Phoneography Series: Part III

While the definition of Phoneography slightly differs for each person, simply put, it is taking pictures with your phone. Some people take it a step further by saying Phoneography is shooting, editing, producing, and uploading multimedia content with only a smart phone or tablet. Either way, this series will help you take better pictures with your smartphone or tablet camera. We have already gotten familiar with the iPhone camera and composition. Today, we are talking about Lighting.


Lighting

Good light is key in any type of photography.  If you want a good photo, you must have good light. Cell phone cameras have become very powerful, but they don’t handle bad lighting very well.  If you are shooting in a low-light environment, your smartphone knows and will adjust the exposure to let in as much light as possible. However, this usually creates a “noisy”, or grainy, picture.

snipe-grainySource: snipe.net

When you have good lighting, it’s not only flattering, when you edit the photo, the colors will pop, no matter what app or filter you are using.

6a00d8358081ff69e201a3fd306355970b-800wiSource: abeautifulmess.com

Even though it is not always available, the best lighting is the sun. If the sun is too harsh, you can take your pictures indoors by a window, or look for shade, which will cast softer shadows.

6a00d8358081ff69e201b8d0d7a168970c-800wiSource: abeautifulmess.com

Don’t be afraid to play with exposure though. Knowing where to tap on your phone to get the results you want, and quickly, will help you become a better phoneographer. Tap on the dark area to brighten your subject. Tap on the light area to create a silhouette. Tap all around the screen to see the different exposures and find the one you want.

CY365-Phone-Photography-Tips-9077Source: captureyour365.com

IMG_1593Source: iphonephotographyschool.com

Remember: tap on dark=bright; tap on light=dark

Lighting Your Subject

Straight On: The sun, or your light source, is behind you but facing you subject. This gives you an even plane of sunlight.

bradpitt297x368Source: madphotoassistant.wordpress.com

At An Angle: The sun, or your light source, is coming from either side, or diagonally, which creates dramatic shadows.

phonecameracmblogbluella_3-640x410Source: clickinmoms.com

Backlit: The sun, or your light source, is behind your subject, facing you. This creates a soft cast across the picture. Make sure to tap the screen where your subject is located to capture all of the details.

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Source: lighting-essentials.com

Low-Light Setting Tip: If you are shooting in low-light environments, the most important thing to remember is to keep the camera steady, otherwise your photo will have motion blur.  You can use the volume button on your iPhone headphones to snap the picture without even holding your phone, or you can prop your camera on a flat surface and set the self-timer, creating an instant tripod. Both options will help keep your phone steady and still to help prevent blurring.

Part 4 of the phoneography series will focus on editing pictures. If you have any questions or want to know something specific, leave a comment below.

Phoneography Series: Part II

While the definition of Phoneography slightly differs for each person, simply put, it is taking pictures with your phone. Some people take it a step further by saying Phoneography is shooting, editing, producing, and uploading multimedia content with only a smart phone or tablet. Either way, this series will help you take better pictures with your smartphone or tablet camera. Last week, we got familiar with the iPhone camera. This week: photo composition.

Composition

Composition refers to the layout of your picture. It is one of the fastest ways to take your photography to the next level, no matter what type of camera you are using. The way you organize your image will influence the initial ‘wow’ factor, the message, and the appeal of your picture.

If your picture captures something important or valuable to you or your audience, but it isn’t presented in a way that is visually engaging or where they can tell what is going on, you will lose your audience and they will not take away anything from your picture.

Just take an extra second to arrange the photo before actually taking it. Make sure you look all around your subject and realize that the background is just as important. Unless your girlfriend WANTS to look like she has a pineapple growing out of her head…

91930177_54ab3a8164_z Source: https://www.flickr.com/

And be aware of photobombers….

Melissa-Brandts-and-her-husband Source: http://www.wccbcharlotte.com

 The Rule of Thirds

2370922423_d73400a8c9Source: flickr.com

Imagine a tic-tac-toe board on your screen.  The Rule of Thirds is placing the most interesting or eye-catching part of your subject on the intersection of the lines in the picture.

200604301314By placing your subject one third of the way into the frame of the picture, your photo will be more visually interesting than if you placed it right in the center.

rule_of_thirds_example_by_lydiarhianne-d5g1ahvSource: blog.fotogress.com

1065570_f0abSource: pixx828.wordpress.com

Stability

If you have your shot perfectly arranged, nothing will ruin it more than it being blurry. Hold your phone tight, like you are holding a real camera. Use one hand to hold it steady while you tap the screen to take the picture with your other hand. Even still, that may not be enough. You can brace your elbows against your side to add more stability, or you prop yourself up or lean on something to help you keep your phone (camera) still.

Perspective

A change of perspective will really make your photos stand out more. Instead of taking a picture at face-level, try to hold your phone up high or low to get different angle or shot.

18iy079w91du3jpgTo get this shot, the photographer had to get on the child’s level and practiced using the rules of third.
Source: lifehacker.com

alter-perspective-childeren-photographySource: flickr.com

Next week, part 3 of the phoneography series will focus on natural & artificial lighting. If you have any questions or want to know something specific, leave a comment below.

Phoneography Series: Part I

Most people do not carry around an actual camera with them any more. Since most cell phones come with a camera built it, it is easier and more convenient to grab your cell phone to take a picture. But it can be very disappointing when your picture turns out blurry, too dark or too light.

Over the next several weeks, I will post the ins & outs of cell phone photography (phoneography) and tips & trips for taking amazing pictures with your cell phone. After this series, you will be a phoneography pro!

First Up: Features of an iPhone Camera

Quick Access: from the lock screen, swipe up to access the camera quickly

IMG_4448Shooting a Picture: tap the center circle in the camera app or use the volume buttons on the side of your phone

6246869175_f03c82f27a_z*Tip: You can use your headphones that came with your iPhone to snap pictures too (if they are plugged in to your phone). While in the camera app, press the volume up button and the camera will snap a picture.

Zoom: pinch in or expand out

IMG_4449Flash: Auto, on, or off

IMG_4449_bFront Camera: for selfies

HDR: picks up details in the darkest & brightest parts of your picture (more information below)

Panorama: takes 240 degree pictures (sorry for such a dreary picture – it’s almost spring in Mississippi, which means it is almost always raining)

IMG_4451Exposure: Your phone does all of the work for you by auto-exposing, but sometimes your picture can still come out too dark or too bright. To avoid this, just tap the area of the picture you want exposed correctly (before snapping the picture) and the camera will adjust the exposure for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that exposing and auto-focusing go hand-in-hand with your iPhone camera. When you tap your screen before you take the picture, you are not only exposing for that area, but also focusing on that particular area.

*Tip: If the auto-exposure keeps changing, tap and hold down your finger to lock the focus & exposure. Tap again to unlock.

HDR – What is it?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. If you are taking a picture of your friend on a bright day, sometimes the sky will turn out too bright or your friend too dark. When you shoot in HDR, your camera shoots three pictures and combines them into a single image that has the right exposure.

When shooting in HDR, keep your hand as steady as you can. If you move, the three different pictures won’t line up right and your single image will turn out crazy looking.

*Tip: Tap the darkest part of your picture before shooting in HDR and it will properly expose for both the dark and bright spots.

Next week, part 2 of the phoneography series will focus on composition (photo arrangement, stability, perspective). If you have any questions about part 1 or want to know something specific, leave a comment below.

Is Siri sharing too much?

Did you know if you lost your iPhone (4s or newer), whoever finds it can ask Siri “Who does this phone belong to?” – from the lock screen? Go ahead, give it a try and see what happens…..

This feature can be great, but depending on how you have your contacts set up, it could be giving out more information than needed, all from the lock screen. If Siri is showing more than you want or what you are comfortable with, you could go to your contacts and delete the information you do not want showing. But if you do, it would prevent you from utilizing some of the best features of SIri, like asking for directions back home or to call your mom.

Instead of deleting information from your phone, you can disable access to Siri from the lock screen by going to Settings, then Touch ID & Pass Code. Scroll until you see Allow Access When Locked, and when you see Siri, touch the button next to it to disable.

Now Siri cannot be accessed when your phone is locked. But if you do this, you might want to look into the app Find My iPhone, just in case you do lose your phone.