I take pictures a lot. Like of everything.
I am a photographer by trade, but most of my photos of everyday life are taken with my cell phone. I hardly ever have my “big girl camera” when I am going to eat with friends, checking cows with the boy or hanging out at the coffee shop, so it is a great tool to have to still be able to share my day and life with friends, family and followers.
But, phone photos can be tricky. You can’t adjust aperture and ISO. You get what you get. So, here are 5 super simple tips for capturing those great phone photos!
If you do nothing else, look for great light! The more natural light you can find the better. That might mean moving closer to a window, go outside if that is possible or getting a piece of white foam board to use as a reflector. Watch for shadows and off colors. If you are shooting red or pink and the color is off, maybe you need to think about a more natural area to shoot from. This might also mean having to wait until full daylight to capture those great photos… greatness takes time and timing is everything.
A beautiful photo takes a lot of key components, but don’t hide the beauty by using pre-edit filters or over editing your image. The more natural your photo looks the better response it will get from social media. Editing can change the whole feel of an image. A lighter editing style can relay the feeling of airy, light, fun style and a darker edit can make your viewers feel dreary, tired and dark! It is important to find your style and make your style consistent throughout your feed. Instagram filters are great, but only if they are used to a minimum.
3. Avoid Zoom
Try to get as close as possible to your subject. The zoom on your cell phone is great when needed, but can often make your photos look grainy and distorted. The closer you can get to your subject the better clarity your photo will have and will also print better and post better to social media. If you can’t get close to your subject, take the photo from a distance with no zoom and use the cropping feature to get closer to the subject. Several free apps give you the crop function or on iPhone you can crop from the photo editing function of the phone. Most camera phones have a high enough resolution that you can crop significantly and still have pretty clear photo.
4. Say No To Flash
Think “deer in headlights!” Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just turn it off. See Tip #1 for my thoughts on natural light. Honestly, I have never been in a situation where flash “helped” my photo. Unless you like red eyes and super washed out people, just say no.
5. Think Outside the Box
Don’t look for the ordinary image that everyone is shooting. Think of what is different. Try for something that is taking the same subject, but making it totally unique to you. If you are shooting a cup of coffee, stand up and shoot from up top. Think of your background too. If you need to move your subjects to a better location, pick up those dirty clothes, dust the table, etc.—all easy things that can take your photo to the next level. Make it unique. Make it you.
If you remember these 5 simple tips, you will be shooting great images from your iPhone in no time. Just remember—be thoughtful, be consistent, be you!
Good Luck!! And if you’re ready to get those photos out of your phone and in a frame, I can help there too!
Have a question about how to make your phone photos even better? Leave a comment and ask!
Originally published January 28, 2016