Whether you own an SLR camera or not, there’s no doubt that the handy smartphone is the go to for capturing moments on the move. But making quick phone snaps look good is a skill, and I'll be the first to admit I'm no master of it! So I’ve pulled together some pro tips for elevating iphone images from blurry snapshot to insta-worthy.
Compose that shot!
By following some of the basic laws of composition you’ll instantly improve the appeal of your images. Look for lines that draw you into an image and lead to a focal point (e.g. a beach path leading to the horizon, a farm fence leading to your kiddo reaching over to pet the sheep). Utilise the rule of thirds for a more balanced and appealing composition. And don’t just shoot from a standing position, try different vantage points, like squatting down to photograph your kids at their eye level or shooting straight over the top of a floor based activity.
Light is key (always)
It’s really hard to capture a backlit subject with an iPhone. Your phone will try to account for bright light and will cast your subject into dark shadow. When shooting into the light you have a few options. One, you can tap on your subject to tell the phone to expose for them instead of the light behind them, but this often results in blown out boring white skies. Two, you can try to reflect light back onto your subject (by positioning them facing something light reflective like a white shirt, a pale wall or pale concrete ground). Three, you can embrace the under exposure of your subject and shoot a silhouette! Tell your phone to expose for that beautiful sky and cast your subject into complete shadow creating a striking silhouette. For more on how to create killer silhouettes with your phone, check out this article.
Make like a tripod
To avoid blurry pictures make the lower half of your body strong and wide (like the base of a tripod), or lean against something to stabilise. Keep your elbows tucked in as much as possible (flapping elbows are less likely to stay steady) and hold your phone steady with two hands.
Zoom with your feet for sharper images
When it comes to phone photos, 9 times out of 10 a closer image will be more impactful (with the obvious exception of landscape images). But for sharp images you’ll want to ditch the zoom feature on the camera and zoom with your feet instead. Get closer to your subject and tap on them on the screen to make sure you’re focused exactly where you want to be. If you’re shooting a portrait tap over your subjects dominant eye to tell the phone to focus there.
More often than not I still pull my images onto my computer to edit them, but if I want to use them straight away then I prefer a basic edit using the iPhone’s built in editing tools. I’ll crop and straighten if needed, improve the contrast and exposure, and tweak my white and black points. I’m not a big fan of filters because I think they can easily date your image, but if you’re really keen to get your hands on pre-set magic I’d recommend you check out the VSCO app in the App Store.