How to Give Your Photos a Dreamy, Lo-Fi Look Using Scotch Tape

If you’d like to take “lo-fi” photographs with your DSLR, but don’t want to spend money on a pricey specialty lens just for this purpose, you’re in luck. In this tutorial I’ll be showing you a simple “mod” with which you can get a similar effect for no money at all! You’ll need a piece of scotch tape, scissors and a lens.

First off all, wash your hands and clean the front and rear elements of the lens to avoid getting dust and grease on the lens.

Now you need to cut a square piece of tape. The size will vary according to the lens you will “mod”. In my case, for the Nikon AF-S 18-55mm lens, the size is around 23×23 millimeters (1×1 inches).

Stick the piece of tape on the frame around the lens rear element. You need to be careful not to stick the tape on the glass itself. You can also cut some of the tape’s edges, so it doesn’t touch the inner parts of the lens while zooming in and out. However, it’s nice to leave at least one edge so it will be easier to remove the tape when needed.

When you attach the lens into the camera you will instantly see the dreamy effect trough the viewfinder.

According to my tests this mod will not affect the auto focus capability of the lens or your camera’s metering system, nor will it cause any damage to your lens or camera. I don’t know if this trick will work on other lenses the exact same way, but it’s so simple that it’s worth trying. (Do it at your own risk.)

Here is the same technique on the Nikon AF-S 55-200mm lens. As you can see I stuck the tape on in a different way:

Results using the 18-55mm lens:

As a final tip, you can also try other types of tapes to get different results.

About the author: Alexandre Borges is an amateur photographer based in Blumenau, Brazil who likes experimental photography. He blogs at Balde Digital and you can see some of his work at his Flickr.

  • Viveca Koh

    Inspired idea, I like it! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Mike Jones, Esq.

    Now, this is smooth. I dig!

  • Me

    gaussian blur! :)

  • Emanuele Meazzo

    Or, take an out of focus shot with a dirty lens, and you are done…


  • Rick Bennett

    Crap. I just spent $7500 at Photojojo to get this same effect with a german-engineered-precisely-ground-plastic-lens-with-imperfections. Darn you!

  • tsy

    different strokes for different folks…

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  • A P Photography

    Just looks like crap photography. Nice try but no cigar.

  • Giles Robert

    I was amazed by the multi exposure (#28) of you. You are stunning and the process for this photo must have taken alot of planning and expertise. I wish I could do something close to what you have done. I still shoot film and I doubt I could do this method. My congrats I hope to see more of your work. Bob   

  • Viveca Koh

    Thanks very much Bob, I really appreciate your comments.  Not sure that you could achieve cloning technique with film by exposing the same frame without over-exposure – I think this really is a digital technique.  I enjoy producing them so there will be more to come in future!  Not sure whether you saw this ‘how I did it’ post on my blog, but it may be of interest: