improving smartphone photography... an iPhone tutorial

I posted some photos on Instagram, and received a few questions. One year ago, I began my smartphone photography journey. I am amazed when I stroll through some of my earlier photos compared to some of my more recent photos. The improvement is huge, and I do not say that carelessly; I am my own worst critic. I thought I would share with you what I have learned over the last year.

1. I do not use the iPhone camera. The shutter speed is lagging, and I am not a huge fan of the images it produces. Instead, I use an app called Camera+. I have tried out various apps and this one fits what I am looking for, control over light and exposure. By far Camera+ is the best iPhone app, in my opinion.

2. Rarely, and I mean rarely, do you ever see a SOOC {straight out of the camera} shot, even with a smartphone photography. Some editing might be as simply as turning a photo into black and white, and others might be more in-depth with changes in saturation, HDR, and warming up or cooling down a picture. Personally, my go to app for editing is Snapseed. With Snapseed you can manipulate photos in the minor with straightening or cropping –or- in the major with increasing shadows, adding ambiance, or textures.

3. How you take your photo matters.

Hint one: find the object you want to take a picture of, hold down the button and then wait until it is perfectly focused in before you release the button. iPhones take the picture upon release. When you tap the phone button to take a picture it creates shake, which makes your pictures grainy and blurry. Using the hold and release method greatly improves the quality of any phonography.

Hint two: like any camera stability matters. You will often find me in a squatting position with my arms tucked into my legs for stability. A ton of graininess on phone photography is directly related to shake, so find a stable position, that is comfortable to you, and  shoot.

© Simply Living Photography

© Simply Living Photography

Hint three: go to the light. Light is key, and you can create some really stunning smartphone photos with great lighting. I had to fiddle with this a ton, but smartphone photography has taught me how to “read” light better. The more you practice with this the better you will become.

Hint four: When taking pictures of items up close, focus in at a reasonable distance first. With your finger on the shutter button, slowly move your hands towards the object letting the camera focus in with each move. You will know when you have gone too far and your camera can no longer focus. Then simply take it back a step, the camera will focus in, and then release the button.

Too far...

© Simply Living Photography

© Simply Living Photography

Just right...

© Simply Living Photography

© Simply Living Photography

Hint five: if you want your picture super tight, focus in as close as you can achieve manually, and then crop your picture in the editing process to bring the subject in tighter while still keeping it in focus. I use this feature for macros, and sport pictures.

© Simply Living Photography

© Simply Living Photography

Hint six: Play with your in phone camera features. One of my favorite features is the panorama setting. It is not easy to use, and I have to use the iPhone camera for this one, but the pictures I have captured using the feature are worth the effort to figure them out. This panorama is one of my favorites from our trip to the Smokey Mountains.

© Simply Living Photography

© Simply Living Photography

4. Download often!

People, download those pictures!! I couldn't walk away with a happy heart if I did not include this in the process of taking better phone pictures. I know it is nice to have pictures on your phone, but figure out your favorites and download the rest. A phone camera is just like a regular camera, you want to download those pictures and back them up. They are too valuable to leave them hanging around on your phone. The second reason to download regularly, your phone will be much faster. The more images you have stored on your phone the slower it will react.  {I do not back-up my pictures on the cloud because I download them weekly, and then back them up using my procedures all ready in place.}

And, because it is always fun to give gifts, a free texture for you.

Orange Mist by Simply Living Photography

{I did not receive any compensations by singing the praises of any apps in this post}