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Photographers: Don’t Scratch Your Lenses

Because of recent TikTok trend, I feel the need to tell all photographers out there not to scratch their lenses.


Apparently a video was circulating on TikTok where a photographer suggested that in order to achieve a sort of dreamy, ethereal (or just plain soft blur) effect in your photos, you should scratch the surface of your lens with a rock.

scratching camera lens with rock
scratched camera lens

I’m not going to link to the original video because I’m still not entirely sure if the person who did it meant to be taken seriously or if she just wanted to get attention. Either way, lots of people were upset that they ruined their lenses.

The thing is if you want to create this sort of effect, you don’t have to scratch your lens!

Get Yourself a Lens Filter!

Lens filters serve all sorts of purposes. They can create all sorts of effects. In this instance, you can buy yourself a cheap UV filter from Amazon for, most likely, less than $10 depending on the size.

lens filter

Then, if you want to be destructive, you can scratch that INSTEAD of your lens. Or, and I would recommend this option, you could wipe a thin layer of Vaseline or some other petroleum jelly on the filter and THAT will give you the soft blur effect you are looking for WITHOUT damaging your equipment. How about that?

In fact, there are a whole bunch of ‘special effect’ filters out there: kaleidoscopes, prisms, colors, etc.

You can try them without damaging your gear and see if any of them fits the style of images you want to create. And you can switch between styles if you want, unlike permanently scratching your lens.

Want More DIY Photography Tips?

There’s nothing wrong with trying some DIY projects. However, you shouldn’t have to destroy expensive pieces of equipment to achieve the look you’re going for. That kind of defeats the purpose of saving money through DIY, right?

If you are into trying out new DIY photography projects, be sure to follow me on Instagram or TikTok and be sure to browse our collection of DIY photo projects here on the website.

What type of project would you like to try or see here on the site? Let me know on social!

Note: This post does contain affiliate links.

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The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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