If you have ever brushed off the idea of blogging or taking your own photos for social media because you felt like you didn't have the right tools or equipment, then I'm sad to be the one to break it to you--but you don't need anything but your mobile phone, some lighting knowledge, and a free mobile app called Lightroom.
You literally have a camera, developer, processor and editor that can easily fit right into your pocket. Cool, huh?
I take all of my photos with my Iphone XR, and with the technology and camera updates that keep coming out for mobile, I doubt I will ever purchase a camera. Shooting with a camera versus your phone is COMPLETELY different, but I have found that for alot of lifestyle images it can be hard to tell the difference when they are shot right. Plus, I like the convenience of it, and I like to travel as light as possible!
But I'll cut right to the nitty gritty here, and give you all my tips for taking those great photos!
1. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting and more lighting.
Lighting is crucial to getting a photo that is crisp, clear and easy to edit. If lighting is too dark, it can tend to be blurry. If it's too light, you look washed out and it creates harsh shadows. When shooting outdoors, days where it is bright but has cloud coverage are PERFECT because the clouds diffuse the light and makes it less harsh. When shooting indoors is important to find a room with ample natural light that floods the room, versus rooms where sun beams are coming in. Think light that doesn't cast shadows.
Keep note to the times during the day when the room you like to take photos in is at it's best lighting. Then be sure to turn all the lights on in the room to reduce further noise or blur. Your Iphone camera needs LOTS of light compared to a traditional camera so filtered full, and natural light is your friend. Here is an example from my own camera roll of lighting that is too harsh, and lighting that is perfect! These are completely unedited, so you can see the original lighting and what I'm talking about.
BONUS lighting tip: Take all of your selfies in front of a window with lots of natural light to get that glow!
2. This is common sense, but keep your lens clean!
I wont go into crazy detail, but dirt and oil from your purse, pocket, or face can get on the lens and leave artifacts in the photos. Just wipe them clean with an eyeglass cleaner and cloth before you start...or use your shirt like I usually do, haha!
3. Avoid using third party apps to take the initial image.
Yes, it's tempting to use your IG camera when you are just pulling up to shoot and document, but use the phones camera! You never know when you may need to switch to portrait mode real quick, and if you forget to save it before you exit the image is gone. Even worse is when you save it with a filter already applied and honey, you can't edit that light leak filter out of that perfect selfie.
4. Let the phone do the work.
Try not to zoom in on the image. Tap the area where you want the focal point to be, and start snapping. I've found that zooming in makes the image a little more blurry, and simply cropping the image afterwards to where I want it to be turns out best. Use portrait mode! It is incredible. Moving on.
5. Invest in a Tripod and Remote.
For about $25 on Amazon you can grab a 6ft aluminum tripod with a bluetooth remote. This makes taking photos by yourself a breeze! Set the timer, and stash the remote in your pocket or somewhere out of the frame of the image. It's portable, light enough to carry around, and easy to pop your phone into for some hands free shots.
6. Avoid using your front facing camera.
This can be hard when you are taking photos by yourself, but the camera is definitely not as clear or good in my opinion. Portrait Mode on the front camera is great, but take the majority of your pictures with the back camera. I think it let's in much more light to avoid being blurry.
Whew! Are you still with me? Okay, good! Now that we have talked about taking the photos, and how IMPORTANT lighting is, let's get to editing!
Editing is where the magic happens, and where your photos begin to stand out from the rest.
There are many apps to use to edit your photos. Out of all the apps I have used, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Mobile is my favorite, and even more so because it is FREE! Editing your photos allows you to add your personal touch to them, and create a cohesive look on your social media platforms. The quickest and easiest way to do this is with the use of presets.
Presets are basically filters for your photo's, but unlike just using the IG app to add something fun, these presets all work together to create cohesion in your grid.
It's important to have a cohesive grid because it's easy on the eyes, and shows off your brands unique style. You can purchase packages that you love online, or create your own within the app!
I personally love cool tones of blues, lush greens, and blush so I have presets that pull those tones out of the picture. Since I'm not a huge fan of warmer tones, yellow and orange is usually muted. Here are some examples of one click edits, and you can see how the entire "feel" of the photo is changed.
If you love the look of these, feel free to shop my personal presets here. I use six on rotation and have included two BONUS presets in the package :)
The original photo is on the left, and the edited is on the right.
And then there is one photo with six different edits.
Crazy how much a little editing can make a HUGE impact, right!?
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into how to improve your Mobile Phone camera skills. It's taken me a solid year to learn the ropes, but once you start to implement, you'll be surprised how fast you begin to catch on!