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As a mostly self-taught photographer, I have gone through a lot of trial and error trying to make my photos creative, interesting, and different. As I have developed my personal style, I have come up with something that always takes even the simplest photos to the next level.
What do all of the photos above have in common? They are all shot through something, and these photos are incredibly easy to accomplish. I have shots of me through mirrors and shots where I put something in front of or over the lens.
My mirror photos are set up in a specific way that I wanted, but shooting through a mirror can be either simple like mine, or even more artsy if you want. The great thing about using a mirror as a prop is that you can get them in a lot of different shapes and sizes, and most of us have a few in our house already.
How to Get the Shot: Setup a mirror close to you, far away, inside, outside, high, low, on the wall, or handheld—play around with it however you want! After setting it up, just make sure that your phone or camera is at an angle, typically to the left or right side of the mirror and subject, to avoid getting the reflection of the camera in the mirror. That’s it! It may take a few tries to get your desired shot, but this immediately adds more interest to any photo rather than just shooting something straight on.
Shooting through something in front of your lens or covering your lens can also be really interesting. In my photos above, I used a crystal wine glass in all of them, but I have used other things as well. Depending on the look you are going for, experiment with different objects around your house; find things that have shapes and shoot through them (i.e. toilet paper roll). Find some mason jars, or any glassware, and shoot through that. Use bubble wrap, tissue paper, plastic wrap—the possibilities are endless!
How to Get the Shot: To shoot through something, simply put it in front of or all the way up to your lens. Play with the distance and depth of field. In the photos where I used the crystal wine glass, I put it all the way up to my lens, but at an angle so that it would catch whatever light I was using in the shot. Typically, when you are putting something that close to your lens it will not be see through, so the object needs to be at some sort of an angle. My lens is small enough to fit half of the wine glass over it, which creates some cool effects.
To shoot with something over your lens, do just that. The portrait of me behind bubble wrap was achieved by taping a strip of red bubble wrap on my camera, just over my lens so it hung down over it. If you want to try this, play around with the distance of the bubble wrap, use just a corner of it, wrap it around your lens.
These are really fun to experiment with and get you thinking about how you can use household objects to add something unique to your photos.