closer look at soap bubbles, they are amazing! This is why it’s worth experimenting with shooting close-ups of them. You can try filling the frame with them or letting them fly and randomly create different compositions.

Set up your own desktop studio, your lighting, choose a lens (macro is the best), and stabilize your camera. Then start blowing bubbles!

Check out the full guide on shooting soap bubble photography!

Soap bubbles on black background

16. Use Cloth for a Soft-Focus Effect

Creating a soft focus is one of the easiest DIY photography hacks. You just need a piece of cloth and a rubber band to attach it to your lens.

This way you can create a nice vignette at the edges of your photos. You can add effects like this during post-processing, but they won’t look this natural. This is the easiest way of reaching a misty, soft effect.

Check out the full tutorial on how to make a soft-focus effect here.

Hazy and faded portrait of a girl

17. Create Lens Flares With a CD

Lens flares are something you can turn on your side by using them creatively. It suits portraits the best, but you can experiment with other genres too.

You don’t need anything else but a CD. Use it to reflect light in front of your camera lens. The results are amazing and everyone is going to ask how you reached it.

This video tutorial on lens flares gives you more info!

Portrait image featuring a lens flare

18. Make Custom Bokeh Shapes

The shape of the aperture is the shape of the bokeh in your photos. You can use this idea for your portrait shots but simply shooting the bokeh has sightful results.

Cut the shape you wish from a piece of black cardboard, put it on the front element of your lens, and shoot through it.

If you want to try this great DIY trick, learn how to create custom bokeh effects here. 

Custom bokeh shapes with black background

19. Use Cardboard to Turn Your Smartphone Into a Pinhole Camera

Pinhole photography is about shooting without any kind of glass. A pinhole is like you have a really small aperture.

For this, you’ll only need a small piece of cardboard and a needle. Punch a little hole in the cardboard. By placing it in front of your smartphone camera lens, you can create a pinhole type of image.

This video shows how to turn your smartphone into a pinhole camera.

Image of a fountain captured with a pinhole camera

20. Create Interesting Shadows With a Sifter

Cleverly used shadows can spice up even a simple portrait. To have unique portraits, create patterns on your model’s face with a sifter!

This is one of the easiest DIY projects, and you can use any kind of sifter you find at home. Place it between your light source and the model’s face and move it until you like the results.

If the shadows are not clearly visible at first, you might need stronger lighting.

You can take this idea further by cutting shapes from cardboard and using them to create shadows.

Our article on gobo lighting will give you more inspiration!

Low key portrait image taken with a sifter

21. Turn Your Sunglasses Into a Filter

Sunglasses work like filters. When you put them on, you can see that the colors change.

You can capture this effect by simply placing the glasses in front of the camera lens. This trick can be used with smartphones or professional cameras, it doesn’t matter which one you have.

Focus through the glasses. You don’t want the glasses sharp and the rest blurred.

A pretty coastal photo photographed through the lens of a pair of sunglasses

22. Liquid Photography with Paint in Water Technique

If you drop paint into the water, the mixture can create amazing smoke-like effects.

You can use this idea creatively, and tweak the composition by adding different objects. You’ll see, it’s really not as hard as it seems!

We have a full paint-in-water tutorial you can check out next!

Liquid Photography with Paint in Water Technique

23. Shoot High-Speed Images at Home

High-speed photography results in breathtaking images. At first, they might seem impossible to take at home, but with this guide, you can learn how to freeze actions.

For a start, you’ll need a tripod, and a subject – it can be anything from a glass of water to balloons filled with paint. A wireless external flash and a backdrop are also needed.

Get started with our article on high-speed photography. If you learn the technical parts, only your creativity can limit your possibilities!

A creative picture of a colorful water droplet

24. Create Colorful Water Drop Photographs

If you are a great fan of colors and patterns, try this idea. Everyone will wonder how you made these images.

To create an amazing water drop photo, you only need a bowl of colored candy, a pane of glass, water, a sandwich bag, and a tripod. Follow our tutorial on how to shoot colorful water drops and wow everyone who sees them!

Colorful water drop photography

25. Use Photoelasticity to Add Abstract Rainbow Effects to Photos

The stress stored inside a material can create a colorful fringe pattern under the right circumstances.

To show it in your own photos, you’ll only need a clear plastic object, a polarizing filter, and a source of polarized light. If you follow our DIY Photoelasticity guide, you can learn how to tweak this idea for your own style!

Picture of a knife and spoon with photoelasticity effect

26. The Vaseline Vignette

Vaseline is not only for keeping your skin soft. It can be used as a DIY hack to create a soft focus in your images.

Rub a little vaseline on your front lens (only the edges) and see the magic. We would advise using a filter and putting the vaseline on it, rather than directly on your lens.

This article on using vaseline to create soft focus gives you some great tips on trying it yourself!

Vignetting image of a woman smoking

27. Use a Coffee Hood as a Lens Hood

This is another one of the easiest photography hacks you can try. A lens hood is necessary if you want to avoid unwanted light getting to your lens and ruining your photos.

Photographers often lose them, so it’s a great idea to replace them with a coffee hood. Keep this idea in mind, you can need it anytime.

Check out this video on how to use a coffee hood as a lens hood for extra tips!

Image of a cup of coffe

28. Create a Macro Lens From a Toilet Paper Roll

Macro lenses can be expensive. Luckily you have cheaper options if you would like to take magical macro photos. For this DIY photography hack, you’ll need duct tape, an empty toilet roll, and a 50mm lens.

Reverse the lens, then place and tape the toilet roll on the front of your lens. Then tape the other side of the toilet roll to your camera body.

When you pick up the camera, make sure to hold the lens in your hand. Now you are ready for getting close to your subjects!

This video shows you how to make a macro lens from a toilet paper roll.

Image of a photographer using a DIY macro lens to shoot a closeup of a women's eyes

29. Try Out Different Forced Perspective Ideas

These DIY photography hacks simply play with perception. You can create optical illusions to amaze everyone, and it’s easier than you would think.

Plan the scene beforehand, use small apertures, try a zoom lens, and don’t be afraid to experiment! It’s best to try to interact with your environment. And get inspiration from other artists’ work!

Our article has some great forced perspective ideas to check out!

An image utilising forced perspective

30. Use the Harris Shutter Effect

The Harris Shutter effect comes from the times of film photography. But you can easily create it at home in your DIY studio.

The main idea is to take three color photos of a scene involving a small amount of movement and an object that remains constant. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to use the Harris shutter effect for one of the most fun DIY hacks!

A picture of colorful smoke using Harris effect

31. Use Black Tile for Product Photography

Product photography can benefit from DIY hacks. If you’re a photographer who likes shooting images of different objects, try using a black tile.

It reflects the subject and adds a more compelling atmosphere even to a simple product.

This video gives you some extra tips on this black tile photography hack!

A photograph of a clock with a black tile and background


You might be surprised at how many camera hacks are there. People tend to rush to a store if they need something, but anyone can have the perfect gear with small hacks.

You can’t create a DSLR at home. But you can easily make a lens hood or a flash diffuser at home! Follow our tips and tutorials to add new items to your equipment. 

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