Today, nearly everyone carries a powerful camera in their purse or pocket. Even though smartphone and digital cameras are easy to use, they may not always take the best pictures. Lilly Goga, a freelance wildlife photographer, breaks down the steps to take a great photograph using a smartphone or digital camera. These steps can make an ordinary candid snap into a work of art.
1. Use the Rule of Thirds
One of the guiding principles of photography is the rule of thirds. The composition is broken into blocks by two sets of lines running horizontally and vertically. For proper balance in a shot, points of interest should be placed along these lines. Switching on your phone’s grid can help you find that perfect balance. For an iPhone, go to “Settings,” open “Photos and Camera,” and turn the grid on. For a Samsung Galaxy, open the camera app, then open Settings and turn the grid lines function on.
2. Set the Focus on your Camera
You may think that the focus on your phone camera can’t be changed, but this is a feature which has been around since the early days of smartphones. When taking a photo, tap the screen on the area where you want the camera to focus. This can help bring a more professional appearance to your photos.
3. Play with Negative Space
When you are composing a shot, play with the amount of negative space around your subject. For example, placing a person against a plain background provides a great deal of contrast. Conversely, you may want to zoom in and eliminate negative space. Using both of these techniques, you can take pleasing photographs of any subject.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
If you want to get better at photography, take pictures constantly. If you hone your skills, you will be more likely to take great photos. Play with subjects, composition, and lighting. You may find that different approaches to your subject lead to beautiful results.
5. Take Advantage of Lighting
There is a reason why so many photographers choose to take outdoor pictures at sunrise and sunset. The natural light and interesting shadows make for elegant compositions. No matter the time of day, you can experiment with lighting. Manipulating lighting can turn an okay picture into a great one. Avoid taking pictures with the sun behind you. This can cause a washout of light in your photo. Keep your light source behind or to the side of your subject.
6. Research Photography Principles
Read books about photography. Learning some of the basics of the art can make you a better photographer even if you have never taken a class. Books and guidelines are more important to your success as a photographer than the fanciest equipment. Studying the works of great photographers like Ansel Adams and Annie Leibowitz will give you great ideas for composing your own shots. If you are serious about becoming a good photographer, this is one of the most important steps you can take.
7. Simplify Your Shots
It is better to take pictures of one subject at a time than to try to cram too much into the frame. Of course, there will be times when you need to take photographs of a group of people. When you focus your attention on one subject, you can easily manipulate the lighting, focus, and composition of the image.
8. Notice Your Background
When setting up a shot, make sure that you pay attention to what is in the background. You may find that you are shooting something unattractive or distracting. Don’t hesitate to have your subject move, or to move, to cut this unwanted object out of your photo.
Easy Ways to Take Great Pictures
When you keep these eight tips from Lilly Goga in mind, you will find that photography gives up its secrets. Daily practice is a must to take beautiful pictures. Even if you are only using a smartphone camera, you can pay attention to composition, lighting, and focus on enhancing your shots. Lilly Goga encourages everyone to start taking pictures. It is truly an accessible art and a wonderful way to express yourself.