Home Photography Ideas: Use a Prism to Take Stunning Images
Watch the video: Home Photography Ideas – Use a Prism to Take Stunning Images
A simple prism is designed to divide the spectrum of white light into distinct wavelengths. As white light passes, we can see the visible spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
This stimulated the interest of the Romans and later of various European scientists, notably Sir Isaac Newton. After the establishment of spectroscopy in the 17th century, there were a variety of applications for prisms – one of the most common being, of course, photography.
Many digital SLRs have a five-sided prism on the inside; light enters through the lens, bounces off the mirror and then reflects back through the pentaprism, before showing up in the viewfinder.
However, prisms don’t just help us see what we are turning; we can also use them to create original and creative distortions in front of the lens. They diffuse light, reflect the surroundings, and even add highlights and reflections to your shots. And of course, you can use them in the traditional way, and pass the light through them in front of a dark background.
It is surprisingly accessible for everyone to try. If you don’t already have one, you can pick up a prism online inexpensively – below are a few links, or you can try the Lensbaby Omni Creative filter system with several prism accessories for artistic images.
Buy a prism on Amazon US
Buy a prism on Amazon UK
How to use a prism for photography
01 GB manual
Use manual mode to set your aperture to f / 5.6 and Auto ISO, so your camera will adjust sensitivity depending on whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors. Shooting outdoors or in a bright place indoors works best because there are a lot of light sources to reflect and refract.
When you hold the prism in front of the lens for glare and stray light, keep it near the front element so that you can fill the frame to affect the entire scene. We’ve found that a focal length of around 50mm provides some of the nicest results, but don’t be afraid to experiment; you can get different prism sizes and use alternative lenses to vary the effect.
03 Spectrum shot
Maybe you want to capture the light as it leans through the prism? If so, get a solid, dark background, like a piece of cardboard, on which to place your prism and light it with a torch (a phone torch will also do). Just make sure the area is dark so you can see the colors easily.
04 Experiment further
Now that you’re ready, try playing with the prism in a variety of places, both bright and dark. Adding highlights and highlights to portraits is fun, but other scenes can become ethereal when light is diffused widely to produce areas of spectral highlights. There really is no way to go crazy here – experimentation is the key!
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