As we all must do more often than we would like, I was folding laundry the other day and I noticed how cool the texture of the used dryer sheet was.
I have seen amazing images of people shooting through zip-lock bags, metal pipes and even crystal bracelets.
With this in mind, I decided I should try shooting through the dryer sheet.
This particular dryer sheet had been through the dryer twice as I was forgetful and didn’t bother to put a new one in. I pulled it apart a bit so there would be a hole in the middle that I could focus through.
I then attached the dryer sheet to my lens with a thick elastic band being careful to keep the hole in the middle. I used my center focal point when shooting so that I would definitely be able to get focus.
I was expecting the addition of the dryer sheet to add a neat texture to the image but was completely surprised at what it did to the light coming into the camera when I pointed the lens directly at the sun.
I placed my girls on the chair you can see in the photos below and took pictures of them at sunset. My settings were: ISO 320, f/3.2, 1/250.
Here’s a pullback comparison of the flare I achieved without the dryer sheet and then with.
I was amazed at the way the light seemed to spread across the piece of dryer sheet, creating a really neat effect.
I was concerned that this may have been a lucky shot so I tried using my dryer sheet flare techniques in some other situations.
When you use the dryer sheet without the sun directly hitting the lens you get a much more subtle effect. As you can see here, my daughter is blocking the light with her body and the dryer sheet provides a soft, dreamy effect to the image.
Happily, I was able to recreate the flare effect on numerous occasions with different pieces of dryer sheet (always used twice because that makes it much easier to pull apart without it tearing).
Keep in mind, there is a bit of luck involved, as you don’t have a lot of control over where the flare ends up. However, this is one of my favorite parts about my dryer sheet experiment as it forced me to let go of control and embrace the surprise!
I hope you will give this fun technique a try! It’s a really easy way to add a little creativity to your photography.