Viral TikTok photography hacks: Do they really work?

by Dunja Djudjic 1 Comment

There’s a bunch of photography “hacks” going around on TikTok and other platforms. But do they actually work? Well, Rachel and Daniel of Mango Street decided to put them to a test. They choose five viral photo hacks from TikTok and tested them out. Do they work? Well, you might be surprised!

  1. Toilet paper roll light: this one requires you to stick a toilet paper roll onto your phone flashlight and create a kind of a spotlight effect on your model. It’s fairly simple, but does it work? Well, you likely won’t get great (or any) results during the day, but it will work when there’s absolutely no ambient light. Although, in my opinion, it doesn’t look great. If you really wanna slap a toilet paper roll onto your phone, here’s something more fun to try.
  2. Mirror + laptop for product photography: for this one, you’ll need a mirror and a laptop with some image that you think looks cool as a background. Place the mirror on the keyboard and angle the monitor so that it reflects the image. Put your products on the mirror and take photos. As Rachel points out, it’s passable for your own web store, but it’s not gonna be the best product shot you’ve ever taken. Still, I think it can be a fun experiment to try.
  3. Icy product shot: for this one, the TikTok user made quite an effort. She froze the product in a bit of water in a bucket. Then she added some more ice on top, sprayed it all with water, and shot it through a plastic bag on the lens. Daniel and Rachel simplified it a bit by simply placing the product on top of some crushed ice. It looks… Okay-ish.
  4. Phone reflections: it’s funny that this “hack” saves you from buying “expensive prisms.” Prisms aren’t expensive, as Daniel points out in the video. But anyway, the point is to add your phone in front of your lens and angle it so you get some reflections. All in all, it works. And it will also work with a CD or any other reflective item you put in front of your lens.
  5. Flashlight colander: this is a pretty old trick and it’s only one of the ways to create a DIY gobo. Keep in mind though that it likely won’t work with a phone flashlight and while there’s any ambient light. You’re gonna need a powerful flashlight, and possibly a third arm to joggle the colander, the light, and the camera. 🙂

Have you tried any of these “hacks” in your own photos?

[Do TikTok Photo Hacks Actually Work?? | Mango Street]

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