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Five creative projects for the avid photographer

Tackle these five unique projects created by photography bloggers and creatives.

Sharon Vaknin/CNET

With smartphones boasting excellent lenses and good point-and-shoot cameras becoming more affordable, photography has become a greater part of everyone's life. Just look at some of the most popular apps and Web sites, like Instagram, Flickr, and even Facebook Photos: they've exploded in activity as people discover a previously untapped passion for capturing moments and quickly sharing them with the world.

As a fellow everyday photographer, I scoured blogs, Pinterest, and (unashamedly) previous How To posts to dig up the tips, tricks, and tutorials that take this newfound passion for photography to greater heights.

Whether your smartphone is your primary lens, or you've adopted a dSLR that hardly leaves your side, this collection of tips can be enjoyed by just about anyone.

1. Make huge prints inexpensively. Like a neighborhood Italian restaurant decorated with large canvas photos from the better days, your home can really get a lift from displaying large prints of family and friends. Most of us, however, will quickly dismiss this idea after a glimpse at the price of canvas prints. Sidestep this barrier with a simple tutorial from Jenny Komenda, who shows you how to make large canvas-style prints on the cheap.

2. DIY Instagram photo strips. Insta-addicts will love this simple tutorial that will help you turn your carefully edited Instagram shots into vintage-style photo strips to display in your office, gift to friends, or use as a bookmark for your "old-school" books. Get the steps here.

3. Wood photo transfers. Photojojo, an awesome Web site packed with unique photography-related gadgets and novelty items, never fails with its DIY projects. This time around, the clever staff shows you how to transfer a photo to a wooden surface and create a one-of-a-kind piece of art where your photo takes center stage.

4. Your headphones as shutter release. iPhone users, did you know? Your headphones can double as a shutter release, allowing you to take supersteady shots from a distance. This isn't a project, per se, but will become a go-to technique for any avid iPhotographer. Get the quick tip here.

Now playing: Watch this: Hidden iPhone photography tricks

5. A simple, effective portrait setup. Gorgeous portrait shots often seem difficult to achieve. The immediate assumption is that the photographer must have used a high-end camera with an equally pricey lens. Sometimes that's the case, but in general, lighting and technique is more important than fancy equipment. Rachel Durik shows you her easy, DIY setup over at her photography blog, Savor Photography.