10 Photography Life Hacks to Save Time and Money

If you’re not careful, photography can become a very expensive hobby. There’s always something new to buy. However, many camera accessories on the market can be simulated with items you already own. Check out these 10 photography hacks from DRTV that will keep you organized and save you money:

1. Geotag your photos without a GPS camera.

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Get the GPX Master app for iOS (or find any app that can export a GPX file). Make sure to sync your camera’s clock with your phone’s clock. The app on your smartphone records your route with time stamps into a GPX file as you move about. Once you’re home, export the GPX file and use software like Aperture or Lightroom to add geotags to your photos according to the time you took each photo.

2. Use a tripod as a slider.

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For casual use, there’s no need to purchase a slider for capturing video. Instead, use your regular tripod. Slowly tip it sideways onto two legs and then move it back smoothly for a look similar to what a slider would achieve.

3. Use an egg timer for 360 degree time lapse photography.

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Mount a lightweight camera to the top of an egg timer with putty. Set the camera to take photos at consistent intervals, and start the timer. As the timer counts down, the camera rotates.

4. Trigger your shutter with earphones.

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Take smartphone photos on the sly by pressing the volume up on the earphones to take a photo.

5. Make a cheap ND filter with a piece of welding glass.

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Neutral density filters are spendy. Spend $10 or less on a small piece of welding glass for a similar effect. Secure the glass to the front of your lens with rubber bands, and use live view to compose your images. Adjust your white balance in post-production to remove the glass’s color cast.

6. Trigger your off-camera flash with any built-in flash.

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If you have a flash with an optical slave sensor, you can trigger it by using the built-in flash on any camera. The strobe will go off when it detects the light from the built-in flash.

7. Store your SD cards inside lens caps and body caps.

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While you’re using your camera, you have no need for the lens rear cap or the body cap. Utilize these unused items as an SD card case by placing the cards inside the rear cap and covering it with the body cap.

8. Easily remove tourists from your photos.

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If you don’t want strangers in your photos, take several photos with your camera on a tripod as tourists move about the frame. Then, in Photoshop, go to Menu –> Scripts –> Statistics –> Median. The software will automatically remove the people from your image and leave you with a tourist-free image of the scenery.

9. Put your battery covers to work.

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Use your battery covers to indicate whether a battery is charged or empty. Battery covers have small battery-shaped holes that can be placed over the colored part of the back of the battery to show that the battery is charged. Flip the cover around when a battery is empty.

10. Keep track of your battery compartment flap cover.

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When using battery grips, you need to remove the battery compartment door flap. To keep from losing the flap, store it inside the grip. The flap slides into a compartment on the grip’s battery insert.

Before purchasing the latest photography gadget, consider how you can use what you already have to solve your photography-related conundrums. What are your favorite photography hacks?

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6 Comments

  1. Watt says:

    Suuure, use that popup flash to trigger it, and it will ruin your lighting… Not to say that even with a strong master flash, at longer distance it won’t work… Let’s say you have the money for a Canon or Nikon flash, which are hundreds of bucks, but you say you don’t have 10-20 dollars for a cheap Chinese trigger? Don’t mess with me…
    And what about homemade ND filters? What the heck happened to Earth, don’t you need some quality? Even the Cokin filters reduce sharpness and have color cast…

  2. rin says:

    “If you don’t want strangers in your photos, take several photos with your camera on a tripod as tourists move about the frame. Then, in Photoshop, go to Menu –> Scripts –> Statistics –> Median. ”

    What? Where do you find this in photoshop?

  3. james says:

    dang 3 and 8 are nice. that egg timer one is golden. Thanks!

  4. zendeb says:

    Yes, what rin said:

    “If you don’t want strangers in your photos, take several photos with your camera on a tripod as tourists move about the frame. Then, in Photoshop, go to Menu –> Scripts –> Statistics –> Median. ”

    What? Where do you find this in photoshop?”

    Where is that?

  5. Don says:

    In reference to item 8 it really isn’t quite as simple as that as you need to use image stacks … for those that want to know how to do it check the Adobe instructions at http://help.adobe.com/en_US/photoshop/cs/using/WS1E389632-4B37-425e-8EAB-1384C0B432D3a.html

  6. Wendy says:

    What kind of camera are you using that you can put the battery caps on two ways? Nikon battery caps only fit one way–fresh batteries get covers, used batteries don’t.

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