DIY: How to Protect Your DSLR at a Color Festival or Run for Just 15 Bucks


There are a ton of posts that’ll have you scared to take a DSLR to a color festival or run. I want to share my own color-proof seal for the Holi Festival of Colors in Utah that managed to keep my DSLR completely clean for under $15.

Shopping List

  • Lens Filter (I chose a cheap $10 lens filter)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Gallon Ziplock Bags (I chose Freezer since it’s thicker than Storage)
  • Gaffer Tape
  • Rubber Bands

I wanted to protect the entire camera from all color particles and leave only the cheap lens filter and lens hood exposed to color. I experimented for hours to find the best way to seal my gear, and this is what I came up with.

Take the lens hood off and tighten the lens filter onto the lens. The filter adds a few millimeters to the height of the lens, and you’ll want to take a piece of plastic wrap (the length about 1.5x the circumference of the lens, the width being about the size of the lens) and wrap it very tightly in a clockwise fashion right around the frame of the lens filter.

Take a tight, flat rubber band (about the width of the lens filter frame) and snap it over the plastic wrap right where the lens filter frame is. This rubber band keeps this plastic wrap in place, and the plastic wrap makes sure that any color particles coming toward the front of the lens won’t be able to make it anywhere near the front element of your lens (they’ll get the cheap lens filter dirty but can’t make it near the grooves of the lens filter).

Grab one of the gallon sized “Freezer” Ziplock bags and cut a square from one side of the bag. Take this square of Ziplock material and wrap it tightly around the rubber band.


Now it’s time to carefully screw the lens hood into place over the plastic wrap and Ziplock. The Ziplock “Freezer” bags are tough and shouldn’t tear, but if it does begin to stretch and tear it may be a good idea to give the lens filter 90° of clockwise motion before its maximum tightness, complete the steps above, then screw the lens hood on while simultaneously tightening the lens filter.

Since I wanted to be extra careful, at this point I snapped an extra rubber band over the existing rubber band (now located inside the lens hood), and I stuffed strips of gaffer’s tape to fill the space between the lens filter and lens hood.

At this point, any color particles thrown at the front of the camera will hit the lens filter but have no way to get behind the lens filter or anywhere near its grooves.

I chose to set AutoFocus on and leave my lens at 24mm for the entire event, so I tightly wrapped the lens barrel with the initial plastic wrap (the one gripping the lens filter) as a base layer, a few layers of plastic wrap over that, and the Ziplock (being held down by the lens hood) as the final layer.


Now that the lens is protected, it’s time to work on the DSLR body.

Grab another gallon-sized Ziplock bag and cut the entire bottom away. You’ll end up with a large ziplock with absolutely no bottom, and you can fit the entire DSLR body and camera grip into that.


When the bottom of the Ziplock is closed, the bag should reach near the front of the lens barrel. This is the point where I pulled out the gaffer tape and tightened the Ziplock over all of my previous plastic wrapping. This creates a particle-proof seal for the entire camera, and to be extra safe you can see that I did more wrapping on top.

You can double-bag the DSLR body if you feel that the Ziplock seal may be a point of weakness. I never opened the Ziplock seal once at the event (the grip and large memory card provide enough battery and capacity for a day of shooting). In retrospect, I’d also put some gaffer tape over the On/Off switch since I could feel it pushing into the Ziplock while I photographed the event.

My color-proof sealing worked flawlessly at the Festival of Colors. I stood at the center of the crowd and got color thrown right at the lens…


(you can simply blow on the lens and the color will fly away, no need to carry microfiber cloths) yet not one spec of color reached the lens or DSLR body.

About the author: Angel Demirev is a photography hobbyist fueled by coffee and chocolate. His article on protecting a DSLR at a festival of colors originally appeared on his blog.

  • OtterMatt

    Simple, effective. I wonder how easily one could modify this for manual focus and zoom. Personally, I think I might get some 3 mil dropcloth or something and epoxy it to the lens filter and epoxy over the filter threads on the outside. Then you’d have a more permanent option that can be removed.

  • Ken

    just get a Pentax dude.

  • Jesse

    Good one.

  • Pickle

    There are too many stupid non-athletic related runs. Color run, electric run, run or dye, glowing hemorrhoid run, watermelon run, I mustache you a question run, etc. Enough already.

  • Keiran Blackwell

    Or, you could not judge the harmless as “stupid” fun that others enjoy. Just a crazy idea of mine.

  • Jeffrey Howarth

    Don’t forget the filter mask to protect your lungs too..

  • Jeremiah True

    @Keiran – He’s been posting a lot lot lately mostly being negative, combative and not very constructive.

  • Ralph Hightower

    I’ll just use a disposable film camera.

  • Jason Dunn

    Oh God How Did This Get Here I Am Not Good With Computer

  • disqus_yuG7c27UWh

    Another Keyboard warrior, been commenting on everything

  • Pickle

    At least I bothered to make user name, generic disqus guy.

  • Pickle

    Let me guess: Did you post a selfie of yourself at one of these runs and wanted all your facebook friends to see how much fun you were having and how exciting and spontaneous you were? Be honest now…come on….honest….did you do a little pose? what did the caption say?

  • Pickle

    I think you’re a Broncos fan.

  • Keiran Blackwell

    I don’t understand your hostility. Or your condescension. I have nothing to do with any of the Colour Run events, I’ve never been and though would like go, I doubt I’ll have the opportunity. But I support peoples right to do something that I may or may not enjoy.

    Even if I did post a selfie, so that my friends could see (My friends also being almost entirely also Facebook users) what’s the harm? If I did post one, I may pose, I may not pose, perhaps I’ll jump up and down and not take myself too seriously.

    I genuinely don’t understand your hostile patronising condescension towards me, or anyone else :(

  • ryfter

    I shot one earlier this year. I just used my 300mm, and stood way back. A bit of cleaning after, and it was good. Though, I like this solution.

  • Kynikos

    Doesn’t protect my lungs.

  • ThatGuy

    Seahawks suck.

  • PTBridgeport

    Hey you kids get off my lawn…..

  • Tomilee

    Aww. Is somebody having a bad day? My stupid advice is… stop trying to drag everyone down with you. On the internet no less. Misery loves company, but you’re doing it wrong… now run along and find Snow White and the other six dwarves.

  • davenportbeatriz

    before I looked at the check that said $8399 , I be certain that my
    neighbours mother could actualy bringing home money in their spare time from
    their computer. . there neighbour had bean doing this for only about sixteen
    months and as of now paid for the dept on there appartment and got Mitsubishi
    Evo . why not look here

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  • arachnophilia

    i get paid to photograph these stupid runs at $50+/hr. so no, i don’t think there’s too many. i don’t care how stupid they are. hell, i shot one that involved blow dolls, sex toys, and giant goofy inflatable genitalia.

  • arachnophilia

    i wouldn’t shoot one in anything less than an outex.

  • Keiran Blackwell

    That genuinely sounds like a hilarious time. :D

  • arachnophilia

    it went *okay*.

  • Keiran Blackwell

    Oh, well I hope the attendees had a better time anyway :D