Nowadays, almost everybody always has a camera in their pocket thanks to modern mobile phone technology, and this is one area of the package that keeps on improving. As the professionals would attest, simply having a camera does not make someone a photographer, but that is no reason for amateurs and hobbyists not to make the most of the tools available to them – and to hopefully pick up some fantastic shots along the way. There is nothing wrong with pointing and clicking to capture memories, but there are some simple considerations to make when thinking out shots that could make them even more special.
1. Don’t Overthink Your Photos
While we did mention putting a little more thought into photo opportunities in the introduction, it is important to keep in mind that many of the best photos ever taken were somewhat spontaneous, and overly contrived subject matters often get boring. Indeed, all a great photo really needs is one subject. It could be a person, a vehicle, a building or anything else of note. Natural, empty space around that subject can often enhance the result, so do not overthink filling it unnecessarily.
2. Change your Point of View
Point and click iPhone photographers whip out their phone, aim at the subject from where they are standing and capture their image. Those seeking to reach a new creative level can benefit from changing their perspective. Bending down, lying down or climbing on something to shoot from above will all break the norm of capturing your chosen subject, and can result in incredible results.
3. The Devil is in the Detail
The chances are that if you are a hobbyist, anything that you choose to photograph will have been captured before, and you will not be in a remote, unseen location. What can bring your take on an image to life is the detail – get close enough to the subject matter to see its intricacies and individuality, without getting so close to degrade the quality of the resulting image. It is possible to purchase hardware additions for your phone to make close-up shots more appealing, but at the hobbyist level, it is something that can be learned quickly with nothing more than the iPhone itself.
4. Utilise Shadows to Make an Image Pop
Depending on your location and the time of day, there may not be all that many shadows around. However, when they are available, they can greatly enhance any image. Indeed, some photographers focus on shadows almost exclusively, often considering them to be more essential to the composition of an image than the subject itself. Personal taste and experience will dictate how they are used by each photographer, but the contrast between light and dark can be a powerful tool, even for amateurs.
5. Reflections can Provide a Unique Twist
As mentioned previously, unless you are on an expedition, badly lost or much more creative than the average iPhone photographer, the chances are that anything that you choose to photograph will have been captured before. There is nothing wrong with that, but anything that can change an image even slightly can be beneficial for capturing something unique. Reflections are an ideal, natural means of achieving this as while the main subject remains the same, lighting, movement in the reflective surface and other factors can make all the difference.
6. Experiment with the Positioning of Multiple Subjects
As noted, a single subject is enough for an excellent photo, but that does not mean that opportunities to capture multiple should be ignored. Once again, attempt to deviate from the standard chest-height capture position, and if the opportunity presents itself, experiment with where in the photo each subject appears. There may be one at each side with empty space in the middle, or perhaps one in each corner.
7. Use Filters
Some purists argue that filters are amateurish and outside the scope of true photography. As an amateur, this does not matter at all, and we are all about the result. The iPhone comes with some filters of its own, although they are limited in scope. However, additional apps will be able to tweak photos using further settings, and we would urge anyone with an interest in improving to look past Snapchat for great filtering opportunities.
8. Experiment with Different Photography Apps
The native iPhone camera app is, by all accounts, excellent. Apple has ensured that as new models with improved cameras have been released, the software has done an admirable job of keeping up and most users will require nothing more. However, there are other options out there, such as VSCO which introduces manual focus and shutter speed, and ProCamera for even finer control. There are also apps worth exploring that leave the photo-taking to others and focus on quality editing and filters, such as Lightboxr.
9. Learn to Understand Symmetry in Photography
As you may have noticed at this point, positioning is a key ingredient in taking photography to another level, and many of the principles used by professional photographers can be applied to iPhone cameras. Symmetry is not always an option, but it can be relied upon to produce striking, often stunning images. It could be a naturally symmetrical subject, or this tip can be combined with the reflections mentioned already to create natural, often overlooked symmetrical lines.
10. Familiarise Yourself with the iPhone Camera App
As noted, the native camera app on iPhones is very, very good, and packed with features. Taking the time to explore and understand the options can naturally lead to the creation of better photographs. Some shots may look better on a square, while others may benefit from the time-lapse. The options are not the most extensive, but with powerful tools available with just a couple of swipes, it is always nice to have the option.