Taking great photos comes down to a few basic things for me; light, composition, and subject matter. Though you might only need one of these things to take a good photo, it's combining two or more of these that makes a photos really stand out against the rest.
If you're the type that shoots 100 photos and shares only 1 it can get taxing on your motivation to create and also your iPhones storage. So why not use a few of these quick tips to save some space and also grab some great photos while you're at it.
Though these are pretty basic tips and tricks I've go a bit further by adding some advanced tips at the end of this article along with a challenge for you to share with me on Instagram and Twitter this week. Would absolutely LOVE to see what you come up with.
A must for any photo as without it, you aren't going to get very far. Natural sunlight is obviously the best source for any photo and depending on the look and feel you're going for harsh midday light is much more difficult to work with than "golden hour" that runs a couple hours after sunrise and a couple hours before sunset each day. Shoot for those times of day for the best results.
If you don't have access to natural light but still want to create something be sure to get creative by using street lights, neon signage, a laptop screen, or even a flashlight.
What do you want to shoot? It can literally be anything. A friend, building, pet, plant, toy, or countless other things that you have right in front of you. Personally, I love shooting architecture and nature so I am gravitated towards anything with great leading lines as well as a personality such as an old barn or a classic landscape location on my morning commute.
No matter what your subject be sure to
To get a bit more in depth here, layout is incredibly important. It gives an ascetic and also can tell a story or move someone through an image with their eyes quickly and easily. Conveying what you want someone to focus on first and then build upon that as they continue to look at the photo.
Rule of thirds is by far the easiest to remember and implement. The idea is you mentally break the image up in thirds with imaginary lines. These lines then help you frame up a shot by placing your subject whether thats a person or horizon line for a landscape in the bottom, middle or top third. I've broken down an image example to show where and how I broke an image downtown the Butler University campus. The light, being natural from the setting sun. The subject matter, a student walking between the pillars. The composition, breaking the rules of thirds to bring the rocks below in the bottom third and then rest in the top two thirds. Then using the sides to break out the pillars on each side to their own third as well.
The great thing about most smartphones today is you can actually build in these guides to your native camera app for quick reference. This gives me the guides without guessing and allows me to frame up a shot even just to make sure it is straight with the horizon of my subject. Here is a quick look into the iPhone settings on where to turn this on.
Advanced Shooting Tips:
Depth: One of the main differences between iPhone photos and professional DSLR's is the high image quality along with the depth you get with many images. Though many smartphones are adding the depth effect for portraits its still not the greatest without some serious trial and error.
So, if you want a quick way to add some depth to an image and impress those around you be aware of the limitations you have that might be a strength. The iPhone having such a small physical camera gives it the advantage to get incredibly close to the ground for more depth. Like the shot above I flipped my phone upside down and got it as close to the rocks as I possibly could. This gives me a great blur effect that many look for in expensive photography gear.
Perfect reflections: This tip is very similar to the depth effect but instead of the ground, rocks, or grass look for a puddle or any reflective surface. Getting that phones lens as close as possible will allow you to get a perfect reflection shot.
Keep an eye out for a big rain as I did with this photo during a large photo walk downtown Indianapolis. The puddle might not have been any larger than a dinner plate but did great.
Gear: This becomes a bit more of an investment but there are companies out there that build lenses and add ons for the iPhone that help with any given photography project you might have. Personally, I am obsessed with the Moment lenses. They are essentially cinema quality lenses made of metal and high end glass for all sorts of different looks. I currently use the wide angle lens, the Superfish VERY wide lens, as well as the Macro for small tiny subjects.
Then a list of a few other items I use below on various projects and carry with me on the daily.
- Joby Tripod (Incredibly strong and customizable)
- Joby Mobile Tripod Mount (Perfect for any mobile phone)
- Olloclip (Another, cheaper mobile lens)
- Manfrotto Mini Tripod (Great for size)
- Anker Power Bank (A must for always on the go shooting to save on battery)
Now, for the challenge this week where I want you to go out and use the tips above and share your images with me on social. I want you to get out and share an image using the flip upside down reflection technique. You can send the images to me on Twitter or Instagram DM or if you want, post them to social and tag me!