Try This Simple Photography ‘Hack’ to Add Some Variety to Your Portraits

Photographer, filmmaker, and YouTube superstar Peter McKinnon is better known for his video work these days, but he recently took a step back to share a simple photo “hack” that can yield more dramatic portraits in a matter of seconds.

This isn’t going to blow anybody’s mind, but it lends a bit of drama to your images and highlights the potential behind that age-old bit of photography advice: “Put something in the foreground!”

All it takes is a pint glass, and decent portrait focal length—50mm or greater would work best—and whatever camera you happen to be carrying around. Using a clamp, a willing friend, or holding the glass yourself, place it on the edge of your frame so that it catches some light and fills in part of the negative space in your portrait.

And… that’s it. Take a photo and enjoy the effect:

As with any simple trick, this can be done well and it can be done poorly. It can also definitely be over done if it starts showing up in every one of your shots. But whether you’re taking portraits or product shots, it’s one way to add a pop of drama and just… see what happens.

Check out the full video up top to see the different ways McKinnon uses or has used this in the past, and then give his channel a follow if you’re one of the few who hasn’t already.