They're in our cameras and photo editing software. We're inundated with unusably cheese photo filters. But what if we doubled down and beat the house at its own game? For this week's Shooting Challenge, you'll rock a cheesy photo filter.

The Challenge

Take an original photo and apply an extremely cheesy photo filter (from within your camera or editing software), but in doing so, create something that's not cheesy. Make something awesome. (You can combine two or more filters, too.)


The catch! NO INSTAGRAM or HIPSTAMATIC or ANY VINTAGE FILTERS. Let's face it; these may be cheesy in their own way, but society is currently infatuated with them. (Heck, even I, the biggest snob in the world, gave in.)

The Technique

Haha. Good luck. You're on your own with this one.

The Example

For our lead example, I started with this photo by Dave Stokes. Then I dug through what Photoshop had to offer—that horrible sketch stuff that no one uses—and added a Water Paper filter and a bit of directional blur. The result is a little bit Hallmark, I grant you that. But it works in its own way, and it's not total cheese for reasons of the filter alone. (OK, OK, I'm pretty certain that everyone here can do a better job than I did.)


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

Send your best photo by Monday, September 19th at 8AM Eastern to with "Filter" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameFilter.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameDayFilterWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.