So I just spent the festive season in Australia and for the first time ever, I ditched the digital camera and used just my iPhone camera!
The quality of smart phone camera these days is just amazing and the same rules of photography apply. As with a normal camera, pay attention to detail, composition, depth of field (what’s in focus), light and of course look out for opportunities that present themselves. The smartphone is also small and light to carry and easy to send photos to friends, family and social media there and then. And make a point of investigating the editing software within your smart phone, it’s amazing what you can do to make a mediocre photo into a great photo just by a few simple edits.
First and foremost, pay attention to the world around you. Yes, even when you’re talking and walking, keep your eyes peeled for the beauty that surrounds. I frequently take photos mid conversation! It’s all about capturing the moment in time. On a couple of recent walks in Sydney, I was deep in conversation but often looked up and noticed the foliage and trees, just beautiful with the sun peeping through!
Be ready for when opportunities present themselves. On the same walk in Sydney, I spotted this lizard sunbathing, perfectly lit by the sun with the backdrop of the ocean. I got as close as I could, took the photo, then cropped it afterwards for more impact.
Pay attention to the world around you – the tiniest of life forms are often the most intricate and beautiful. The clarity of smartphones is incredible these days. So lie on your belly and get your camera phone as close as you can to capture the magic
Framing an image helps draw your eye into a scene. When photographing a scene, look for natural framing – be it branches, trees or archways to name but a few.
Instead of taking a photo from just standing position, try moving your body to change up the perspective. For instance sit down – make the horizon nearer the top of your image so you encompass the feeling of open space before you.
Cropping is an easy way to make an ok photo a great photo. Don’t be shy to crop in close, try different compositions, play around because you can so easily change it.
The rule of thirds is a compositional technique about positioning the more important elements of your photo off-centre to create a balanced composition. Imagine your image is divided into 9 equal squares. Make sure your subject of interest is placed in the top or bottom 3rd or to the left or right of centre. For example in this image. Whilst the horizon is dead centre, the Rentals tent is in the bottom left 3rd of the image thereby giving this image greater impact. Similar impact by shifting the horizon to the bottom of the image.
Some images lend themselves to switching them to black and white. Sometimes the light isn’t quite right so you get silhouettes – by converting to black and white, these just make for a more creative image.
Make use of natural leading lines. This road was the longest one ever so to get a sense of that, I got low so that I incorporated a lot of the road in the foreground. The yellow lines naturally draws your eye into the image. Similarly the trees were so tall and you get a sense of this as your eye is drawn upwards.
Notice the clouds! No matter where you live you get some pretty awesome displays. Use them to your advantage! I saw the clouds above the Sydney Opera House, it looked like smoke signals and I thought “winner!” and produced this fun image that’s a little different to what you normally see.
To get the most dramatic sunset effect on your camera, frame up the picture you want to take, with your finger, press on your screen where the sun is. This will tell the camera that too much light is coming into the lens so it needs to shut as much light out as possible – what this then does is it makes all the silhouettes even blacker, the clouds more dramatic and you get a more true reflection of what you’re looking at. You can even do this when it’s pure daylight for some fun effects. And similarly it works a treat with the moon and silhouettes of tree branches in front of the moon.
So there are just a few of my tips to help take great holiday photos just using your smartphone. If you’re interested in learning more I offer one-to-one lessons tailored to your needs – just get in touch!