From the domain of the privileged few, photography has now become instantly accessible. Armed with Instagram accounts and fuelled by multiple filters, taking like-worthy photos is now literally at the touch of a few simple buttons.
Although you can now carry a camera in your pocket, there will always be those among us who vie for the biggest camera or the latest lens. But a few years ago, I stumbled upon Chase Jarvis’ common sense mantra, which is the title of this article. The premise is that we should embrace the camera we have with us because, ultimately, it makes all the difference between taking a great shot or missing it entirely. And FYI, all the images featured in this article were shot on the camera I had with me, my iPhone.
Having said that, here are my top tips to take better pictures with just your mobile phone.
Get the exposure right Exposure simply means how light or dark an image is. As far as possible, try and get the exposure right while taking your photo, since camera phones capture a lot less information than a standard DSLR. This makes it harder to adjust the exposure in post. You can experiment by tapping various points within your frame, until you’re satisfied with the exposure.
Crop, don’t zoom Most smart phones give you the option of zooming in while taking a photo, but why not take a step closer to your subject instead? When you use digital zoom, your image quality immediately deteriorates. Alternately, when you crop, you can preserve the quality of the original image, while controlling how much of the image you want to remove.
Composition is still king Composition is one of the most important things to keep in mind while taking a photo, no matter what you’re shooting with. Taking an extra second to compose your shot can make your photos progress from average to awesome.
Check what’s in the background – make sure there aren’t any poles behind your subject’s head and that there isn’t too much headspace. Small details like using complimentary colours, positive and negative space and getting level with horizontal and vertical lines can make your photos more interesting.
Edit, don’t filter Although I’m not against Instagram, I think you should experiment with its basic editing tools, rather than using the same pre-set filters that everyone else does. There are lots of apps like VSCO Cam, Snapseed and Photoshop Express, which let you edit images and make them your own. So, say goodbye to your favourite ‘earlybird’ filter. And realise the advantages of editing.
Take more pictures It is possibly the first piece of advice I give anyone interested in photography. Like any other skill, the more photos you take, the better you’ll get at it. And thanks to digital photography, not only can you carry your camera with you all the time, you also have the advantage of unlimited film and instant feedback. So just keep shooting – that perfect shot is probably just a click away.