Have you ever scrolled through a friend’s photos and thought, “Wow, they have such a great eye. Why don’t I ever think to take photos like that?”
If you find yourself experiencing pangs of camera roll envy rest assured there are a few tips that will help you shape up your technique. Here’s a very basic beginner’s primer on experiments that will lead you to develop interesting shots and help you find your style:
1. Get up close-
If your subject does not exceed the size of a horse or car then try taking a couple steps forward. The more of your frame you fill with the subject the more interesting the photo will be. If you use the zoom feature on your phone too much you could get a grainy or blurry photo so try to move closer first.
2. Move it out of the center-
Rather than feature the primary subject in the middle of your frame, imagine a grid (like a tic-tac-toe board). Experiment with the main focal point being at the cross section of two grid lines or even off a bit into other quadrants of the photo.
3. Try using your flash outdoors-
To avoid potentially ugly shadows on your subject experiment with the flash settings on your phone. Try using the flash while it’s sunny outside and notice whether or how light is dispersed differently than if you hadn’t used the flash. See whether you need a big bright flash or whether your phone has a way for you to use a fill-flash setting.
4. Don’t stagnate/Be dynamic-
Do you love straight on shots? Why not try shooting from a birds-eye view or an ants-eye perspective? Have you thought about asking your subject to move or propping the subject against varying backgrounds? Discover for yourself whether those snacks look most enticing against a white or wood background. By comparing various sources of light, varying distances to your subject, turning your phone from horizontal to vertical (and visa versa), moving to totally different locations you’ll understand how you like to see your subjects and develop your style.
5. Compare editing to applying filters-
Do as much as you can in your composition process but don’t be afraid to get real artistic post-production. Save your original photos to your camera roll but then go ahead and try cropping, enhancing, and focusing to find your preferred style. Sometimes you may be surprised at how simple editing could change the look and feel of your image while other times slapping a moody filter could give you just the look you love.
Now that you have a few tools in your backpocket go out and start capturing the universe! Remember that all rules can be broken and to have fun. Try out a variety of techniques until you find your style and then show it off proudly.