Heavier tripods are generally more stable than lighter ones — wind doesn’t affect them as much — but hauling them around can be a pain. Instructables user Andrew Axley came up with the brilliant idea of making his simple tripod more stable by adding his own weight hook. The tripod is light when not in use and when you need extra stability you simply hang your camera bag onto the hook. All you need to do is figure out a way to attach a hook securely at the center — Axley chose to drill a hole through the side of the center column and attach an S-hook using a bolt and nut.
Reading a camera’s user manual is a great way to become familiar with all of its features and functions, but what if you don’t have the patience to sit down and chew through it? Here’s a strange but useful trick for making sure you read the manual thoroughly: put it in the bathroom. By placing it in a place where you’re desperate for things to read, you’ll slowly work your way through it and understand your camera more without having to take a chunk out of your busy day!
Have a habit of losing your lens caps? Add a clip to them to keep them attached to your camera strap when not in use! All you need are a lapel clip — the kind found on old wired cellphone headsets work great — and some strong mounting tape. It’s basically a DIY version of the Nice Clip, which we featured back in October.
Having trouble framing shots when “shooting from the hip” and not looking through (or at) your camera? Lifehacker suggests pointing with your left hand index finger to improve your accuracy. Simply press the finger against your lens, parallel to your camera’s line of sight. The idea is that while we point at things all the time, aiming a camera isn’t quite as intuitive (though it comes with practice). By making the camera an “extension of your body”, you might be able to aim it more naturally!
Wondering whether or not the shutter speeds on your camera are accurate? Instead of taking it to a shop or buying expensive testing equipment, you can use an old television or CRT monitor as a simple shutter speed tester! Camera enthusiast Rick Oleson has an easy to understand diagram showing what you can expect to see from the screen at different shutter speeds. For a more technical explanation and tutorial, check out this article that appeared in a 1967 issue of Popular Science.
If you have a potato chip tube lying around, you can convert the tube into a super simple DIY snoot. All you need to do is cut an opening in the closed end that’s the size of your flash head (tip: use some duct tape to prevent it from scratching your flash). Read more…
Here’s a quick tip for if you ever have a hard time removing a lens filter from a lens (e.g. when it’s damaged): use a shoe. Simply take any shoe with a grippy flat bottom, press it firmly against the filter, and then turn it. It’s a super simple technique that should work every time unless the threads on the lens itself are badly damaged.
Photographer Peter Wirén came up with a super cheap and easy way to record sliding shots using his DSLR. Instead of buying an expensive slider or dolly system, he simply cut the fingers off an old glove and used them as “socks” on his GorillaPod. Read more…
If you have some translucent film canisters lying around, you can turn them into DIY glow sticks for light painting photography. Fuse three of them together into one translucent tube, stick a small flashlight into it, wrap it with a colored translucent sheet, and voilà, you have yourself a cheap and simple glow stick. It’s a way to add some thickness to your light painting “brush”.