I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone and their mother owns some sort of smart phone these days. And every one of those phones is equipped with a camera. So basically, we have become an entire country of amateur photographers overnight. And while some people are using apps and filters to turn out some amazing shots, the average person may not even know the first thing about getting a good photo.
I’ve put together a short list of pretty basic tips on how to get better photos with your phone. I’m not going to delve into the land of apps and filters, that’s a post for another time. I’m just going to give you some of my most straightforward techniques. I’m not a photographer but I do take a lot of photos for this blog and I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Here are my top 6 tips for getting a better photograph with your phone:
Tip #1: Move Closer
I don’t know how many times I see people post photos to Facebook of their kids or their family and it’s impossible to even make out their faces. It’s very common to stand back and try to get everything in the shot. As you can see from the above example, when you get closer, you are actually able to capture expressions. This is so much more captivating. When I say get closer, I don’t mean to zoom in. Zooming in can distort the image. I mean, literally walk up and stand closer to your subjects. Fill the frame with their faces. Capturing their smiles and emotions makes a much more compelling photo. Aw, isn’t my little family cute?
Tip #2: Change Perspective
It’s also very common to just take all your photographs from a standing position. Sometimes that works out fine, but like in the example above, it made more sense to squat down and take the photo from a lower vantage point. That way, I was able to capture my son’s look of intrigue and fascination. Getting a better shot can sometimes be as simple as either getting lower than the subject or even standing on something to get a higher perspective. Move around folks! Experimenting is key.
Tip #3: Be Spontaneous
Anyone can do the “stand together and say cheese” shot. Posed shots like the one on the left are fine but I think sometimes it’s more compelling when you catch the spontaneous moments in life. The best way to do that is to take A LOT OF PHOTOS. If you take a lot of spontaneous shots, you are sure to come upon one that is really amazing!
Tip #4: The Beauty in the Details
Another thing that sometimes gets overlooked when trying to capture a moment is the details. In the above shots, my son was searching for hermit crabs in the tide pools. Getting a more detailed shot of just his feet at the edge of the tide pool tells the same story as the photo on the left but I would argue that it does it with more drama and artistic flair.
Tip #5: Get A Better Selfie
Like it or not, we are living in the age of the selfie. So as long as we are all doing it, we might as well get a good one right? The first mistake that people make is holding the camera at a low angle like the shot on the left. I promise you, no one looks good at this angle… blecch! It’s super crazy unflattering. If you hold the camera up high, it’s a much more flattering shot. The other common mistake is to look at yourself on the screen. Looking at the screen gives you that strange deer-in-the-headlights expression. You should always look at the teeny tiny camera lens to get a more natural look on your face.
Tip #6: Cropping is Your Friend
Even when you are trying to get a landscape shot, too much landscape can be distracting. The shot on the left is beautiful but just way too small to focus on. Learn how to use the cropping functions on your phone so that you can get the subject of the shot exactly where you want it. Cropping is the best way to get rid of anything that isn’t essential to your photo.
It’s also fun to use cropping to put your subject slightly off center. This has a way of telling the story in a more dramatic fashion and makes for a much more interesting composition.
So there you have it! My simple tips for better pics! I’d love to hear it if you found these helpful or if you have any tips to add.
Now go take some photos people! And make them good ones!