There are many ways to take a good photograph: positioning and lighting, compelling subject matter and decent equipment can all play a role. However, it's also possible to boost the quality of your photos via a few simple tricks. With that in mind, here are 21 camera hacks from the Lifehacker archives - from candid photography tips to cheap DIY accessories.
These tips, which were originally published in 2009, cover all aspects of photography - including those moments when you're in front of the camera. Whether you want to make your own lens hood to create custom bokeh, look better in photos or capture blur-free shots without a tripod, you'll find the advice you need below. Happy snapping!
What's a bokeh you say? It's that oh-so-wonderful fuzziness in the background of photographs with a shallow depth of field and accompanying starry highlights. You can create your own bokeh effects with a little craftiness.
We live in a culture of oversharing, so odds are someone, somewhere will be snapping and posting photos taken of you at various events. To help ensure you look your best, heed where you position your tongue.
People often lament that they "just missed it!" upon seeing they failed to capture a pivotal moment in the action. You can avoid missing the action by treating your still camera like a video camera.
You have a camera and a willing subject, but you're not sure how to break your portraits out of the flat blandness that plagues many snapshots. Avoid boring compositions with these tips.
Many a photography enthusiast has assumed the equipment necessary is far too expensive for quality high speed photography captures. A high speed capture studio on the cheap can be had with this handy guide.
Making abstract wallpaper and gorgeous slow-exposure shots doesn't require a bunch of design apps or photography lessons. Learn how to literally toss your camera to make abstract light art.
Whether you head 30 or 3000 miles away, you'll want to bring back great photos of your vacation. The New York Times posts questions and answers on how to achieve great vacation photos.
Taking a good self-portrait is both a handy skill and a way to expand your photographic repertoire. Save your next profile picture from the camera-held-at-arms-length cliche with these tips.
DIY web site Instructables details how to make an image stabilising unit to supplement your steady hand using a tennis ball and a few nuts and bolts.
Daytime photo tricks don't always translate when you're trying to capture the perfect night shot. The Photography Bay web site outlines tips for taking a stellar post-sunset shot without relying on a tripod or expensive flash system.
When the camera comes out, a lot of people instinctively declare that they look awful in pictures. Learn how to be more photogenic and put your best face forward.
Steady hands are critical to taking low light photographs. Breath like a sniper to make sure you snap the shot when your hand is least jittery.
If the DIY Fibre Optic Ring Flash we wrote about required too many specialist parts for your taste, check out this much simpler remix. The construction is easy and done with common household items.
Photography is a creative art, no doubt, but creative doesn't mean doing everything willy-nilly however you want. Use these basic rules of composition to give your photos an extra boost of visual appeal.
Beauty dishes are great flash modifiers for portrait photographs, but even a cheap model will set you back at least $US100. Skip it-a surprisingly effective DIY beauty dish costs less than $US20.
Gizmodo's John Mahoney explains how to take high dynamic range (HDR) photos so that the results of your photograph more accurately recreate what you were seeing when you snapped the shutter.
You don't need a blockbuster budget to get high-quality light for your portraits. By coaxing the sun to help in your photographic endeavours, you can create stunning portraits on a tiny budget.
Lightboxes aren't just for the professionals any longer. Using them to illuminate your eBay listings can help make a sale, and amateur photogs can get professional-looking shots with one. Create your own using K'nex and a little know how.
Panoramic software has come a long way toward making panoramic images child's work. Great software or not, there's no substitution for good source material. Take better panoramic pictures with these tips
Whether you're interested in learning more about lighting to add to your photography skill set or you're just curious how proper studio lighting works, this handy guide will provide some photo-enhancing insight.
Sunsets are one of nature's more spectacular displays, and a good one is worth preserving with a photograph. Take pictures that will capture the perfect dusk moment with these photography tips.
The right flash can make or break your shot. Unfortunately, not all built-in flashes are created equal. DIY web site Instructables demonstrates how to create a worthy on-the-spot flash diffuser using an empty cigarette packet.