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Make your own filters for photography

Don't throw your sweet wrappers away this Christmas use them as filters to take creative shots.

|  Creative
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For a long time companies such as Cokin have created several different filters to help you enhance your photography. Everything from polarisers to help with reflections and glare to more creative filters that have shapes cut out of them have been used by photographers but if you don’t own a set but would like to see what sort of results you could get, why not save a few of the wrappers you’ll have left in your chocolate tin this Christmas and create a few for free?

An orange sweet wrapper and a
little post production work finished off this shot.
  • Camera
  • Tin of chocolates
  • Family to help you eat the chocolates
  • Elastic band or spare hand to hold the wrapper over your lens
  • Tripod – so your hands are free to fit your filters and so you don’t get camera shake when using darker coloured wrappers. Checkout Vanguard’s Alta Pro 264AT.
Once you have eaten your chocolates and sweets discard the silver coloured inner wrapper and straighten your coloured parts out. Obviously you want to use those which are slightly transparent and if they have writing on them don’t worry as you can use these as diffusers if you shoot on a wide aperture.

Purple wrappers can be a bit tricky!

You can use an elastic band to fasten the make-shift filter to your lens or simply hold it in place, using a tripod to support your camera. You’ll also need to experiment with different apertures as some will work better with small f numbers and vice-versa. If your camera struggles to focus try pre-focusing without the wrapper, hold the shutter button half way down then add the wrapper just before you take a shot.

Camera in place, here are a few techniques you can try:
  • Create colour effects by laying a few together to make your shot multi-coloured. You could try over-lapping them too to create more colours.
  • Cut thin strips out and put them together to make a rainbow
  • Cut a hole in middle so you’re left with colour around the edge leaving the middle clear. You can use it to draw attention to a certain part of an image or use it to create a frame.
  • Try cutting out shapes such as stars and hearts. It can take a few attempts to get the size right as too small and you won’t be able to tell what the shape is. Make them too big and you won’t have a shape and only a little bit of colour creeping in from the corner.
  • Put a wrapper half over the lens and use it as a type of graduate filter.
  • Put a blue or yellow wrapper over a flash and use the opposite colour over your lens and do a daylight shot on the wrong colour balance so your subject comes out the right colour but the background comes out the colour of the filter you used on your lens.
Find the tripod and camera bag to suit your needs at


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