No matter how many photos people take with their phones, there’s still a lot of bad shots on there. We see them all day on Instagram and Facebook. Some of us shoot them and know we do, but we’re not sure how to get better. What can we do to help improve our shots?
Well, here comes the folks at COOPH to offer some suggestions. Most of these tips, though, aren’t limited to just smartphone photography. They apply equally as much to shooting with a DSLR, mirrorless or any other kind of camera, too.
Composition is one of the most important things in photography. There’s really no right or wrong composition as a general rule, only what’s right for your image. Many camera apps on phones do have grid lines that can be enabled and disabled, though, to give you some guides.
There’s the rule of thirds, the golden ratio, and all kinds of overlays available to guide you with your composition. These “rules” aren’t always perfect, but using them is a good place to start, and once you understand them, you can learn how to effectively break them.
Symmetry is a wonderful thing in photography, and when you nail it, it’s usually very impressive. Mostly because getting symmetry that works in the real world is often rather difficult. And sometimes perfect symmetry can be broken to achieve a certain effect or highlight a subject in the shot.
The “Rule of Odds”
With symmetry possibly being an occasional exception, odd numbers generally tend to be more pleasing to the eye. 3, 5, 7, 143, it just works. It’s not always true, but it’s a good one to try if shooting a bunch things isn’t quite working for you.
Frames within a frame
This is one I try to do a lot with my regular photography on location. I’ll often use gaps in branches, leaves, gates and fences to create a frame within my photographs. Through this frame, we see the subject. A very effective technique.
You can create a sense of depth in your images with more than just a shallow depth of field. Which is fortunate, really, because that’s difficult to get with a tiny smartphone camera sensor. It’s not impossible to get a relatively shallow depth of field, but you can also create depth with light, and colour.
Direct your subject
This one’s only really relevant if you’re photographing people. But, it can be extended to include arranging your non-human subjects in a way that’s more pleasing, too. Like adjusting the angle or position a certain piece in your composition is at.
Experiment in manual
Most apps these days offer some form of manual control. I use Camera+ and 645Pro on my iPhone, both of which offer a great amount of control. This is another one that’s good advice for a “real camera”, too. Break out of the auto modes, start fiddling with settings and see what they do.
The camera, even a phone’s camera, can’t read your mind. It doesn’t know what shot you want to create. Sometimes you want bright and cheerful, and at other times you want dark and spooky.
Edit and share
It kind of goes without saying really, that you’ll want to edit your images once you’ve shot them. Even the best apps in the world don’t do a great job of creating perfect images the instant you hit the shutter.
Whether or not you share it after that is up to you, but I’m sure you probably will.