In the digital age, learning photography has never been more important. Maybe you’re a blogger, an Instagram influencer, a graphic designer or an amateur photographer. Whatever brings you here means you understand the value of a good picture. Here are some tips to take a better photo with your smart phone. When you’ve mastered these steps, you’re ready to buy a professional camera and take it up a notch.
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1. Use Gridlines to Balance Your Shot
You’ve surely heard of the rule of thirds. It’s a photographic composition principle stating that images should be broken down into thirds both horizontally and vertically. All in all, you will have 9 parts. That doesn’t mean you need 9 things in a shot! But the grid lines can help balance which part goes in which frame appropriately. If you’re shooting a landscape, make sure there is something in a least 3 different grids. If you’re zooming in on a particular subject, make sure it fills out the grids appropriately.
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2. Focus on a Single Subject
Some of the best photos focus on just one thing. Too many other things going on just look busy, chaotic, and haphazard. That still doesn’t mean that the rule of thirds doesn’t apply! Use this “negative space” to crave even more attention towards your subject. Make sure you tap on your screen so that the camera focuses on the correct subject and the lighting will be perfect.
3. Use Negative Space
You know what’s really trending right now? Negative space. As briefly mentioned above, negative space is very important to your subject. Negative space is all of the areas around and between your image. Negative space can be anything from a gray wall to an open field. It should be consistent in color, textures, or themes (like nature or industrial). The more negative space you have, the more focus on your subject!
4. Look at Your Subject with a Different Perspective
Some of the best photos are taken in a way that is new to the viewer. Maybe that’s looking up, down, sideways or at an angle. It looks great because the new angle creates an illusion of depth or height to your subject. Get as creative as you can!
5. Look for Symmetry
Nothing makes a photo pop quite like symmetry. Symmetry means a vague sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance, but we all know what symmetry looks like when we see it. It’s the perfectly placed tiles below your feet. Or a marble staircase that comes down the center of a building. You know you’re doing symmetry well if you can split your image in two and each side looks exactly the same as the other side. You can always craft your perfect, symmetrical photo or find it all around you (oftentimes in architecture). If you need a little help getting your angles right, use those grid lines.
6. Use Natural Light
Flash is like the kiss of death in a quality photo. It washes out your face, creates weird shadows and makes your eyes look like zombies. That’s why using natural light is so much more important for a proper photo. Our eyes are attracted to light, so make sure your subject is utilizing this great lighting. Even if it’s dark out, try playing with shadows found under street lamps, store lights or candles. You can even mess around with the “exposure” tool on your phone to get a little bit more lighting.
7. Invest in an Editing App
If you want to look like a pro, you gotta act like a pro. Most photographers (whether they’re in the photography industry or are on social media) use editing programs. While there are plenty for your desktop computer, some apps are just as great on your phone. Some of our favorites apps are Photoshop, Snapseed, SKRWT, Pho.to and VSCO.