Photographer Jesse David McGrady has a super simple trick for adding a hazy, ethereal effect to your photographs: wrap a plastic sandwich bag around your lens. It sounds ridiculous and silly, but the results you get are actually quite nice!
First, find yourself a sandwich bag — those thing plastic bags that you carry sandwiches around in.
On the closed side of the bag, use your hands to tear a hole. Don’t use scissors, since you’ll want the edges to be rough, uneven, and slightly random.
Take the open end of the bag and slide it over your camera lens, with the hole end extending a little past the end of your lens. You want to make sure it can be seen in your viewfinder. Don’t cover up the middle portion of the frame, since you’ll want a clear section to see your subject through.
Voila! You’ve got yourself an instant hazy, retro, light leak look for just pennies:
Okay, a sample photograph of an empty smoothie glass is a bit lame, but check out what McGrady has been able to do using this “hack”:
To customize the look you get, you can take a colored pen and draw over the plastic bag, adding color to certain parts. Here are a couple of photos shot by McGrady using a baggie that was marked with purple:
Image credits: Sample photographs by Jesse David McGrady and used with permission; tutorial photos by Michael Zhang