Your old reading glasses are your new effects plug-in

Got $10? Get some reading glasses, or grab some old eyeglasses, pop out the lenses, and hold them in front of your lens to create magical effects.  You’ve probably seen this look before; perhaps you didn’t know how it was done.

It’s not very complicated.  You just hold the eyeglass lens in front of the camera, sometimes moving it, letting it catch reflections and distort and blur the foreground.  It can create “lens-wacking” effects, light-leak effects, and a tilt-shift appearance.  Be sure to shoot wide open on a fast lens.  Defocus is critical to making this effect compelling.  Try using two lenses at once for an even more pronounced effect.

From now on, I’m keeping two lenses in my change pocket of my jeans whenever I shoot.

Thanks to Stephan Kot for the tip.


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Latest Comments
  1. David Peterson

    wow, articles like this is why I read this blog regularly!

    • Brandon Li

      Thanks so much David!

  2. mojo43

    Cool idea, thanks!

  3. CK Dexter Haven

    Hey there.
    This is lovely. I’m new to this ‘video thing,’ coming from still photography. Can you tell me which cameras were used in these two examples? I imagine i can do this with a 5DIII, right? But, not with a ‘compact?’ How fast are the lenses in these samples?

    • Brandon Li

      Hi, thanks for watching! “The Birthdays of Strangers” was shot with a Sony NEX-5n, Metabones Speedbooster, and Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AIS lens. “Lazy Morning” was shot on a Canon 5dmkII with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4. Best of luck with your videography!

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