Guest post by Vinita Salome. Vinita is a professional photographer based in The Hague, The Netherlands and you can click on the photo above to visit her website. Today she’s sharing with us 5 easy ways to take better photos with a smartphone.
“The best camera is the one you have with you” said the renowned photographer Annie Lebovitz in her interview with the NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. She also referred to the Iphone as the snapshot camera of today; a wallet with the family’s pictures, and a means for accessible and easy photography.
Oh, what I would’ve given to have had easy and accessible photography when my son was still a baby. For those of us with children will know the, literally, heavy reality of being a mother: A pram, a huge diaper bag filled with everything a child can dream up and you wouldn’t want to be caught dead without, and of course a huge winter coat to stave off the Dutch cold.
Although I was a professional photographer, I didn’t want to add my photography gear to the mobile home on my shoulders.
Nowadays, as Anne Lebovitz says, easy and accessible photography is literally in the palms of our hands. Many of us have smartphones and it is easy to document the beauty in our lives and our environment to share with our loved ones, more so for those of us who have families around the world.
I’ve observed many people using their smartphones for just basic photos. But, there are some easy ways that you could spruce up those photos and end up with photographs that do justice to your subject – be it a beautiful bed of tulips or your daughter’s first tulle dress.
Here are 5 easy tips to help you do just that!
1. Lose the flash
Ordinarily I love bright lights and their brave attempt to make up for the perpetual lack of sunshine, But not everything needs to be flashy – especially, in photographs. So my first tip would be to go easy on the flash. In fact, try turning it off for an entire day and enjoy the beautiful shadowy tones of your images. And if you have a minute compare the difference in the images with and without the flash.
2. Bask in natural light
Cloudy days when the sun is hiding, or is very low, lend photographs, especially portraits, a beautiful soft light. Indoor photography during such days can get tricky but the advantage of being in The Netherlands, is that the Dutch architects love huge windows. These windows stream in a lot of light. In case you don’t have big windows, make sure to place your children or your vase of flowers close to a window or a light source. And if you think your image is too dark, tap the darkest part of the image on your phone’s screen and watch your image become lighter.
3. Go down a notch
Whether you’re photographing a your child’s drawing or an cupcake, get down to the child’s eye- level and start taking pictures of what they are doing or get really close to the decorative details on the cupcake. I find that this perspective opens up a whole new avenue of images.
4. Tell the whole story
Once you’re close to the children capture the details, like the decorations, different colours of paint, reflections in mirrors, small fingers smudged in paint, chubby feet with wriggly toes or trying to hold or destroy a piece of fruit. If the process gets messy, before worrying about cleaning up the mess, take a deep breath, and take a few pictures of their gleeful faces while they are creating the mess. Photos are not just about frozen moments to send granny and grandpa. They can be so much more. They can also tell the story behind the perfect picture – the whole story.
5. Leave nothing out!
This fifth tip comes from my own experience. While sifting through the huge archive of my own family images; I noticed that there were very few images of us as a family. This is my own doing. I was more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. Looking at these incomplete family pictures made me think about the memories I was leaving behind and then I started the project of taking a family portrait very month. So even if you’re camera shy, please make sure you are in the pictures. I understand it can be difficult, but when you look back you will be happy to have images of all of you as a family.
Last but not least, we all know how fast these smartphones batteries die out. Who hasn’t been stuck with a dead battery and a dire situation at some point? I might be stating the obvious, but I’d rather be safe than sorry and say – make sure your battery is fully charged.
I hope these tips help make the sometimes cumbersome task of taking photos a little easier and fun for all involved.