How to Blur a Distracting Background Armed Only With a Point and Shoot

Extra photos for bloggers: before, after

The mission: Take a great portrait in front of a distracting background.

The equipment: The crummiest point-and-shoot camera on the market.

Your task: Throw the background out of focus so you can emphasize the subject.

Mission Impossible? Hardly. Even with the simplest point and shoot, you can get the blurry background you crave. Here’s how:

  1. Put the camera on the “portrait” setting.
  2. Move the subject away from the background.
  3. Back away. Far away. Farther. Keep going. OK, stop.
  4. Zoom in on the subject and take the picture.

That’s it! Try it for impromptu street portraits, vacation photos, or any time you need a great picture in a lousy location.

Click on through for the fine details and more clever photo tips!

How to Blur a Distracting Background (Plus More Handy Tips!)

p.s. Say hello to our buddies over at Virb and get 15% off at the Photojojo Shop. We <3 their fantastic photography collection!

The Zumi Digital, Vintage Video

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2

*A Photojojo Confession*

For all the boasting, and oh my gosh wowing over digital photography stuffs — we sometimes miss shooting with film.

What we don’t miss is the hassle of buying film and getting it developed.

Which is why we are so truly, deeply, and madly in love with The Digital Zumi. She’s a palm sized camera that takes the dreamiest lo-fi videos (and photos) that look just like vintage film.

All the charm of film with the ease of digital? This camera is so us!

The Digital Zumi  Twitter It!
$170 at the Photojojo Shop!

p.s. We’ve only got a bit of our Zumi stock in and more is on the way. So if you’ve got a hankering, best act now to reserve for the next shipment ;)

Plungercam! 2 DIY Tilt-Shift Lenses You Can Make With Plumbing Hardware


Bored with your lens? Need a creative boost? Call a plumber!

Here are 2 tilt-shift lenses that you can make with just a few bucks’ worth of plumbing hardware.

Both give you that dreamy selective focus look you love so well, but they work a little differently.

Plungercam #1 is kind of like a Lensbaby — you bend and squish the rubber housing until your image is in focus, then you fire away.

Plungercam #2 is more like a traditional tilt-shift lens — you set up your shot and focus, then lock the lens into position. This means you can get repeatable results and can make killer time-lapse photos.

Grab some plumbing gear this weekend and make yourself a plungercam. Humming the Roto-Rooter song while you work is optional.

The Amazing Plungercam, Version #1

The Amazing Plungercam, Version #2

Photo credits: Bhautik Joshi

Schlieren Photography: How to Photograph the Invisible


Ever taken a picture of a cough?

Not just somebody coughing. No, we mean the actual air currents as they’re being expelled.

Well, they just did it at Penn State, thanks to the magic of schlieren photography.

Schlieren” are density variations in a gas or liquid that you can’t see with the naked eye, like air currents caused by heat, movement, or explosions.

The super-crazy, holey-moley, you’re-not-gonna-believe-this part is that you can take these kinds of pictures at home, without a ton of special science-y stuff or fancy equipment.

Click below to learn more about schlieren photography, and learn how you can try it at your very own abode.

Photojojo’s Guide to the Mysterious World of Schlieren Photography

Photo credits: Gary Settles, Science Photo Library


How to Light With LEDs


How much do you think it would cost to make a ring light for your camera?

$50 bucks? $25 smackeroos? Nah. $5.

All you need is a fistful of LED lights and a strip of velcro to wrap around your camera lens.

That’s just the beginning of what you can do with LEDs, the tiny titans of the lighting world.

Lightpainting, highlighting pinpoint details, macro photography… you name it!

At 50 cents each, buy ’em by the bucketful and experiment to your heart’s content.

How to Light With LEDs

Photo credits: udijw

How to Make a Reversible Cover for Your Camera Strap

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2

Which would you rather have?

  1. An ugly black camera strap with a giant logo on it
  2. A comfy stylish camera strap in your favorite color
  3. A wild untamed Sarcophilus harrisii

If your answer was #1, you can skip today’s newsletter. Sit quietly until recess.

If your answer was #3, that’s probably illegal. Definitely inadvisable. Also bitey.

If your answer was #2, you’re in luck!

Here’s how to make a reversible cover that slips over your generic camera strap, instantly making it unique, comfortable and ever-so-dashing.

It’s super easy to make, so you can rock the strap cover even if you’ve never touched a sewing machine before.

Now get in there, tiger!

How to Make a Reversible Camera Strap Cover

p.s. We’re giving away Magnetic Photo Ropes today and tomorrow! Head to the Photojojo Shop to find out how you can get in on the action.


3 Tricks to Turn a Spring Clamp Into Your Best Photo Accessory


The glorious spring clamp: helper of hobbyists, buddy of builders, crony of carpenters.

And now, we have 3 ways to make it the most useful object a photographer can have!

  1. Instant fill light — Use a clamp to hold a piece of mirror or white cardstock when photographing small items.

    Bouncing light off a card fills in shadows and instantly makes any shot better. (Ya hear that, Ebayers?)

  2. Clip-anywhere camera mount — Spring clamps have holes just the right size for a 1/4-inch screw. Convenient, eh?

    Use a thumbscrew and your camera’s tripod mount to attach your camera to the clamp. Then clip it anywhere a regular tripod can’t reach!

    You can fancy it up by attaching a mini tripod head, or use an umbrella adapter to hold a flash unit.

  3. Portable lighting stand — Need a bit more flexibility? Use a length of Loc-Line tubing to create a clamp mount with a flexible arm that holds a flash unit.

    Not in a DIY kind of mood? You can buy the new commercial version, but the price tag will probably put you in a DIY mood.

So much utilitarian goodness from one little clamp. How you gonna beat that, bucko?

How to Make a Clip-Anywhere Camera Mount

How to Make a Flexible Lighting Clamp

p.s. If you couldn’t get to our Guide to the Most Perfectest Panoramas on Monday, here’s the link. Sorry ’bout that!

Photo credits: Matthew G. Monroe, six million dollar dan

A Guide to Perfect Panoramas Starring 2 New Photog Tools!

feature-panoExtra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Our photos were a crooked conundrum — it was sheer panoramic pandemonium.

That is, until we found The Perfect Pano, a rotating tripod tool that clicks into place every 30 degrees so you can overlap your shots evenly. Plus, The Level Camera Cube, a triple axis bubble level that mounts to your hot shoe for straight shooting.

Their powers combined will give you the bestest, all around, straight across, most perfect shots you could ask for in one go.

The Perfect Pano  Twitter It!
$17 at the Photojojo Shop!

The Level Camera Cube  Twitter It!
$15 at the Photojojo Shop!

Never done a panorama? Don’t know how to start? You know what’s coming, don’t you…

We’re going to teach you! We’ll tell you what panoramas are, how to shoot one, how to put it together, and where to find free software to help you. Just keep reading, bucko.

Photojojo’s Guide to the Most Perfectest Panoramas


It’s Smooth Sailing for You and Your Camera: Make Your Own Steadicam!


Operators, babies’ bottoms and sometimes peanut butter…

All famously smooth! And now your dramatic sweeping pans can be smooth too.

Your digital camera can record video, and you’ve probably already taken a crack at making your own cinematographic masterpiece.

The trick to filming like a pro -> Keeping that camera steady!

Luckily you don’t need a roll of Clevelands to buy a commercial steadicam, you can make one using supplies from the hardware store!

With a homemade gimbal and camera mount, you’ll soon be shooting video so smooth, it’s almost criminal.

How to Make a Homemade Camera Stabilizer

Starting Your Photo Biz… Part 1: You Sure ‘Bout That?


So, you want to start a photo business…

Excellent! Will it be a mad whirl of fame, fortune and glitterati?

Or will it be a money-suckin’, nail-bitin’, cuss-mutterin’ festival of frustration?

We’re all about preserving your manicure and linguistic decorum, so welcome to our new series, Photojojo’s School of Photographical Bidnezz!

Here’s Part 1: a list of photo biz pros and cons to help you decide whether running your own studio would make you happy… or crazy?

Starting a Photo Business: The Pros and the Cons

Photo credit: Banalities