When we launched What’s App Wednesdays we wanted to look at some of the apps out there that helped photographers edit their smart phone images. What we forgot to do is start with the basics. So this quick 5 tip post is designed for those who are just starting out with their iphones or want to capture better images.
As with any type of photography, you need to know your camera. In this case, it’s your iphone.
1. Learn Composition
According the Wikipedia, the rule of thirds was first jotted down in 1797 by John Thomas Smith. The rule of thirds is the basic guideline to use when composing your shot. On your iphone, when you click on your camera icon hit the “options” button at the top in the middle. This will give you two options, Grid and HDR. Turn the grid on. You will now see a grid appear when you are composing your shots. Do not worry, this will not show up in your pictures, it’s merely there to help you compose and straighten your images.
Instead of just tapping on the camera icon and letting your iphone do the thinking, try using the focus button and show it exactly where you want the focus located on your image. If you tap on the screen lightly, a small blue box will appear. This is your focus button, you can move this anywhere you like on your image and your phone will focus on that area. You should also note, this will adjust your exposure. The point where the iphone is focused, is also where the phone will read for its exposure.
3. Stand Still
This goes with regular cameras as well. I was intrigued by a young man who was rollerblading in a park. The amazing flips and heights he reached were unbelievable. I wanted to catch it on my iphone and it took me about 5 tries, but I finally got it. First, I set the focus point to the ramp where I knew he would jump. Then each time he reached that area, I would hold my breath, steady the phone, rest my elbows on my chest and take the picture. I finally caught the image I wanted but it took a few practices.
4. Find the Light
I found one of my favorite trees, a magnolia tree was in bloom. Be still my heart! I started snapping away and yes, I admit I did not look for the light. On the left, you see my first attempts, very dark and murky. The image on the right, I moved my camera up and towards the light, even straight out of iphone it looks heaps better than the first image. This is true with regular cameras as well, always find the light and work with it.
5. Know your Flash
Your flash is attached to your camera, so it will not be the most flattering since it’s not diffused in any way. Since it’s attached, you should know that the flash has a range on it. The results are varied but most reports tend to agree that anything more than 15 feet away will have poor results. So using your iphone and flash at concerts will not give you the desired effect you desire. Also, turn the flash off when you are photographing reflective subjects such as mirrors and windows. The flash can also be harsh when photographing people at night. So you’ll just need to practice in various set ups and situations to see what works best for you.
These are 5 very basic tips to help you get started on iphoneography. Over the course of time, we will continue to review apps and hardware that help you on your way.
So have the rules changed now that smartphones are capturing more photos a day than dslrs? As a photographer you’re generally concerned with all the details, button and dials to make everything work and create an image. However with the smartphone, we get to take a step back and simplify things a bit.
Guest Blogger, Kate Hailey is a freelance portrait photographer in Seattle and an avid iPhoneographer. I noticed her work a few years ago and instantly was intrigued by the way she photographed with her smartphone. Over the past four years, she’s thoroughly enjoyed her photographic journey via the iPhone. She shares with us some tips on composition with the smartphone.
While simplicity is fabulous and many individuals use their smart phones to document their day to day lives by taking snapshots, I always make the effort compose my images with care.
I thought I’d share some of my best tips to master composition, “in camera” with your smartphone.
1. Rule of Thirds
There’s a long standing rule of not having your main subject, smack dab in the middle of your image. Envision a grid (pictured below), you have 9 segments in that grid, your main subject should be placed along the right third, left third, top third or bottom third. Whichever strikes your fancy, this is generally considered more visually pleasing. This concept also applies to painting and filmmaking.
2. Leading Lines
When we look at a photograph, our eyes are drawn along lines, pulled in, led left, reaching right etc… with leading lines we can direct the viewers eye.
3. Symmetry + Patterns
There’s something rather appealing about symmetry and something intriguing about patterns. Look for a scene that has balance and symmetry. Or to change things up, seek out repetition.
4. Point of View
We’re all different heights, so we all see the world a little different. If a scene looks interesting to you, but you feel like the angle is just not right, even after trying a couple of snaps. Stand up on something, sit down on something, or even lay on the ground. You never know how changing your perspective this way, might be just pay off!
Is the background of your image adding to or distracting from your main subject. If it’s distracting, then move your subject, if you can’t move your subject, then move yourself to a different spot where hopefully you can better capture your main subject.
I hope these tips help you out. All of these images were captured and edited on an iPhone4s. – Kate