The camera on your smart phone is amazing. Never before has it been so easy to show the world what we are about to ingest, or let everyone on Facebook know that you’ve just had an amazing workout. Delicious burgers, Craft Beer, Artisan coffee… You know you have to Instagram it before you can enjoy it! But, did you know that you can also use this camera as a bona fide photography tool? Advances in mobile camera technology means that quality has increased dramatically over the years, with 16 megapixel cameras becoming common on newer phones.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of the mini photographic powerhouse in your pocket:
Keep your Horizon Level – Most mobile camera apps have a function that allows a grid to be displayed on screen. Keeping the horizon level using this grid will make your photos look infinitely better, and will save your viewer from feeling like they need to tilt their head!
Pay Attention to the background – What’s going on behind your subject is almost as important as your subject itself. Trees have an awful tendency to give people antlers if positioned just right. Depending on the subject, it’s best to keep backgrounds neutral, as there’s nothing worse than taking a photo without realizing there is a street pole coming out of grandma’s head!
Rule of Thirds – Here’s another situation where the grid on your camera app comes in handy. In art and photography there is a compositional rule known as the “Rule of Thirds”. Basically, it means avoid placing your subject in the dead centre of the frame. Off centre placement, or 1/3 of the width of the canvas away from the border, leads to a much more interesting composition.
Perspective – Don’t be afraid to explore new and interesting angles. A low angle can trick the eye, and give an interesting perspective to people and buildings. A selfie stick could actually be useful in this situation, as it can provide an extension to reaching extreme angles, as long as you can handle the looks from passers-by…
Framing – Framing your photo is the art of blocking out parts of the image with something in the scene. Add depth to shots by taking pictures through windows, doors, archways, or anything else your eye fancies. This can add context and intrigue to your photo, and can draw the viewer’s eye towards the main subject.
Mind the filter… – Not every picture needs to look like the Old West. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sepia tone filter as much as the next cowboy but keep it tasteful. If your picture was a perfectly cooked steak, the filter is the pepper sauce. Use it sparingly and let the original flavour shine through!