View Full Version : Favourite tools & tricks of the trade

30-10-2006, 11:22pm
Not every problem in photography warrants the purchase of *yet* another gadget, sometimes home-made solutions works just as well!

So what little tricks, techniques or innovative ideas have you up your sleeve? I'll start with some ideas that I have implemented over the years, feel free to add more :D

Home-made reflector:
There's 2 ways to make a cheap and effective reflector, both involves aluminum foil that everyone has at home. First you take a large sheet of foil and crumple it, then carefully flatten it out again.

Now, here's where you have a choice. You can either stick it to a piece of cardboard with glue, or you can take one of those "magnetic" photo album pages, tear off the plastic protective cover and stick the foil to one side, and then stick a piece of A4 paper to the other side. This gives you two types of reflective surface.

Wrap your tripod legs with either padded cycling handlebar tape, or with the matting material that people put under their sleeping bag when they go camping. The handlebar tape looks better and is easy to put on. Having your tripod legs tapped means that it's softer on your shoulders when you carry it, and your hands won't stick to the tripod during a freezing morning (not so much of a problem here in Aust), but will also prevent your hands from getting cold too fast.

If you are shooting on a boat, wrap all the tripod foot with the camping material I mentioned above. This would dampen the vibration from the boat's engine. You simply cut the foam material into large triangles, and put the tripod feet in the middle of the triangle and wrap it up, then duck tape :)


When you shoot still life, use blu-tac to help position items.
Thin plastic bags cut open and drapped over sunny windows is a great way to diffuse light if you are shooting some still-life setup near the window.


Laser pointers are great as AF-assist lights when all other light fails you :)
Bean bags are great as low angle camera support. If you are shooting mushrooms on the ground, remember to bring a tarp to lie on.
Inset repellents are a must when shooting in the forest
Bandanna really help on those hot days if you are the sweaty type
Remember to bring water!
Remember the more comfortable you are during your shoot, the better your photos will be

30-10-2006, 11:41pm
Great advice, should help alot of people.


31-10-2006, 12:39am
I don't do much flash/portrait work, but here's something that some may find useful. This guy takes you through the process of making a better bounce card for your flash.....it's a 20 minute video, so beware those on dial-up:


Cheers, Frank

31-10-2006, 4:54pm
Laser pointers are great as AF-assist lights when all other light fails you :)

w3rd up on that! also helps you find your view in darkness. providing you have it mounted to the camera and aligned correctly :)

01-11-2006, 11:57am
Some sound advice and tips mate.