A variety of visual effects can be applied to your photos not only in a graphic editor. You can create them right during the photo shoot! All you need are some visual aids and a bit of imagination. Using homemade filters has several advantages.

  • Unique shots. This is a good solution for those who strive to create unconventional photos.
  • Saving time on editing. Spend less time retouching photos with the photo editing app RetouchMe or by applying the desired effects in real-time.
  • The stimulus for imagination. Another homemade filter can give you an interesting idea for a photo or accidentally generate an unusual effect.

creative photo filters

Making photo filters with your own hands

  1. Projector. Gives great freedom in choosing effects for a portrait or other indoor shooting. Projected images will lie immediately in the foreground and background, which allows you to combine reality with any pictures, abstracts and colors.
  2. Splash water. Spray some liquid directly on the lens glass to get whimsical iridescent highlights playing in the sun. You can also shoot portraits, landscapes, and architecture outdoors through splashes of city fountains — especially effective when the weather is sunny.
  3. Prisms, crystals, or “sun catchers.” By shooting through a prism, you can create a rainbow or kaleidoscope effect in your photos, mirror doubles of the main image, iridescent bokeh, reflections of different elements of the frame, etc. Simple crystals (not necessarily glass) or “sun catchers” are less versatile, but also suitable for creative, bright filters.
  4. Glass ball. Allows you to get a reduced and inverted image with little distortion. Can be used as a filter or bizarrely combine a straight picture with an inverted one in the same frame.
  5. Scaffolding. Attach the fishing line to the edges of the lens with tape so that it crosses the glass. Multiple sections can be used. The light will play on the fishing line, creating a bright ray effect.
  6. Electric light. Blurred lights of the same or different colors will give the pictures a special atmosphere and festive look.
  7. Flexible color filters. Use gel photo filters in unconventional ways: combining colors to get original effects.
  8. Ice cubes. This option is designed for home or studio portrait photography. You need an ordinary glass, side stands for it (anything will do, for example, two stacks of books) and ice cubes laid out in an artistic mess. The model is placed under the glass.

creative photo filters

Useful tips for creating your photo filters

  • Use your imagination. You can use almost any material and objects as a photo filter. Experiment with the distance and the general position in front of the lens and the camera settings. Soon you will learn to predict what effect the presence of a particular object will have.
  • Turn off autofocus. Novice photographers and many experienced photographers often take advantage of auto-focus search features — modern models have this option set up nicely. However, by placing non-target subjects in the foreground, you’ll make sure the camera goes into a continuous process of refocusing. To avoid this and prioritize the elements of the frame, learn how to quickly adjust the focus manually.
  • Protect your eyes from glare. If you’re using a prism or other shiny objects to create effects, take care to protect your eyes. You can do this by using the Live View option or by using the screen instead of the eyepiece.
  • Experiment with the aperture. You can control the smoothness of the transition from the created effect to the object in focus. For blurry borders, set it to f/1.8 or f/3.5, larger values will make the contrast more pronounced.
  • Use a tripod. Using unusual filters while you’re shooting requires active manipulation, during which it’s easy to drop the camera or ruin the frame by shaking. Use an adjustable tripod to solve the problem!

Although “homemade” effects might seem too simple, they give a special atmosphere to your pictures and can be a real source of inspiration.


Sumit is a Tech and Gadget freak and loves writing about Android and iOS, his favourite past time is playing video games.

Write A Comment