Although my camera is my all-time favorite physical possession, I’ll be the first to say that you do not need a fancy camera to take beautiful pictures. Your smart phone camera has amazing capabilities and, let’s be honest, most likely rarely leaves your side.
In this fast-paced world, photography provides you with an opportunity to slow down and smell the roses. It allows you to grab a moment, which you might so easily forget, and keep it forever.
If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will start to hear a lot more “Your kidding me- you took that with you smart phone!?” from shocked viewers who assumed you took the pictures with your $1,000 camera!
1) Change your Angle and Position
Despite what you may think from looking at my pictures, I am not 2 feet tall. Whatever the subject of your photo may be, you want to get on their level. If it is a child or pet, get down to their level. Something as simple as a quick drop to the knee or change in position will drastically improve your pictures.
By changing your angle and position, you will start to highlight details from different perspectives, which adds a lot of character to your snapshots!
2) Pay Attention to the Lighting
Having good lighting in your pictures is crucial. Here are a couple rules to follow:
- Try to avoid using your camera’s flash if possible. A picture with natural light is always more attractive.
- Overcast and shade is your friend. You may think that the best pictures are taken in bright sunlight. In reality, bright sun causes harsh shadows and squints. If you can shoot in shade, that is ideal. Try to find “open shade”. Open shade is when your subject is standing in the shade, facing towards the light (or the sun). It provides a soft and beautiful flow of light without those harsh shadows.
- Lastly, if it is bright out you want to be careful with what direction the light is coming from. With a smart phone, it is best to avoid having the sun shining at your subject’s back. If the light is at your subject’s back, they will appear very dark in a picture. In bright light situations, for best results have the light hit your subjects from the side.
3) Compose Your Photos
Do you think about composition when you are snapping a picture? OR are you thinking “what the heck is composition”? That’s ok too!
Composition is THE #1 reason why I love photography. It allows you to turn any day-to-day scene into a work of art. It turns your picture from a flat image, to an emotion-packed memory.
Composition is the placement of your subjects in your photograph. Paying attention to your composition is one of the easiest ways to make your pictures look professional. Here are two easy composition tips to try. To learn more about composition, check out my post here!
Rule of Thirds
Following the “rule of thirds” is probably easiest way to transform your pictures. Imagine that your frame is divided into 9 sections like this image below. By placing your subject on a line, instead of centering them, you create a picture that is very pleasing to the eye.
When you are snapping your picture, try leave some “negative” or open space in the frame. The blank space will add an interesting element to your pictures.
4) Capture Natural Expressions and Interactions
Resist the nagging urge to yell “Say Cheese!”. Try capture pictures of your subject when they don’t even know you are snapping the pictures.
Do you have a cranky kid? A silly one? Take a few that highlight their unique personalities. A cheesy smile is not required for a great picture.
My favorite pictures are the ones that document natural interactions between people. These natural pictures hold the best memories.
5) Edit Your Snapshot
A quick edit can really make your pictures pop.
You don’t have to have expensive editing software to add beautiful filters to your pictures. You can use Instagram or your free gallery editor on your phone.
You can brightening or darkening your picture, if needed. Also, quick crop can cut out some unnecessary space in your photo.
The below is an example of the drastic improvements you can make to your pictures with a quick crop and filter edit.
Whether you are taking pictures for fun or for business, you can benefit from trying out these 5 easy tips to dramatically transform your cell smart phone pictures into gorgeous, emotion-filled memories.
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