How to take photos with an iPhone part II, is the second installment on how take better photos with your iPhone or smart phone. Read part one here: How to take photos with an iPhone.
In part one we talked about the basics - keeping your lens clean, having the brightness turned up, how to hold your phone steady, dealing with the shutter lag and how to focus the camera. In this post, we are going to talk more about actual photography.
1. The Light
This is a universal truth with photography - nothing will improve your images faster than shooting in good light.
To understand light, you need to become aware of it. To do that, you need to start observing light around you at various times of the day. What's the light outside your window right now? What's the light like in your city after a big storm comes through? If you begin asking yourself these questions, you'll begin to develop an understanding of light and just trust me on this - your photos will improve.
When it comes to taking a photo, ask yourself these questions:
What is the angle of the sun in relation to the subject?
If the sun is behind your subject, they'll be back lit. Is this something you want? If not, you need to add in some flash or move yourself or the subject in relation to the sun.
What is the quality of the light in relation to the subject?
If you are trying to take a portrait of a friend who is standing half in the shade and half in the sun, I can tell you right now, you'll have a hard time getting a good photo. Camera sensors can't deal with such contrast. Ask your subject to move fully into the shade or fully into the sun, to improve your photo.
Though you may not realise it, as a society we are surrounded by photography. When you see photographs, ask yourself this: what is the light in the photo like? What's the light source - artificial or natural? Is the light contrasty or soft and diffuse?
Practice answering these questions and over time, you'll develop a keen sense of light.
2. Colour and Form
Colour and form can have a tremendous impact on a photo. When it comes to form, learn about the rule of thirds. When it comes to colour, learn about colour theory.
If you are thinking these topics are more about design than photography, you are partially correct. Good photographers understand design and create photos accordingly.
Want to create better photos? Learn about design.
3. Photo Content
Before you even take a photo ask yourself this question: is there a clear subject in my photo?
Asking yourself this question prompts you to think about what you are actually taking a photo of, as opposed to just pointing your camera and taking a snap.
If your photo doesn't have a clear subject, then it doesn't matter what is happening with the light, colour and form of your photo. If however you do have a clear subject in your photo and you have good light, colour and form, then you are well on your way to creating a better photo.
4. Technique is Beyond the Tools
If iPhone photography did one thing, it was to dis-spell the photography myth that you need the latest and greatest camera to create great photos.
So folks listen up - a camera is a tool. All it does is record light on a light sensitive medium. That's it.
If you are taking bad photos on your iPhone, you'll be taking bad photos on a $10,000 Nikon D4. Don't ever be one of those photographers that blames their tools for lousy photos or incorrectly thinks they need a better camera to take better photos. It's a rabbit hole you don't want to fall down.
For more iPhone inspired photography, check out these photos I created in Kathmandu Nepal with my iPhone.
Check back next week for Part 3 How to take photos with your iPhone.