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Buy a lens hood? Heck, print it for free

Improve your photos on the cheap by downloading free lens hood designs and printing them on paper.

For those entering the realm of SLR cameras and their interchangeable lenses, lens hoods can improve your shots by screening out glare from the sun or other light sources. But those hoods, when not included with the lens, can cost tens or even hundreds of dollars.

A printable lens hood for a Canon 10-22mm lens
A printable lens hood for a Canon 10-22mm lens

But you can get them for free, as long as you don't mind a little arts and crafts action.

Paul Mutton's Web site has hundreds of lens hood designs available for free download as PDF files. Anyone can print the PDFs (preferably on thick, dark paper), do a little trimming and taping, and have a workable hood.

Mutton has options for both ordinary round hoods and the fancier "petal" designs that take into account the rectangular dimensions of a photo. Sure, they're not as durable and don't attach as securely as the real thing, but you can always print another one.

There's one caveat, though--Mutton's designs print on A4-sized paper, so United States dwellers accustomed to 8.5-inch by 11-inch dimensions must make adjustments to make sure the designs print at 100 percent size.

Subscribers to Mutton's site also can print custom-made lens hoods. And advertisers who want a little publicity can buy real estate on the templates.

(Via JPG Photography)