As I sit here writing this, I’m looking out the window at yet another snowy day here in Michigan. We are 3/4 of the way done with winter but I’m 100% over it. The lack of sunlight and warmth coupled with too many days cooped up inside the house has officially put a damper on my creativity. When you are attempting a 365 Project and your surroundings are the same day after day, it can easily trigger a creative drought. I’m determined not to let this happen, so I’ve employed a few techniques to keep the creative juices flowing. One of these techniques is shooting with prisms!
A prism is a transparent body that is bounded in part by two nonparallel plane faces and is used to refract or disperse a beam of light. In simple terms, a prism is a block of clear glass or plastic, which separates the light passing through it into different colors. Prisms allow you to bend the light and create fabulous glare and reflection all in camera, before you even take your image into Lightroom or Photoshop. By holding a prism partly or fully in front of your lens as you shoot, you can end up with an image that is unique and amazing with beautiful flares, rainbows and reflections! How would that not kick start your creativity?!
I personally work with two types of prisms. The first is a standard triangular prism. The one I have can be purchased very affordably on Amazon (click here), which makes it a great addition to your photography tool kit!
To use the triangular prism, I hold it in my left hand while I have my camera in my right hand. If this is hard for you, try it first with your camera on a tripod. Slowly rotate the prism over part of your lens and pay attention to how it reflects your surrounds and your subject. Angle the prism away from your lens, or even play with how far you hold it away from your lens. Every small tweak to how you hold and move the prism will bend the light differently. It can be hit or miss, but the more you practice the more amazing results you’ll get with this technique.
The second type of prism I use quite often is a circular prism. It looks like a ring and it is actually made for a chandelier. I also purchased this on Amazon (click here). It was SUPER cheap… but it took a while to ship. Believe me… it was worth the wait!
To use this piece, I hold the circle in front of my lens with my left hand, being careful to keep my fingers out of the frame. It works best when the light is somewhat diffused. Shooting with it into direct sunlight can seriously blow out your image. But it’s super fun to see all the beautiful reflections that surround your subject with this little ring.
Grab a prism and give it a try for yourself. It’s a great way to change things up and make an ordinary image pretty spectacular! And please be sure to share your results in our Hello Storyteller Facebook Group! I can’t wait to see what you create!