So, my camera of choice is an iPhone. If I had a different camera I might be inclined to know how to use it properly, but I don’t, so the iPhone is it. I have an iPhone 5, with a blue case if you wanted to know. Here are the 5 tips I have been given that have made the biggest impact on my photography skillz.
TIP 1 Take lots of photos. What are you worried about, wasting film?
We live in a digital age now, and don’t have to conserve expensive film like we did in the olden days. You can literally take 100 photos of your cup of coffee (or family on the beach), then delete 99 crap ones until you get to the best one of all. If you take just one or two, they might turn out to be blurry, or have a dirty napkin in the background, or some other ghastly photo bomb situation and then where will you be? Safer to take the extras and delete them later.
TIP 2 Lighting is important.
First of all, don’t ever use the flash on your phone. Like EVER. It’s so yellow and bleached out and ugly, just pretend it isn’t there and forget about it. Try and take photos in natural, bright sunshine. Don’t stand in the way of that sunshine and take a photo of your shadow, that would be dumb. If you take a lot of photos in your kitchen or dining room or whatever, find the best place for light in that room and stick to it. But what if it’s not the time of sunshine, I hear you ask? What if I want to take a photo right now and the sun is not out?? Here is a game changer that I learnt about from Absoluteleigh – buy an inexpensive LED camping light. It’s like having $15 worth of sunshine in your handbag. It makes a MASSIVE difference if you are taking photos at night or in low light. The LED gives off a clear white light, that gives a nice, clean, non yellow light in your photo. I love it. I was embarrassed about pulling this UFO out of my bag the first time, for about 3 seconds; now everyone wants to borrow it! Seriously, the only difference between the photo on the left and the one on the right is the gadget in the middle. Find it online, or at camping stores.
TIP 3 Style Your Images.
What are you taking a photo of? What can you place, or remove from, around the object to make it more interesting? You don’t have to be Rachel Zoe and you don’t have to pretend you are taking photos for a catalog, but it’s not hard to make the background appealing – rearrange the table slightly at a cafe, place a handbag behind those shoes, put the kids in front of a mural or a nice tree, get rid of the laundry basket, clean the edge of your plate where the sauce has spattered. Think about the law of thirds, you can turn a grid app on your phone to show you where things could look better. Think about perception – most things photograph better from directly above, taking a photo from an angle might cast shadows that you could love or hate. Try it! See tip 1; if you don’t like it, it can be deleted. Styling You recently posted about taking flat lays, and there are some excellent tips there for styling images, as well as the law of thirds.
TIP 4 Try not to Shake It Up!
I have the worst shaky hands. It’s not DT’s, I promise I’m not an alcoholic! I think it might be Ventolin that makes my hands shake…..anyway. Shaking hands do not make for lovely photos, they make for blurred, wobbly photos. What I do is try to rest my hand or elbows on a pile of books or something, or hold the camera (and the hand pressing the button) with my other hand, just for a bit of stability. Holding my elbows into my body helps if there is no handy table or pile of books around. Taking a deep breath to centre myself also helps. And finally, see Tip 1 – take lots of photos, they won’t all be blurry.
TIP 5 EDIT EDIT EDIT
Don’t just whack your unpolished photo up there, there are opportunities to edit all around you! You can edit on your phone, it comes with editing functions. Go to the app store and be amazed at the free editing options available to you there. On Instagram, you can edit. On your laptop, you can edit. On the internet, you can edit. There are NO excuses for not making your photo the best it can be. Here are the basic edits I do for photos that go on the blog. (Remember I do not carry the photographers gene, so be kind) In Microsoft Office Picture Manager, I do an auto correct. I then crop wasted space or ugly backgrounds out, keeping in mind that a bit of ‘white’ (blank) space is good to frame your subject. I then compress the image so that it doesn’t eat up all the memory. THEN I upload it to PicMonkey, where I might turn it into a collage or add some text or other effects. Sometimes I edit it in Canva, which has some really lovely banners and text options. Finally it gets to go on the blog! If an image is for Instagram, I crop, apply a filter and straighten up the horizon in Instagram. Uneven horizons are a pet hate of mine, especially for photos of the sea. Look out! The ocean is draining away!! RUN!
So, there are 5 basic edits for non photographers who only have a smart phone. Are you in the same situation? What tips would you add?