I often meet people who say to me, “I absolutely love photography. I just wish I really knew how to use my camera better.”
I think one of the things that draws us to photography is the ability to see the world in a different way. Whether you’re talking about portrait, photojournalism, or landscape, the beauty of photography is that it freezes a perspective on life that there is really no other way to accomplish. And that’s just really cool.
I’m sure you’ve heard me say before, photography is all light and glass. As simplistic as that statement sounds, it’s true to an extent, maybe, but a large extent. Becoming a decent photographer is mostly about understanding what to do with that light and glass and how to use it to capture what you see.
I’ve heard this ‘I really wish I knew how to use my camera better’ statement enough times now that I have some fun things in the works. I’m planning a ‘making friends with your DSLR’ workshop this coming spring. This will be a super fun time (in the south Florida/Treasure Coast area) of hanging out with the ladies and learning the basics of being able to take the pictures you really want to take. You can also look for blogs on understanding your DSLR, as well as some good starter ideas for purchasing the camera of your dreams.
But today what I wanted to talk about was my favorite camera related quote ever. Ready?
“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
This quote has been attributed to a few different people, although many think it is Henri Cartier-Bresson, the photojournalist who shot with only a small Leica. There is huge truth in it either way. You can’t make an image if you don’t have anything to capture it with. This is why I am a HUGE fan of the camera you have with you every single day. Your cell phone.
Knowing that whether or not you can understand and operate your ‘big girl’ camera, you can start improving your photography by becoming a pro with your cell phone and it’s usually in your pocket. That being said, here is my Top 3 of the best things you can do to get good pictures with your cell phone camera. Or The Top 3 iPhone-ography tips guide of the year. (I just made that up.)
- Settle down. It might seem obvious, but you need to be steady to get a good picture, especially when it’s not super bright outside and you’re shutter speed is going to slow down. When you’re throwing your camera around, it’s not going to be able to grab a good image. Lean your body up against a wall, brace your elbow on something in front of you, or at the very least, slow down and hold still while you press that button!
- Look twice. When you’re seeing something that you want to create a picture of, you need to look around a bit before deciding the best place to shoot it from. It takes a while to train your eye to not just take a picture but to evaluate the light. Just moving a little to the right or the left in a moment might make the difference between a really amazing photo and a snap shot looking one. The best I can say on this (without out a class! Stay tuned!!) is experiment a bit, that’s the beauty of digital. Take something from three different perspectives and ask yourself why one looks so much better than the others.
- Focus people. That little touch screen is there for a reason, use it! Where you put your finger determines not only the focus but also the exposure on most smart phone cameras these days. Again play around with it. The newer phones are definitely good at guessing and helping you, but work with it a bit. It’ll only help your skill level!! 🙂
Although these are simple ideas, I hope it gives you a jump start and encouragement in your photography journey. I’d love to hear your questions (and I’ll do my best to answer them) in the comments.
All the images in this post are from my HTC One (iFriends don’t be haters ;-) ) phone camera.