3 Soft-Focus Lens Effects You Can Make Right Now

Think back to when you first discovered your favorite hobby – remember that initial passion you felt? That knowledge that you had found something special, something that would inevitably become a part of you. I remember when I first began taking pictures, I loved experimenting with lens techniques and in-camera effects. I’d spend an entire afternoon in the dark room, hours passing in minutes. Like many things these days, that slow way of learning and discovering was replaced over time with instant satisfaction – in my case the speed and versatility of digital photography.

Lately, I’ve felt the pull to get back to my roots, so to speak. To slow down a bit and get back to what initially drove me to create, to work more with my hands. While I’m still predominantly using a digital camera, I’ve been playing around with different effects that can be created in and on the camera itself, and today I’m sharing three unexpected ways to create a soft-focus lens effect using items you most likely have lying around your house (I happened to have them sitting right here on my desk).

Gauze Technique

Camera Trick

You’ll need:

1 – 8″x8″ square of gauze, cheese cloth, or a light silk scarf you won’t mind destroying

Scissors

Elastic band

Use the scissors to cut an ‘X’ in the center of the fabric and fasten the square around the end of your camera lens with the elastic band. Fray the overlapping fabric so it sits over the lens.

Results:

Camera Trick

Camera Trick

Vaseline Technique

Camera Trick

You’ll need:

1 large square of clear plastic

Elastic band

Vaseline

Use the elastic band to fasten the plastic over the lens, pulling it taught (you want it to be as tightly affixed as possible). Spread Vaseline on the plastic around the edges of the lens (see above). You can also substitute an inexpensive clear filter for the plastic, however DO NOT apply Vaseline directly to your camera lens.

Results:

camera tricks

Camera Trick

Camera Trick

Plastic Technique

Camera Trick

You’ll need:

1 large square of clear plastic

Scissors

Elastic band

As in the gauze tutorial above, cut an ‘X’ in the center of the plastic using the scissors. Carefully fasten the plastic around the lens with the elastic band, allowing the edges to hang over.

Results:

Camera Trick

Camera Trick

There are so many more materials you can use in place of what I’ve suggested here. Try using bubble wrap, lace, or crochet and see what happens, and be sure to report back here with your results!

Camera Trick

More DIY projects from the BLDG 25 Blog.

Comments

  1. I you want a sort of hazy/foggy effect, breath onto your lens and take a couple shots before the moisture disappears. It gives photos a lovely soft quality.

  2. It’s such a weird moment when you follow a link on pinterest and see that the model in the post is someone you went to high school with. You do a double take. The world is crazy small!

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