Hi, there! Nice to see you! 🙂
And speaking of seeing, do you want to make your own pictures people would enjoy looking at?
I guess you do.
Well, you’re in a good place, then.
I’ll give you some tips on how you can shoot beautiful images using nothing more than your phone.
(yeah, no fancy, professional equipment needed!)
Photo tip #1 – The light source
Want to have great self-made images at your hands?
(well, of course you do! What a silly question! 😉 )
In that case, get a good light source – and along with its right position – your job is halfway done.
As anyone will tell you (including me 🙂 ), the best source of light for taking pictures is the Sun.
So if you’re shooting outside, you’ll have no problem.
On the other hand, indoor images will look the best if they are shot near the window, or in a space where lots of natural light comes in.
However, if you have an option to move the composition outside and shoot it there – do use it.
If your image-to-be will consist of small, easy-to-move parts, you can simply take them outside and arrange for the shoot with no trouble at all.
And don’t forget – outside is outside, no matter what it is.
Therefore, you don’t have to own a house and have a big backyard in order to do this. Even a small balcony will also do the trick.
But what if it rains like hell for days and days in a row and you can’t shoot outside, or your place is facing north, or close to other buildings, so you don’t get enough sunlight?
(and you’re not planning to shoot dark images deliberately)
In that case, you have no other option but to shoot the pictures using some other light source.
I personally favor fluorescent light tubes above everything else, because they have some pretty good characteristics (by my standards, at least! 🙂 ).
First of all, they emit white light which mimics the color of the natural light.
Second, they shine a diffuse light.
But what does that mean, right?
It means the light is “scattered” and distributed evenly across the room, so the objects don’t have shadows.
(however, in real life, shadows do remain, but they’re very discrete, almost unnoticeable)
What I also like about them is that they last a million years (ok, not literally, but still for a very long time 🙂 ) and they spend way less power than the regular light-bulbs.
Now, the first two characteristics do influence photography, while the second two are simply eco- and wallet-friendly characteristics that have nothing to do with the point of this post – but they’re all the reasons why I love fluorescent light tubes as an indoor source of light. 🙂
With that said, it’s time to move on to the next tip.
Photo tip #2 – The amount of light
Even though the phrase “the brighter the better” could be applied to shooting photographs, it still has its limits.
Here are some tips regarding this matter.
Avoid shooting pictures outside on a bright, sunny day if the focal point of an image is partially in the shade.
Either expose the whole object to the Sun or place it completely in the shade.
Alternatively, when shooting indoors, avoid direct exposure of your set to sunlight.
These will prevent your images from having high contrast and overexposure – plus if you’re photographing human models, they will not make angry-looking faces!
(unless you’re going for that look on purpose 😀 )
Photo tip #3 – The timing
Another thing worth mentioning is picking the right time in a day to shoot the images.
Now, this tip is applicable to shooting images with a natural source of light, because it makes sense in that case only.
(why, isn’t that logical?!)
The timing is also (mostly) not an issue when it comes to outdoor photography.
(unless you want to shoot specific weather conditions! 🙂 )
So, if you’re planning to take the images using natural light in an indoor surrounding, then you should give this matter a thought.
Well, no matter the position of your room and the window(s) in it, you won’t have the same amount of light in it throughout the whole day.
At some hours there will be more light coming in and at some less.
And your picture will not look the same if you shoot it in the morning, noon, or afternoon.
(try out and see it for yourself if you don’t believe me 😉 )
Therefore, I suggest you spend a day observing various rooms in your home and see how their brightness changes throughout the day.
(unless you’re already familiar with this)
By doing this, you’ll not only determine when is the best time in a day for taking pictures, but you’ll also discover where is the best place in your home to do this job so your images would look the most flattering as possible.
However, you might not have the luxury to take indoor pictures at any day of the week simply because you’re not there at “the most favorable” moment.
But have no worries!
If you know the right timing – that’s all you need.
With that information in your hand, all you have to do is to consult your planner. Once you find a free spot for that specific time in your agenda – schedule this photo-task and you’re done!
(I’m guessing it’ll probably be some day of the weekend – am I right? 😉 )
In the meantime, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to brainstorm your photo-ideas and prepare the necessary items for the shoot.
That way when the time for the photo-session comes, you’ll be completely prepared for it.
(this kind of photo-batching will not only give you a number of photographs at once, but it will also save you time in the long run, so it’s really an advisable approach to try it out)
Photo tip #4 – Focus
It’s the real focus we’re talking about here.
The one which gives clarity to an object you’re looking at.
And although there are images which are intentionally blurry, there are many more of the opposite kind.
Clean, crisped, and focused.
(they sometimes seem “overfocused” – like you have never been able to see anything so sharp and clear in a real life around you… did you ever feel that way when looking at those kinds of pictures or is it only me?!)
Now let’s be real.
Most of THOSE images are not made by using a phone camera – so there’s no point in trying to accomplish the same look.
Because very most likely, no matter the “awesomeness” (you do understand this word, right? 🙂 ) of your phone camera, there will be some part of a picture which will be out of focus.
(you can eventually deal with it by cropping an image, but that’s an editing story to be told some other time…)
Most of the time, the central point of an image is where the focus is.
However, you can place a focus on some other part of an image – to get a more dramatic, artistic, or dynamic look.
If you’re using auto-focus mode on your phone’s camera (which I believe the most of us do), it can be really easy to focus on the desired object.
On the other hand, a central focus can be hard to achieve this way if there’s no object in there.
(for instance, most of the flat-laid images have an empty space in the center)
In that case, try using a manual focus mode instead.
Or if an image is “empty” in the center (just like the ones mentioned above), focus on its smallest component – wherever it may be.
This way the small item will be clear, so the image would appear to be overall sharp.
(since it doesn’t have any objects in the center, it will, therefore, look homogenous anyhow)
Photo tip #5 – Be still
This tip leans on the previous one.
If you don’t want your picture to be blurry (and unrecognizable – unless you’re portraying how the world appears to the drunk man :D) make your hands be as still as possible.
No matter how great you’ve set the focus to your image, if you tremble or move during its capture, it’s all good for nothing.
Now, depending on the sensitivity of your phone camera (and the presence or the absence of an image stabilizer built in its software), some tiny moves can be allowed without compromising the quality of an image.
(a crazy confession: sometimes, just like the professional shooters -and I’m talking about sportsmen here, not assassins!- I shoot my images at the moment between my heartbeats – it’s the stillest state of my body. Wacky, huh? 😀 Hey, it’s called a shoot for a reason! 🙂 )
Sometimes, you just can’t get your hands to be still long enough to do the job right.
(anybody had too much coffee today?)
In that case, try to find an object to lean on, or place the upper part of your arms close to your body to stabilize your hands for a moment.
(yes, I am aware there are options for real phone-holders, selfie-sticks and all sorts of similar stuff out there… but the title of this post was how to shoot images like a pro using nothing more than your phone, so the improvisation is the key to success, and that’s exactly what I’m sharing here! 😉 )
Photo tip #6 – Experiment and have fun!
This could very well be the best tip of all! 😀
Photography is a form of art, so wherever art is in place – creativity follows along.
(or maybe is the other way around?… I can’t think about it at the moment – either way, it doesn’t change a thing!)
Creativity is not about blindly following patterns or doing all the “right” things which others have taught you…
It’s about experimenting, testing, observing the (sometimes crazy) results, and having fun along the way.
(totally yay to that! 🙂 )
Therefore, let yourself free and enjoy playing in your creative world of images – the way you observe the world around you.
Once you’re done with taking your photos, you should still edit them – even a bit.
(a fact: no matter how beautiful an image is, you can always make it prettier by editing it. You do want your image to be even more dazzling, right?)
If you have some tips on this subject, I’d really like to know about them, so please -do tell us about them in the comments below. 🙂
(and don’t worry, I don’t talk about myself in plural like Napoleon… I was referring to myself and the other readers of this post! 😀 )
Alternatively, share this post and help me spread the word! (thanks!) 😉
Now let’s go and kick some pants, Superhero – and don’t forget to take an image and capture that triumphal moment!
(or just take a sip of a coffee, because this was a long one! 🙂 )