The world is yours so go ahead and photograph it.
Whether we believe so or not, there are numerous moments that ought to be caught on camera in our everyday lives. We don’t have to view our everyday routine as mundane. And thanks to our iPhones (and that fancy Nikon you may tote around), photos can be taken easily. All you have to do is simply remember to capture those fine moments. Photographs are powerful. They tell a story and allow us to reminisce on times that may have otherwise been forgotten. A child playing in the sand. A dog tied to a bench outside a store and waiting for his or her owner. That sudden afternoon thunderstorm that light the sky with bolts of red lightening. Whatever it is that peaks your curiosity and evokes an emotional response is worthy of being photographed. A photograph will bring you back to a specific time and place and stimulate the feelings you felt at that point in time. This is the power of photos and the act of photography. However, producing good photos requires certain skills and the knowledge of properly editing those photos.
In Cotton Coulson’s National Geographic article on iPhone photography, multiple tips for taking the best iPhone photos are comprised and explained. They are listed and summarized below.
- Keep Your iPhone Around At All Times
Because we rely on our phones so heavily today, it is not often that we forget to bring it everywhere we go. For that reason, there is no excuse but to use our iPhones to capture the special moments in life. The Apple device has been developed to take great quality photos so take advantage of this feature.
2. Use Two Hands for Stability
It is best to use your left hand to hold the phone and your right thumb to press the button. Note that the camera shutter is not released until you take your thumb off the button on the touch screen.
3. Avoid Using Digital Zoom
The digital zoom on the iPhone is activated when you tap the screen to focus; this brings up a blue square that automatically adjusts the exposure and white balance. Digital zoom can be used for capturing text or a reference shot but for fine photography on the iPhone, it is best to not use it. The greater the zoom, the more likely your camera is to shake and produce photos that lack sharpness. Furthermore, avoid taking high-speed action, sports, and wildlife photos on the iPhone. It is best used for capturing details of life.
4. Keep Compositions Simple
When taking photos with your iPhone, remember to capture easily readable patterns. Patterns are appealing to the eye and are indirectly telling viewers that this photo is important to look at. Additionally, each object in the picture ought to contribute to the overall mood and vibe of the image.
5. Lighting is Essential
Sometimes you have to play around with the light in order to get the best shot. It is best to avoid direct sunlight in order to prevent shadows and squinting. Instead, bright overcast or even fog is good lighting for taking photos.
6. Make Use of Reflections
Find them in windows, water puddles, mirrors, your mother’s fine silver, etc. They are mesmerizing to look at and create very interesting visuals.
7. Look For People or Objects to Create Scale
Including a person or particular object in your image is smart when trying to display a sense of scale. I remember the photos my family took on our day trip to the Redwoods National State Park in Northern California; we stood next to the hundred year old trees and their massive trunks took up most of the image space.
8. Keep Your iPhone Dry
This is self-explanatory. You can’t take good pictures with a phone that has water damage from that rain storm you hoped to capture. It may even be a good idea to invest in a LifeProof case if you’re one who likes to snap photos of your travels and nature adventures.
9. Look For New, Exciting Angles
Capturing a photo from all sorts of angles (high and low!) gives your finished product a unique perspective.
10. When Shooting Portraits, Look For Soft Light
You don’t necessarily need your big DSLR camera to take intimate, clear portraits of people. Find natural lighting, perhaps from a window, and snap a shot of a family member or friend. Window lighting gives the photo a natural look and nothing is better than natural . Furthermore, natural reveals the true image of something or someone.
11. Keep An Eye Out For Abstract Shots and Humor
Street art and graffiti can add a lot of character to an otherwise plain brick or concrete wall. They can also portray a certain message and be humorous. On your next stroll through downtown, keep your eyes peeled for this type of art and be sure to snap a picture of it.
In a Makeuseof.com article by Nancy Messieh, Instagram photography and proper use of filters are discussed. There are 39 Instagram filters displayed in the article and each has a different hue and contrast. Some filters work better in exposing the elements of nature while others are better used in showing the true colors of food and or a person. For example, Lo-Fi bumps up the saturation of the photo while also adding shadow and therefore, it is great for food photography.
My personal favorite Instagram filters are Valencia and X-Pro II. These filters create striking images with the brightness and higher contrast.
We know that nature shots are a popular source of work for photographers. Furthermore, according to the article, the Hefe filter works particularly well with these kinds of photos. See image below.
Each Instagram filter is unique in its own way and choosing the right filter for your photo can change the way others view your image. Playing around with the different filters is fun and if you haven’t already, you’ll soon start to gravitate towards the same filters based on the typical images you like to post.
Lastly, in a Digital Camera World article titled 10 Rules of Photo Composition, principals for snapping the most captivating photos are listed and explained.
- Simplify the Scene: Remember to choose your subject and then select a camera viewpoint that makes it the center of attention in the frame.
- Fill the Frame: Zoom in to fill the frame and hint to people as to what they should be looking at. Too much of a large-scale scene can confuse people looking at your photo.
- Aspect Ratio: Switch it up sometimes and take vertical photos, instead of just horizontal. Changing the proportions of the image can allow for different objects in the image to be exposed.
- Avoid the Middle: Though tempting, the middle can create a boring, static photo. Simply move your subject away from the middle while making sure it is balanced with the rest of the scene
- Leading Lines: Use the lines created by the objects or physical items in the image to direct where peoples’ eye move
- Use Diagonals: Take an image from a vertical or diagonal point of view for a different perspective.
- Space to Move: Allow movement and space in your photographs for a powerful effect.
- Backgrounds: Not only is your subject important but your background is too. An image always has a full frame so focus on what’s going on behind your subject as well.
- Creative with Colors: Capture objects and other scenes with bright hues. These are attractive to the eye and induce a striking effect.
- Breaking the Rules: Once you know the rules of photo composition, feel free to ‘break the rules’ and prove that you can still produce a fantastic image.
The art of photography is a learning process and as with any skill, great products can be produced with effort and practice. The finished result is always worth the hard work. So get snapping, people!