One of our favorite photographers Chase Jarvis is famous for saying “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”. This mantra is a great way to view photography and all the possibilities. With any skill, the best way to get better is to be continuously practicing. Photography is a skill that is honed by practicing and sometimes that means using what you have. In today’s day and age, it’s safe to say that every almost every person over the age of 12 has a cellphone. Let’s be honest here, most people have iPhones, and even if you don’t you can still use these tips. Here is a list of what we believe to ve the top 10 tips for better iPhone photography.
iPhone Photography Tips:
- Start off minimal
Since we are going to be using our cellphones, with no additional accessories we might as well go back to basics. The basics in photography are keeping your composition minimal. When starting in photography one thing to understand is that photography is not to be rushed. Find a single subject that you would like to shoot and pose them in front of a neutral background. One thing that most iPhone photographers mistakenly do is they tend to shoot anything and everything. A busy background can distract the viewer from what is the subject. Check out our post on 5 Minimalist Photographers for some inspiration.
2. Get Moving!
One thing that non-photographers don’t understand is that angles are EVERYTHING. The way your camera is angled can change how the entire photograph looks. To better understand this let us take a look at two examples:
In the photo above we can tell that the photographer chose to shoot from a low angle. Using a low angle creates the illusion of power and makes the subject look huge. This can be an amazing tool to utilize in certain situations. In the image above the subject is giving a pose that indicates a powerful stature. By shooting at a lower angle you can use the sky as a perfect neutral background. This goes back to what we discussed about minimalism, the best minimalist background is the sky. Try this technique with different subjects, not just people, you’ll find it can change your photography immensely.
As shooting from a low angle creates the perception that the subject is big and powerful, shooting from a high angle can do the opposite. By shooting a subject from a high angle you will find the subject shrinks in both size and physical presence. This is a great technique to convey both distance and stature between photographer and subject. Try using this technique on different subjects to eliminate the fear of looking too large on camera.
3. Create depth
Using your surroundings is a major skill developed by all photographers. It is important not to rely on props for photography but to use them as an added tool to complement what is naturally there. Depth is created when the subject is separated from the background showing how wide the landscape is. Go out and explore nature to find landscapes that can be used as depth in your photography. In the example below the main subject is the mountains, the layers of these mountains show that the landscape goes on for miles and miles. Help the viewer understand your photograph by guiding their eye towards a central point.
4. Get closer… no closer!
One thing that is always appealing in photography and quite easy to practice is macro photography. Macro photography is the concept of getting so close to your subject that you can see the fine details of any subject. This type of photography gives the perception of taking something really small and making it larger than life. It is very interesting to see the type of images that come from macro photography as they can capture something which others may not notice through the human eye. Most phones can get quite close, for example, the iPhone X can get as close as 10cm from the subject without losing focus. There are attachments you can buy to decrease this length and get even closer to your subject. Moment has a wide variety of cellphone camera accessories such as their macro lens which can get you 10x closer to your subject and produce amazing images.
5. Try finding a beautiful silhouette
The oxford dictionary’s definition of a silhouette is ” the dark outline or shape of a person or an object that you see against a light background”. Creating a silhouette can be a simple task but requires a close eye and proper timing. One of the main aspects required for achieving a silhouette is having great lighting. Try positioning your subject with a strong and intense backlight. Choose your subjects wisely, make sure there is dynamic to achieve a perfect silhouette.
6. Use the shadows…
A simple way to find an interesting composition is by working with light to create dynamic effects. By using shadows you can create a new feeling to your image of mystery and intrigue. Sometimes the shadows can be used to create abstract art in your photograph. You can also use shadows to create a visual contrast between your subject and the background. Make sure you exposing properly for shadows to get a great contrast between light and dark. When in the camera app on your phone tap on your subject and then slide your finger down to adjust the exposure in-camera. This will allow you to have dark shadows while maintaining proper exposure in your highlights.
7. Utilize reflections
A reflection is anything that is duplicating your subject through a reflective surface. This is easy to find anywhere and can be created with props such as mirrors. The best reflective surfaces are those that are natural such as bodies of water, puddles, and windows. By using the reflection of a subject you can create a separation of reality and imagery. Try using the reflection from a surface to create a duality in your subject. This can also help lead the viewer’s eye to what you deem to be an important part of your image.
8. Frame your subjects!
Framing is one of the most important aspects to learn in photography as it creates the composition of an image. One thing to always remember is the rule of thirds. This idea creates a grid in your sensor by separating the frame into 9 even squares. By using these squares you can frame your subject to create perfect symmetry across your image. For iPhone users, all you need to do is go into your settings > camera > grid. This will make framing so much easier, allowing you to create symmetry with your subject and a more visually appealing image.
9. Alignment is key!
Leading lines are typically natural lines found in an image that guides the viewer’s eye toward a subject. By using the technique of alignment you can guide how you want someone to perceive your image. This creates a beautiful visual composition. Try using the landscape to align your image and point all angles toward your subject.
10. Use proper editing apps!
The final tip towards achieving amazing imagery in iPhone photography is by utilizing the proper editing apps in your app store. Instagram comes with some amazing filters to be utilized by photographers but this may not always give you the style you are looking for. Here is a list of 8 amazing apps you can download on your phone for better editing techniques to achieve your visual style. There are also ways of downloading lightroom presets onto your mobile device for even more flexible techniques in Lightroom mobile. There are so many different ways of achieving amazing stylization for the photographs you just have to go out and look for them!