Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Smartphone Photography

I love taking photos on my iPhone. I love Instagram. I love sharing bits of my life through photos and Instagram. It's really fun for me because I love photography. Trust me I know how narcissistic it can be, but I do it for myself because I enjoy it.

I made Wen and Caitlin hang out with me to take some photos so I can share with you some unsolicited advice about smartphone photography! I know, I know. I digress.

Here are the things I think about most when I'm taking photos on my iPhone:

1. Light. The brighter it is, the clearer the photo will be. A lot of photographers avoid direct sunlight like the plague, and I totally get it, but I also kind of love direct sunlight. It makes iPhone photos super clear.
You definitely do not want to shoot INTO the light source, unless it's for a specific effect. And in case you didn't know you could do this: once you tap on the screen where you want the focus to be, you can actually adjust the exposure. Just drag the sun icon that shows up when you tap where to focus. For a safe bet when you're in a rush, turn your camera on HDR mode.

2. Play with space. Not everything needs to be perfectly centered. You can move things around so they look neater or more put together. You can take your photo of your ice cream in front of a cool wall or blank space, if you want to.

3. Don't be embarrassed to move around if you want to get a nice photo and create a pretty memory, but if you are shy about it, make the best of where you are. That's something I've had to come to terms with, and something that I still struggle with. I get really embarrassed when I'm "staging" a photo of something. But seriously nobody cares if you're taking a picture, so there's really no need to be concerned with what they're thinking. And you'll be happy with the result.
On the other hand, sometimes I don't want to make a show of it. I've adjusted and figured out how to get the shot I want without having to move an inch. I took the photo below while sitting in a chair.
I also love messing with perception. I like the big picture. A small detail on a big canvas. Not every photo has to be up close and personal.

4. With people, candid is always better. Getting everyone to smile and look at the camera is fantastic, but I love the in between moments. I will choose candid photos over staged photos almost all the time.
5. Don't use the zoom. The quality just won't be good, just get closer to or further from whatever you want to take a photo of.

6. Focus. Pretty much the only editor effect in Instagram that I use is the blur effect, when I want to zero in on one aspect of the photo. That being said, there's a limit to how much you can do with the blur effect in Instagram, so I often use Snapseed for this particular effect (I'll write a bit about apps down the page)
7. Don't overthink it. I love "curating" my iPhone photography as much as the next photographer/blogger/social media hound, but I love the memories more. So yeah, I'll post a grainy selfie of me on the couch with my dog right next to the posed shot of my ice cream (I literally did that last week). People relate to people, so why pretend like your whole life is a stream of symmetrical, bright, clean photos?

Apps I use: VSCO and Snapseed are pretty much the only two editing apps that I use. Occasionally I'll tap into another resource (I have a ton on my phone), but I generally try to keep it pretty simple and consistent. I almost exclusively use the C1 filter on VSCO, and use Snapseed for the aforementioned focusing and to eliminate for the "healing" feature (similar to the one in Photoshop). I  also LOVE Boomerang, I just wish I could edit/filter those outside of Instagram!

Check out the infographic below from Aura Frames for more smartphone photography tips. This digital picture frame company is currently in the middle of a partnership with charity: water to raise funds for three wells around the world. While it's not in my current (non-existent) budget, it's definitely something I would want on my shelf someday. 

Aura created this graphic that shares some of my own personal tips for smartphone photography, as well as some more specific tips from their team!

Some other snaps from this day...
When you accidentally match your friend and you're wearin' your favorite bandana, you document it. Occasionally it's nice (but mostly weird) to be in front of the camera instead of behind it.
Thanks to Aura Frames for the graphic and encouragement to write this post! If you guys have any tips for smartphone photography, let me know, I'm always looking for more information because I love taking photos.

You can follow me on Instagram here if you don't already and you like pictures of puppies and admittedly a lot of my face and stuff.


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