The best camera is the camera you have in your hand, and for most people it will likely be the iPhone. The iPhone has made photography easier for everyone, so we need to grow our skills to take great photos with our iPhones, as when the magic moment arrives, we’ll be ready to get a great shot.
iPhone photography is now part of our daily lives, but there are ways to improve your iPhone photography skills. I was holding an old camera the other day, the Kodak Instamatic. It must have been a great day when it came out, as old as it looks now and kind of quirky and retro, and probably really hard to use – but it was a landmark camera. Like the iPhone, it opened up the possibility for anyone to take photos – not just professionals.
It was suddenly the the camera that came out which enabled people to get out and take pictures with their families and just it kind of opened the door to photography to anyone. It’s one of those cameras that was a really inspirational, and it looked quite cool too.
If you’re wanting to take photographs for instagram and other social media platforms, there’s nothing easier than taking the photo on your iPhone and then giving the photo a quick edit, and before you know it, it’s uploaded. However, that speed can make us a little complacent, and we can become lazy with our compositions – which makes for bad photos.
The best reason to choose to use your iPhone for your camera is convenience. Having just one item in your pocket makes things simple. So, if you’re going to use your iPhone as your main camera, what are my top tips for getting the best photos?
My first tip is to consider your composition layers. The way you frame your subject will determine where a person will look first – and possibly whether they’ll swipe past your photo on to another because it lacked the layers it needed to make it interesting. When I talk about layers, I’m thinking about the depth to the photo. Decide what or who will be the hero of your photo, and make the image about them. Focus the shot so that they fill the frame, or at least are the closest to the camera, so that the other aspects of your photo fade into the background. Try to avoid a really busy, messy photo which causes people not to know where to look.
My next tip is to think about the rue of thirds. To understand this, imagine there’s a grid over the iPhone screen, like the game of tick tack toe, or naughts and crosses. With the grid over the iPhone screen you can now see the screen divided up into thirds. If you place the subject in one of those areas, around where the lines cross, it will be a natural place for someone to be placed in the photo.
My third tip is to think about the lighting in your photo. iPhones have a very small sensor in them, which does it’s best to draw in as much light as it can, but the sensor is not as good as the sensors you’ll find in more expensive cameras. Because of this, if you shoot your photos in darker areas, the photo will get very grainy. It’s called digital noise, and isn’t very nice to look at. Try to position your subject where the light compliments their face and focus the iPhone camera where the lighting is best and brightest. This will help to keep the image clean from noise.
Another iPhone photography hack is to download presets, or filters which compliment your photography style. There are lots of options these days to purchase great filters, and these will really help you to get great colours and light into your photos.
I was driving down to the coast and I drove through a beautiful mist, and I didn’t have my camera with me, otherwise I would have stopped and taken a photo. But, for some reason just having my iPhone on me, I kind of thought well, ‘no the resolution won’t be good enough’ but you know resolution should be fantastic these days. It got me thinking are cameras too good these days? I know it’s a strange question but we rely so much on the high resolution, upon all the kind of functions and custom settings, filters and everything that goes with modern-day photography.
It got me thinking to the point where I was wondering if modern day cameras are just so good now that we are just so reliant on what they can do for us rather than being reliant upon our composition, our eye, our ability to see light to see a great shot.
Are we now in a place where we’ve been led by manufacturers, maybe by our own desire for the latest goods, the latest things, technology advancements in megapixels and all the sharpness that’s on offer now, where we are so reliant on the gadgets that we’re in danger of losing the ability to hone our craft and use the skills that we’ve got within us?
we need to keep working on these skills – a bit like an athlete or a sportsman keeps working on their ability to get stronger and faster. We should we be out taking shots with the most basic gear we’ve got to make it harder, which will help us become better photographers. The iPhone is great for this as you can’t do very much more than just take the photo.
This means we have to trust our own eye and trust our own sense of ability to create a mood in a photo to capture something that not everybody else sees because in the end you’re the photographer, not the gear. The gear, as good as it is will only get you so far, but in the end of the day you know we’re the ones who are the photographers, not the camera.
Even if photography is not the way you make your living, you’re the one who’s who’s taking the shot, who’s supposed to be seeing the shot. I’m not anti ‘new gear’ as I love new gear – I’ve got loads of it!
This is more of a wake-up call to say, actually, let’s get some shots with the most basic gear we’ve got or just the camera that we’ve got in our hands and see what we can create with just an iPhone. It’s really very liberating just photographing with the iPhone. Normally, I rely on so many other things in my cameras but just having an iPhone frees you up. I found it really liberating.
Remember these tips when you’re out trying to get some great photos with your iPhone; think about your composition layers and place the hero closest to the screen, use the rue of thirds to frame the shot and use the best available light for your subject. Go for it!