PRISM PORTRAITS
Photography week|July 15, 2021
Mike Harris shows you how to use an inexpensive glass prism and budget lens to add creative flare to portraits
Mike Harris

1 HOUR Super-high-resolution sensors and near-perfect lenses have gotten us so used to ‘pixel peeping’, you could argue that we’ve become slightly obsessed with image quality. But pristine images aren’t always the be-all and end-all, and you can capture amazing shots by introducing distortion and flare – optical anomalies we spend most of our time trying to avoid.

For a creative flare effect, you’ll need some basic photographic kit, such as a DSLR, mirrorless or bridge camera with manual and semi-automatic modes and a suitable lens – a standard prime lens will work best, but you can capture great results with a kit lens too.

Shooting towards the sun with the lens hood removed is one way to introduce flare into your shots. This will create a diffused, washed-out and dreamy quality that’s great for creating a soft and gentle aesthetic.

For a more intense look, you can hold an inexpensive glass prism in front of your lens to create flair, diffusion, vibrant distorted colours and reflections. Glass prisms come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and can be picked up online inexpensively. You can also purchase specialised kits like the Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System.

We used a triangular prism for our shoot. These super-affordable accessories are well worth keeping in your kit bag, as they open up a world of creative opportunities – particularly if you’re an avid portrait photographer. Here’s how to get the best out of yours!

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