When you’re traveling around the globe, you’ll naturally want to preserve all the wondrous sights and cherished memories you’re going to collect. Whether it’s the majesty of Niagara Falls, the dramatic panorama of Florence, or the colorful confusion of Thailand’s water markets, your camera can preserve them all with a simple click of a button.

You can make your photos even more beautiful by applying gorgeous filters to tease out colors or angles. With the perfect filter, you can transform a memorable shot into a breathtaking one.

But what if you don’t have the correct software for the job?

When your images market and advertise your business, then you’d need to do high-end photo retouching so that your photos sell a service or location you’re promoting, but if the pictures are for your private collection, you can experiment with your camera skills by creating your photo filters from scratch.

Here are a few filters you can easily create while you’re on the road to give your next travel album some dynamic color and innovative looks. And the best part? You can assemble these filters readily with a few supplies and a little effort.

Brooksbrücke, Hamburg
You can experiment with your camera skills by creating your photo filters from scratch

Softening Your Shots

People often associate photos shot in soft focus with romance and idealism. The effect smooths away harsh shots, and its fuzzy quality has an almost ghostly appeal in its murk. The producers and showrunners of the legendary sci-fi series “Star Trek” also used soft focus or Gaussian shots to highlight the attractiveness and ethereal quality of characters, making them seem more beautiful and alien.

You can apply the same spectral filter on your shots by using two products you can find at almost every department store or pharmacy: a jar of Vaseline and a spare pair of stockings.

When you want to use Vaseline for a soft-focus, remember that you shouldn’t smear the substance directly on your camera lens. Apply a thin layer of Vaseline evenly on a piece of clear plastic or a cheap camera filter, which you’ll then secure on your lens.

To use stockings, stretch a piece of the fabric over your lens and tie it in place with rubber bands. Both arrangements will apply a soft-focus effect on your photographs.

Soft focus photography is perfect for locations that already seem magical What better place to use soft focus than on a series of shots set amid the once-splendid attractions of Spreepark, an abandoned theme park in Berlin.

See in a Different Light

Sometimes, seeing things in a different light helps bring out beautiful aspects that you have never seen before. Things you’ve begun to overlook suddenly reveal bizarre but pleasing colors under the dim glow of ultraviolet lighting. A photographer recently used ultraviolet light to coax breathtaking fluorescent flares from flowers.

You can create your own ultraviolet light with three items you can buy from a school or office depot:

  • A small roll of transparent plastic tape;
  • A blue permanent marker, and
  • A violet permanent marker.

The quality of the marker’s ink affects the intensity of your homemade ultraviolet light, so you can engage in a little trial and error to find the best brands.

To create your UV light:

  1. Put a small piece of tape over the flashlight of your cellphone or on any strong and powerful light source.
  2. Color the piece of tape completely using the blue permanent marker.
  3. Leave it to dry before applying another piece of tape over it, but this time color it completely using the violet permanent marker.
  4. Repeat this process for several layers, overlapping blue-colored pieces of tape with violet one.

When you turn on the flashlight, the layers will turn the white light into ultraviolet light.

If you want to take amazing shots of flowers under ultraviolet lighting, Keukenhof in the Netherlands is known as the Garden of Europe and contains over 7 million flowers spread out over 32 hectares. Aside from the country’s famous tulips, daffodils and hyacinths also cover Keukenhof’s many acres.

Color it Up

Although the world is already bursting with the most vivid colors, its unpredictability sometimes paints the world a different shade than what you want for your photograph. Color filters can assist you in changing the natural colors in a shot and shift them to a pigment more to your liking.

You can make any number of color filters by going to a school supply store or heading for the nearest supermarket. You could buy as many different colors of cellophane as you can or even reuse cellophane wrappers from local candies and delicacies for your new filters.

Secure a layer of the colored cellophane over your camera lens with tape or rubber bands, and you have an easy color filter. The more layers you put over your lens, the richer and darker the color becomes.

For a different color effect, wait for the Christmas season to bring out all the glittering items you’ll need.

Do the following:

  1. Buy some reflective colored tinsel from craft stores
  2. Take several strips of tinsel
  3. Attach them to the rim of your camera lens with some tape

The tinsel’s bright hues will reflect into the lens when light hits it, infusing each of your shots with dazzling flashes of fairy-like wisps.

Colored filters allow you to transform any location into a technicolor wonderland. Use full-colored cellophane filters to highlight the color scheme of a city or place. An orange or yellow color filter will emphasize the arid atmosphere and desert heat around Cairo whereas a faint blue filter makes Phuket’s white-sand beaches look cooler and more relaxing.

The natural world is already full of the most vivid colors, the most awe-inspiring of vistas, and the most dramatic panoramas. Filters and other accessories help you add your touch, your signature, on the beautiful sights and scenes around the globe. Filters allow you to apply your vision, as well as let you share what you see with others.

These easy to assemble filters let you change how you perceive the majesty of the world in whatever country you find it, providing you with the power to paint the world as you see fit – one quick snapshot at a time.

Rebecca Van Ommen
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