What is prism photography?
Prism photography is a technique that uses a prism to bend, refract, or scatter light on a subject. A portrait, an album cover, or a wedding photo might be amplified by a bit of rainbow light floating in the foreground. Or a subject could appear to be at the center of a kaleidoscope or in a psychedelic dreamscape. All of these effects come from prisms made from pieces of glass, plastic, or other material. “It’s an in-camera effect that allows you to create organic, real-life distortions and flare,” says photographer Sam Hurd.
How prisms work in creative photography.
Prisms refract light. White light is made of a variety of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet are all present in every ray of sunlight. When mixed together, these colors appear to be white. A prism bends that white light and can turn it into colored light.
Like a filter, if you place a prism between your camera lens and your subject, you can capture some of the distortions and rainbow light that a prism creates in your photos.
How to use prisms in photography.
Integrate prism effects into your work.
Once you are familiar with the basics of prism photography, you’ll find it an easy, quick way to add creative effects to your work. Portrait and wedding photographers often need to create unique and memorable images for their clients. Rainbows and psychedelic light can become one more effect to offer clients. They might help you stand out as a photographer who has mastered creating magic with light. Plus, a six-inch prism can be a small, inexpensive addition to your repertoire and your camera bag.
It’s also possible to add rainbow effects and other flourishes in Adobe Photoshop, and with practice, any photographer can add and amplify effects both in front of the camera and in post-production.
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