Living in the Florida Keys has made me a better photographer. With our near perfect weather, gorgeous landscape and ocean views, it’s kind of hard to leave home without a camera for fear that I might miss something.
“The best camera to have is the one that’s with you all the time” – that is so true. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have an iphone or some other smart phone with them at all times anymore. Not only do we want to be available for phone calls but with all of it’s other functions it makes it pretty hard to leave home without it.
Sometimes the best shots come from just being in the right place at the right time. Even though camera phones don’t have all the capabilities a digital camera would have,
There is no reason you can’t take some pretty decent photographs without all the fancy equipment – even your phone will do.
Does a fancy rod make you a great fisherman? Of course not, knowledge and lot’s of practice is what makes the difference.
So here are a few tips to practice that will help you get the most out of your phone’s camera.
Check your camera settings
Before you begin, go into your phone’s settings and make sure your picture quality settings are on high.
Make sure your lens is clean
Since your phone goes with you everywhere, it’s not unusual for your lens to get dirty. Check it often!
Use both hands
Because the phone is so light and we’re used to handling it so casually we are often tempted to snap photos one handed or with our arm extended at an awkward angle. Instead try holding it closer to your body and use both hands to hold it steady. You’ll find your images will turn out much sharper. You should also frame your shot remembering to use the camera screen the same as you would the viewfinder of a regular camera.
Create a sense of scale
You can create a sense of drama in your photographs of oceans, mountains, bridges, etc. if you place someone or something in the photo to give the viewer a sense of scale. (Also helpful in photographing fish!)
Resist the urge to zoom
Instead of using the zoom feature which is much more sensitive to distortion from shake, use your feet to zoom your body closer to the subject. It’s true, an iPhone can’t compete with a high end DSLR camera but that’s not such a bad thing. Being forced to get up close and personal with the meaningful things in your life may bring may get you to notice some things you’ve never thought of before.
Choose your time of day
There are two times of day far superior to any other time of day for capturing interesting shadows, soft light. It’s known as the “magic hour”. It’s the half hour before and half hour after the sun rises or sets.
Notice the background!
When composing your photo it is just as important to notice what is going on behind your subject as it is the subject itself. Ever taken a darling photo of a child only to notice later that there was a big pile of unfolded laundry in the background? The best photos have simple backgrounds, not too many people or other craziness going on in the background that could detract from the subject itself.
Consider the lighting
Have you noticed how difficult it is to get a sharp clear shot in low light? It’s because the shutter needs to stay open longer to let in enough light to expose the shot. It is virtually impossible to hold your hands still enough to keep the images from being blurry. iPhones are notorious for producing grainy photos in low light situations. The best you can do is keep the light behind you and try to make sure your subject is well lit. Bright sunshine-days are wonderful for taking pictures, but you’ll want to be on the look out for harsh shadows and squinting eyes. The best lighting is a bright overcast sky, even a little fog can make skin tones quite stunning.
Outdoor photography can be challenging. The conditions cannot be controlled like they can indoors. Use this to your advantage. Ominous clouds, fog etc. should get your creativity flowing. You never know the drama you might create on a less than “Chamber of Commerce” day.
Practice different angles, photograph reflections in the water, play with shadows and light, let your mind play a little bit. The number of photos you take is only limited by the size of your memory card so take some chances and explore.
Don’t delete shots from your phone
Wait until you get your photos loaded onto your big computer before deciding to trash them. They might look bad on that small screen but once you can see the details on a bigger screen you might change your mind.
The best part about digital technology is that you can shoot to your heart’s content without running out of film. Don’t be afraid to experiment and always take way more shots than you need. Remember, practice makes perfect!