Expensive cameras and professional photographers aren’t in everyone’s budget. We get it. Here’s an alternative to consider: use your smartphone.
Yes, DSLR cameras are technically superior to smartphone cameras, but more and more people are taking ridiculously gorgeous photos with their smartphones. And you can too!
We do! Actually, 90% of the photos you see on our Instagram feed are taken by us with our iPhone cameras.
Full disclosure. Mastering the art of smartphone photography takes practice. Luckily, we created a cheat sheet with a few basics to steer you in the right direction.
DO: FIND THE RIGHT LIGHTING
We have said it before, but we will say it again. Lighting is everything. It’s photography 101. Lighting is one of the most important factors in photography, but especially with phone photography. Natural light is always your best bet. When natural light isn’t an option, get creative. You might need to test your shot in a couple different locations, or adjust the lights where you can. We promise you it’ll be worth it in the end.
DON’T: FORGET ABOUT THE BACKGROUND
Before you start snapping photos, make sure the background looks photo-worthy. If you’re highlighting products, you might want a clean clutter-free background. On the other hand, if you’re showing off your patio or promoting happy hour, get a few smiling faces in the background. Whatever you do, consider the scenery before you start your photoshoot.
DO: FOCUS YOUR SHOTS
If your subject doesn’t look sharp, it’s likely because your shot isn’t focused. Your camera’s autofocus doesn’t always focus exactly where you want it to. Luckily, there’s a quick fix. You can set the focus point manually by tapping on where you want to focus and waiting for the yellow box to appear. FYI- This is especially important if you’re using portrait mode. Once you see the words Natural Light in yellow, you’re camera is ready to take the photo.
DON’T: OVERUSE PORTRAIT MODE
Don’t get us wrong, we love portrait mode, but sometimes portrait mode blurs out the subject. Using portrait mode to photograph glasses can be extra tricky because portrait mode is made for taking portraits of… people. Tapping on the edges of your glass and re-positioning your camera can help focus your photo the way you want. But if it’s not working, try taking the photo in regular mode and editing it later to add portrait-mode-esque effects.
DO: FOLLOW THE RULE OF THIRDS
Another oldie, but a goodie. And yes, it applies to smartphones too. According to the rule of thirds, images are split into nine equal blocks forming a three-by-three grid. By placing points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photos become more balanced. Aka every photo doesn’t have to be centered. P.S. You can turn on the grid feature on in your phone’s camera settings.
DON’T: ZOOM WITH YOUR PHONE
Zoom with your feet, if you can. Digital zoom is not your friend. Digital zooming results in lost resolution. DLSR cameras have different lenses for a reason. Smartphones don’t. And that’s why zooming with a smartphone can be problematic. If you can get closer, get closer. If you want to crop the photo later, you can.
DO: EDIT YOUR PHOTOS
We hate to break it to you, but taking a photo is only the first step. Editing your photos before posting them can make a real difference. Less is more in the world of editing. Think enhancing your photos, not altering them. Personally, we like to use photo editing apps, like Photoshop Express before editing in Instagram.
DON’T: OVER-EDIT YOUR PHOTOS
Pre-set filters are easy to use, but not always the best option. They tend to dramatically alter photos in a way that looks over-edited and unrealistic. By default, Instagram filters are applied at full strength. You can tone them down with a simple tap for a more natural-looking, edited photo. If you opt to edit manually, think subtle enhancements. Moderation is key. Upping the contrast too much or over-saturating your photos is not a good look. Whereas, adding just the right amount of contrast and warmth and slightly sharpening your photos can make them look much more polished.
DO: ASK FOR HELP
Smartphone photography isn’t for everyone. Honestly, it’s an artform of its own. If you’re not super comfortable taking photos on your phone, ask someone who is. You really can learn a lot from an iPhone photography pro. Personally, we regularly pick up tips and tricks from people in the industry and our photo-savvy friends. And remember, sometimes you just need another perspective. We got you!