Selfies run rampant on social media while photos of food, drinks and pastries get my tastebuds going each time I scroll through my feeds! Your sunset shots, pics of your pets and, of course, the beach, take me on a mental vacation each time. But while your good photos might get hundreds of likes, shares and reposts from your friends and followers, you could be taking GREAT photos that really get you noticed. For some reason (i.e. my photographer boyfriend lol) I’m developing this love for photography. No more do I want just a pic to post, but now I go for clarity, focus and a story. I’ve seen some amazing pics posted on social media, and to the untrained eye these photos might be award worthy, but to those with a bit more expertise, like him, there are tons of ways you can improve your phone cam pics and really transform your social media accounts into works of art. My bf and bff, Bahamian photographer Farreno Ferguson has been behind the scenes giving me pointers and sometimes lecturing me on how to make my shots better; from framing to cropping, I’m learning it all. Take out a pen and take notes from a pro! Here are eight ways he says you can make better use of your phone cam.
1. Selfie cam vs front cam – The pros of using the actual selfie cam is that you can see what’s on the screen. Unfortunately a lot of people tend to look at themselves on the screen, instead of looking at the lens. This makes it look reminiscent of an 80’s gospel album cover you looking off into the distance. My recommendation is, if you’re taking a selfie, use the back camera, it has more quality and it also allows you to use flash.
2. Framing photos better – There are a few rules to framing. Photographing kids or buildings or anything shorter or taller than you, a good rule of thumb is to get on your subject’s level. If it’s a kid, get down, if it’s a tree get up higher or at a better angle. Sometimes it’s all about artistic vision, this is a rule but, of course rules are meant to be broken.
3. Make better use of lighting – A lot of phone photographers might find issue with this. The sun is your only source of light when shooting outdoors. That said, make sure your subject is facing the sun and that the sun is always over your shoulder. With indoor lighting, move closer to windows that provide soft diffused lighting that make for good camera phone images.
4. Holding the phone cam vertically vs horizontally – Vertical videos suck! When shooting video, hold the camera horizontally because humans have been taught to watch videos horizontally and you get a lot more in the frame that way.
5. Know when to flash me – Use flash only when necessary like when it’s dark and when you have no light source. Most camera flashes don’t have the capability to overpower the sun anyway so when outdoors turn off flash. For those popular food pics, a trick I’ve learned is to have a buddy or whomever is around, turn on their phone’s flashlight and hold it above the dish while you take the pic. This provides perfect lighting for your meal.
6. Focus man! – Make sure your subject is directly in the centre of the tiny square that appears on your screen. Most phones allow you to tap the screen until you get the desired clarity, use that feature often because this allows the subject to stay in focus and prevents blur.
7. Background check – Before taking that room or bathroom selfie, make sure there is nothing showing anything embarrassing like a mirror showing your surroundings and for God’s sake please clean up your room! Random clothes, shoes and plastic bags thrown across your room do not make for pretty pics no matter how pretty you are.
8. Add to your phone cam capability- There are tons of lenses and other equipment you an add to your phone to increase its value. Easiest and most popular right now is the selfie stick. This amazing invention adds to your selfie arsenal allowing you to get the camera farther away from you preventing the usual squinched face photo and also helps you to add more to the frame. Taking an usie? The selfie stick allows you to also add as many friends as possible to the snapshot
So there you have it! Tips from a pro! With the phone cam being one of the biggest selling features on these devices and you actually shelling out a mint on phones these days, it might be in your best interest to make the most use out of your shutter. I’m nowhere near a pro as yet, but I’m learning and still taking tips. Go on, snap away!