digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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Photography Hacks to Help You Save Money

Photography is an expensive hobby and it's really easy to get carried away buying more “stuff”. So I thought I'd find some photography hacks to help you save money. These are accessories and gadgets that you can make at home or non-photography items get cheaply from non-camera stores.

In this first video the guys from the Cooperative of Photography (COOPH) bring you:

7 simple photography hacks

  1. The egg timer time-lapse rig
  2. Arty filter hack using a zip-lock bag
  3. The soft-focus vaseline filter
  4. Home-made flash diffuser
  5. ND filter hack using welder's glass
  6. Triangle string tripod
  7. Bokeh hack

From ZY Productions you get six more hacks

These are more what to use and not use, a camera setting and how you can use a few really inexpensive things that you may already have.

  1. Don't use a screen protector
  2. Blu-tac
  3. Direct AF point selection
  4. Use a business card to bounce the flash
  5. Step-up rings
  6. Mic stand as a flash stand

Digital Rev TV

This next one you might want to skip if you have tender ears. He does use a curse word now and then, but I think he makes photography fun and makes normally dry content a little more humorous. Watch at your own risk. He covers some of the similar things and adds:

  1. Make your own tripod carry strap
  2. Vaseline soft focus using glass from a photo frame
  3. Using tights (pantyhose) as a soft focus filter
  4. String tripod again
  5. Corn bag stabilizer
  6. Reverse lens macro using an empty toilet roll
  7. Strap graduated sky filter
  8. Bokeh kit
  9. Pin hole body cap
  10. Tin foil beauty dish

Some other photography hacks I'll add

  • Keep a shower cap in your bag (get them free in some hotel rooms) as a quick camera rain cover in case of emergencies.
  • Gaffer or duct tape is handy for many things. I've used it to attach my camera to my tripod when I forgot the insert, and I used it to make a makeshift lens hood (albeit a sticky one).
  • If you can't afford a 5-in-one reflector get a piece of foam board from a local art store for a couple bucks. It isn't as fancy but will do the job in a pinch.
  • Buy third party batteries – I get many of my batteries from BattDepot (find the one for your region) at a fraction at a price of the brand ones at camera stores. For example, the batteries for my Canon 5D MarkIII are regular about $65 USD, on the site they're $13.99. You can find similar options on Amazon as well – just be sure to read the reviews. I've never, in over 28 years in photography, had any issues with a third party battery (but don't quote me on it).

Hack your own camera bag

I've tried so many different bags, I have ones made by LowePro, ThinkTank, Peak Design (watch for a review on it soon after I try it out), Crumpler, Miggo, Benro, and more. Right now I have more than 10 bags (my husband thinks I have a problem), but no one bag fit all my needs. So I hacked my own travel backpack together. I use an Osprey wheeled back with zip off backpack for my travel luggage. I added this little insert to the backpack (see below) and how I can easily carry my Fuji X-T1 with 3 lenses, my laptop, chargers and all the bits for both, and personal items like a wallet, jacket, and water bottle. BONUS: it does NOT look like a camera bag, nor have a camera bag brand name on it!

My Osprey luggage – one becomes two and I made the backpack into a custom camera bag.
For less than $20 I added this padded insert to protect my camera and lenses inside the daypack.

Still want more photography hacks?

The COOPH guys do it again with 7 DIY photography hacks using household items. I'll let you watch it and find out for yourself what they do!

Got any other to share with us?

What photography hacks and money saving things have you discovered? Please share them in the comments and let's help each other. Remember it's not about the gear it's what you do with it. So sometimes a little cheating on the equipment end isn't such a bad thing.



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