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Fun with Travel Photos: Create a Filter on the Fly

Through my Maui Jims

Through my Maui Jims

A few months ago, I blogged about how I was given some sweet Maui Jim sunglasses to take with me on my trip to Hawaii. I must say, these sunglasses have proven to be one of my favorite accessories, and honestly, I had never owned a pair of sunglasses so nice in all my life. They really make a difference!

While out and about in Waikiki, I wanted to portray to my followers what life actually looked like through the lenses of these shades, and then it hit me!

These lenses are polarizing, and oh… didn’t I often LOVE using that polarizing filter on my DSLR? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT.

Through the Maui Jims sunnies at Waikiki Beach.

Through the Maui Jims sunnies at Waikiki Beach.

Obviously I am not a photographing guru of any kind. I told my friend Beth about my awesome discovery, using my sunglasses to act as a filter on my pocket camera, and she said this is a trick she has been using for ages — using the lens of an old broken pair of shades just for the right effect.

So, for the rest of you who might not be as photo savvy as Beth, I give you an awesome trick for creating a filter on the fly:


Create Instagram style photos on your normal camera. Or, block out some of that harsh mid-day sunshine. If your sunglasses make it so your eyes can see better, and see better color, then you bet they’d do the same for the eye of your camera.

Partially through the sunnies view.

Just be sure you don’t cut off your photo quite like this. Unless that’s what you’re going for of course.

Here are a couple of example photos I shot using the lenses of my Ginger Maui Jims. Just check out how they create a different vibe for the same photos:

Beach Shot Before Filter

Beach 2 after filter

Beach shot before filter

Beach shot after filter

Park photo before filter

Park shot after filter

What do you think guys and gals? Is this a little trick you think you might start using in your travel photography?


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13 Responses to Fun with Travel Photos: Create a Filter on the Fly

  1. Stephanie January 14, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Haha, glad to read about someone who is so open with this discovery! I started doing this last spring when I felt like the only one without a smart phone and pictures that couldn’t be instagrammed. I loved the affect and they are still some of my favorite photos from living in Seoul!

  2. Katie (@wandertooth) January 14, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    I just started taking a photography class, and my instructor is all about little hacks like this! I spent an hour in Michael’s yesterday picking up weird things I could put in front of my lens, and then testing them around town: colored cellophane, etc. I’ve also been reading Beth’s blog, and tried fogging up my camera lens and shooting through saran wrap (both of which are Beers and Beans tips). It’s amazing how you can create amazingly beautiful photos that look as though they’ve been photoshopped/iphoto’d without even going near a computer. I’m having so much fun! Haven’t tried shooting through sunglasses next, but thanks for the tip – I will definitely try it!

  3. Laryssa January 14, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    Great idea!
    Just out of curiosity, what camera were you using for these pics?

    • Brooke January 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi Laryssa, My first photo in the post was with my iPhone 3g, but the rest of the photos were with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 — a high-end point and shoot.

  4. Annie André January 15, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    One word, Brilliant… . They reallly do look like instagram photos. I have a canon 600D or T3i and i have to use photoshop to get those same effects. this will definitely save me a step.

    I was wondering though, does your friend Beth know if they sell filters like that, that you can attach to your camera that give you that same instagram effect?

  5. Nico January 20, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    Nice look from a simple idea. Might just try it myself.

  6. Tiana Kai January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Ha, this is very cool and creative, kudos! I used to collect sunglasses and it would have been cool to try them all to see what was best pair for what type of shots and lighting. I will try and remember this next time it’s sunny outside!

  7. Paco Piniella January 22, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I like very much your travel blog.
    Regards from “El LoBo BoBo”

  8. Jessie January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    This is such a great idea! I’m definitely going to give it a try with my sunglasses!

  9. Ally January 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    What an awesome trick. I like how it makes the photos look warmer, I haven’t tried a polarizing filter yet so I can’t compare but its a very creative alternative 🙂

  10. Kaleena's Kaleidoscope January 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    What a cool trick, I’ve never thought of this! Although I’ll have to stop wearing ghetto scratched sunglasses now… ooh, an excuse to go buy a new pair! I’ll take it! 😉

  11. Julie February 4, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    HA! Love the randomness of this observation. I have done some fun things with my sunglasses – reflections up close while you wear them as well. Will have to try this! =)

  12. Annie March 29, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    Uuhhh. Way cool! I’m trying this stat…I just wish I could test it out in Hawaii…

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