Even with mobile phones featuring fancier and fancier cameras these days – the iPhone 6S has an astonishing 12MP camera sensor, for instance – taking a great photo (or a flattering selfie) is still something of an art form. Fortunately, people these days are taking more photos than ever. If you’re one of them, you’re sure to be getting a ton of practice for when you absolutely MUST have a great snap. To help you out on your journey to create fantastic photographs, though, we thought we’d give you our top 10 tips for really making your Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat pictures pop!
1) Start simple.
It’s easy to whip your phone out whenever you want to take a picture, but if you’re just starting out – or really want to improve the quality of your photographs – there’s nothing better than keeping it simple!
Start by taking photos with just one subject – whether that’s yourself, your plate of food, or a bunch of flowers you’ve been given for your birthday. By sticking to just one subject, you can really focus on making THAT look good – without worrying about balancing it with everything else in the shot.
2) Vary up your snaps.
One of the most important things about taking pictures is to vary what you’re shooting. While you might LOVE sharing pictures of your culinary creations with the world, taking landscape snaps, portraits, and yes, even selfies, is a great way to learn how to really see the object you’re photographing.
For instance, snapping a quick shot of your friends can help you see how light, colour, and framing all have an impact on your subject – information you can use next time you’re hunched over your plate in a restaurant!
3) Pay attention to framing.
Keeping the subject of your photo – whether it’s the happy couple at a big wedding, or your fine self in a Facebook profile picture – in the centre of your picture might seem an obvious choice. After all, it’s a picture of the bride and groom, or of you, or of whatever else you’re pointing the lens at. Why wouldn’t it be centre-stage?
Well, by moving the subject of your photograph off to one side, or slightly off-kilter, you can create much more interesting and dynamic shots! To help you out with this, most cameras these days come with a grid feature. Try and arrange the more interesting areas of your photos wherever the gridlines meet.
4) Experiment with the flash.
Lots of people tend to avoid using the flash. On lower-end phones, this makes sense – it can leave your subject looking a little something like a rabbit caught in the headlights! However, sometimes (and on higher-end phones), using your flash during the day can help you take more interesting – and better exposed – pictures.
With the sun often creating deep shadows right across your picture, using your flash will flood the subject with light. This means that you’ll take a much more evenly-lit shot – without huge sections being too dark to see, or too light to recognise! Plus, it’ll make your subject stand out, which is just the thing for interesting snapchat selfies.
5) Pay attention to your surroundings.
We don’t just mean making sure you’re not standing in inappropriate places to grab your shots, either! Being aware of what’s going on BEHIND the subject of your snap is really important. After all, you don’t want to have to repose and reshoot because somebody walked by and photobombed you right as you took your picture, do you?
6) Use burst mode.
With more and more cameras (and especially high-end phone cameras) having a ‘burst’ setting, there’s no reason at all not to use it. Shooting a single image is fine if you’re taking a picture of something still – like a landscape – but if you’re snapping something that’s moving, burst mode can be a lifesaver.
Not only will shooting a quick burst of images help capture lots of different emotions and expressions – like the upturned lips of a smile – it’ll also help prevent ruining a great picture because somebody blinked! It’s often super-easy to take photos like this too; often, you simply have to hold down the shutter button.
7) Get in close and use the zoom.
By now, you should be taking lots of photos – being wary of framing, lighting, and everything else we’ve mentioned. Great! Now to really vary things up, change how close you get to your subjects.
Getting in close can help you really bring out colours, details, and the more interesting sides of everyday objects. Of course, keep varying your distance so that you’re taking some really interesting photos from different angles, but do be aware that you can shine a light on a whole different world by getting in tight, and zooming in. The zoom function on older, lower-end phones can sometimes leave your photo looking pixelated and blurry (which can produce interesting shots), but these days phones tend to be able to zoom in super-close to even the most distant of objects.
8) Edit your photo, rather than using filters.
Filters can be a godsend. They’re great if you want a black and white shot, or want to capture something that looks a little more stylised and interesting. However, most of the time, you’re much better off editing your image rather than using a filter.
Not only will passing on filters make your photos stand out – how many sepia shots have you seen this week? – you’ll be able to much more finely tune your image by editing it. Even simply tweaking the brightness, contrast, and exposure of your image will transform your pics from average to awesome.
9) Be prepared.
Sometimes, the best photos you’ll take are the ones you didn’t expect. Keeping your phone or camera handy whenever you’re out can really help you take some interesting shots – and we don’t mean another sunset snap for your Facebook feed!
Instead, look around and for anything unusual! Sometimes you’ll see something interesting and a little out of the ordinary just by looking at your surroundings in greater detail. Just make sure that you keep your camera somewhere easy to reach – and that the battery is as charged as it can be.
10) Practice makes perfect.
Ultimately, the only way you’ll start taking better pictures is by taking MORE pictures. Whether you’re shooting dramatic landscape shots during your holiday hikes, capturing some foodporn for your Instagram, or snapping memories to share with your nearest and dearest, make sure that you’re taking pictures often! Don’t worry about them being bad at first – eventually you’ll develop your own style, and realise what looks good (and what looks terrible).
Besides, even if that last snapchat to your bestie was slightly out of focus, or you’ve cut the top of your head off, it’s not like the evidence is going to be there for long… The beauty with digital and phone cameras is that you can take hundreds of photos until you find the perfect one!
Back up those photos on MEEM every time you charge your phone!