You can build a small rig on your camera to hold the prism in place or you can hold the prism in front of your lens manually. “By doing handheld, I can iterate on an idea much faster,” says Hurd. “And I often get happy accidents.” By moving the prism at different angles in relation to a light source, you can achieve different effects, such as slight distortions, rainbows, or a bokeh effect.
Types of photography prisms.
A variety of prisms are available for prisming photography, but the most common tool is a small, six-inch triangular prism that you can easily hold in one hand in front of the lens. Prisms like this are easy to come by. Camera shops tend to have them and other tools for prisming, and they are easy to find in science shops or online via retailers like Amazon.
“Use a prism that’s long enough that you don’t get your own fingers in the shot,” says Hurd. Remember, the prism must be big enough that its edges aren’t in the frame.
Triangular prisms aren’t the only things that create rainbow light, though. Anything that refracts light can potentially be a tool for filling a scene with color. Plastic water bottles are cheap and easy to come by, and ordinary panes of glass or bits of clear plastic can also scatter light to make a rainbow.
“You can put virtually anything in front of the camera to create some kind of effect,” says DeFranco. “If you place the bottom of your smartphone on the bottom of your lens you can create a cool little reflection effect,” says DeFranco.