If you like a well-curated Instagram feed as much as we do (we knew we could feel a connection), here are 7 top tips for taking great photos on your phone.
That hypnotic little rectangle in your pocket, is it a phone? A camera? Both? The lines are blurring and it’s not from your depth of field (nerdy photography joke, we’re sorry!). Truth is – camera ability on phones (well, smartphones – we wouldn’t recommend using one in a telephone box) is getting better with every new model released and although a keen eye can still tell the difference, we’ve put together a few tips for getting the most mileage from that teeny tiny lens packing thousands of pixels in to your palm.
The phone gives you a grid, go ahead and use it
Turn on, tune in and crop out (the junk). In all seriousness, dig through those setting panels and turn the grid on (For iPhone users, go to Settings> Photos & Camera> Grid ON). Most phones use a grid of 9 equal squares, which means you can start to align by The Rule Of Thirds. Top tip: Placing subjects and highlighting areas of your picture in the thirds or on the intersections makes for strong focal points. The grid can also be used to make your horizons and lines parallel, which never goes a miss to a keen eye.
Phone flash sucks!
That harsh blue light never does anyone’s disco-face a favour. ‘Photograph’ is literally the measurement of light, and although some astounding effects can be achieved with a good flash (hello cheeky!) and professional lighting kits, this is most often not available in your back pocket (unless you have some pretty big pockets). Try to find natural light, even if there’s little of it, it can look quite dramatic rather than harsh. Take a few shots each way, and see what’s best. Which brings us to our next point…
Take 100 photos and delete 99
Sometimes a blessing, other times a curse – digital photography allows you to take lots of pictures. So take lots of pictures! Then you can delete them all but the best one and pretend you’re good. Don’t be that guy/gal that posts the other 99 and ruins the illusion for the rest of us. Ignorance is sheer digital bliss.
Shoot and crop
Don’t be tempted by the digital zoom in a precious moment of panic! Just shoot and handle the crop later to save quality. Aside from zooming in on a subject, the crop tool is valuable to cut parts out of the photo that are infringing on your framing. Often the space can give just as much impact (sometimes more) than the photo subject so have a look around the edges and see what can stay and what can go.
The best hardware out there
One of our current favourites is the Moment lens – maybe a little pricey for the casual phone photographer, but definitely worth it. In saying that, there are loads of lenses out there that help you stretch to wider angles, more texture and macro shots, so it’s good to shop around. If you fancy shooting video on the move, Glif Tripod and Joby’s GorillaPods are great for making sure the camera stays steady while you do an Irish jig (or anything else to your fancy). For gadget shopping, we recommend Photojojo as a go-to for cool must-haves. Disclaimer: MadeBrave cannot be held responsible for a dwindling bank balance and/or any subsequent effects.
The best software out there
We like Snapseed for quick photo retouches, but don’t just take our word for it. Fun fact: Snapseed was bought by tech-giant Google after it was Apple’s pick for the iPad App Of The Year – that’s always a promising start! Another one to note is VSCO, which as a bonus, has a full community to tap in to for phone photographers, so if you like to interact with like-minded creative folk, this is the app for you. Last but not least, the trusty ol’ Instagram, which has seriously upped its photo-editing game. As an added extra we’ve all been set free from Instagram’s original square prison and the choice of proportions are now all yours, meaning you no longer need to crop your friend’s face in half because they’re ‘ruining your proportions’ – awkward.
Easy on the filters!
Although with the above we’re armed with A ZILLION variations to edit a photo now, doesn’t mean we have to. One day we’ll look back on our photos with the same cringe we reminisce about out those disposable ‘Kodak days’ and we’ll wonder why we painted them with ghastly filters and effects – such is the way of trends and that’s exactly what they are. Make it simple, subtle and let it be timeless.
What are your top tips for taking photos on your phone? Join the conversation over on Twitter @MadeBrave.