Simple phone photography tips can change the way you take photos forever. Once you see the results that a little bit of effort can produce, you simply can’t stop. This time let’s take a step further and talk about photography hacks that focus more on storytelling and photography as a form of art and expression.
If you were honest with yourself, you would notice that the photos that truly capture your attention are the ones that tell a story. So how to create a photo that will captivate your audience?
HACK #1: REDUCE THE NUMBER OF VISUAL DISTRACTIONS
When there are 20 visually appealing things in one photo - it simply gets lost in translation. Choose one focal point and stick to it. Portrait mode helps a lot with that because it naturally draws attention to your subject. However, do not always rely on portrait mode. Sometimes the surroundings (or the lack of them) are the best way to capture a stunning photo.
HACK #2: CAPTURE EMOTION
One of the most difficult things in photography is to capture genuine emotion, Many photos are posed. However, with the help of your phone, you can become almost invisible in your friends’ group. This is actually the main thing that you can use mobile photography tricks for. Your phone is always with you. And the memories you make with your friends and family are priceless.
There is one thing that can help you even more. Instead of taking actual photos, “take photos with your eyes”. Imagine that there is a frame in which you have to fit a stunning image. By thinking first and only then taking a picture, you will be able to know better when, how, and where to take the photo when the right moment comes.
HACK #3: THE CALMER THE BACKGROUND, THE BETTER
Usually, exciting backgrounds with interesting textures and patterns make for an eye-catching photo setting. For portrait photography, however, the contrary is the case. Too many objects in the back like trees or graffiti walls can be very distracting and attention-grabbing when really you want to make your model shine.
To steer the focus towards the actual portrait, try to look for a calm and uniform background like neutral light-colored walls or bridges that give you the possibility to use the sky as a natural background. We love to shoot portraits in industrial areas because everything is rather uniform, but you still get a ton of great photo locations with an edge.
If you’re one for colors instead of neutral backgrounds, have a look at the work of photographer@eyecandyberlinfor some inspiration on how to pull off colored backgrounds in portrait photography. No matter what background you choose, you may want to include a bit of blur in the background. You can do so by either using long focal lengths or by shooting with an open aperture. Don’t worry if you’re shooting with a smartphone, as especially the newer phones have very good portrait modes that can easily fake these effects. Definitely a good option when taking photos on the go for social media, which don’t require a high resolution.
HACK #4: CAPTIONS ARE PART OF PHOTOGRAPHY ART
By writing a caption that explains your beautiful art further, you are able to tell a more detailed story. For example, this photo is powerful on its own:
However, if you shared your thoughts and experiences in the desert, it would gain a brand new perspective. Not everyone gets a chance to explore the desert, so this is most definitely something that people will love finding out about it. This photo is magical not because it’s ISO, aperture or lighting is mind-blowing. The photo captures your attention because of its unique experience. One more eye-pleasing thing is the contrast between the girl’s outfit and the desert itself.
HACK #5: USE NATURAL LIGHT FOR INDOOR PHOTO SHOOTINGS
If you prefer taking photos indoors or you simply don’t have a choice due to poor weather conditions, taking photos inside is a good option, too. Yet, there is one key aspect that significantly differs from shooting outdoors: light. Usually, light is a lot scarcer inside unless you have a studio lamp at hand. Thus, make your model sit at the window, so that you can use the natural daylight properly to illuminate the model.
Composition-wise, make sure that there are no objects in the background that don’t need to be there like furniture. Moreover, move around the lens a bit to find interesting light effects likesun flares or well-placed shadows to create atmosphere.
HACK #6: LEARN COMPOSITION FROM PAINTERS
Art galleries are most definitely inspiring. Famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh are known for their exceptional ability to paint in the golden ratio. If you hear this term for the very first time, take a minute or two and watch a youtube video with examples.
Design is also great at showing you stunning forms and shapes that are eye-pleasing. So opening yourself to the world of art can most definitely inspire you to take more stunning photos. Even if you take them with your phone, you will still have a different perspective than an average human being and simply see the beauty and story in the most unusual situations.
The most important question you should ask yourself when you study an interesting art piece is “why”. Why does it attract my attention? What makes it unique? Why is it pleasing to my eyes? What kind of emotions does it evoke and why? Thinking about composition in a different way trains your brain to see new patterns and possibilities.
Compositions to start with:
• The Golden Ratio
• Rule of Thirds
• Rule of Space
Another thing worth mentioning that you can learn from painters is creating depth. By mixing things in the background and foreground you can add depth to your photos that will make them interesting.
BONUS TIP: follow a bunch of different photographers on Instagram. Learn from them, study their composition, try to imitate their style, create challenges for yourself, and ask yourself: “Why do I like this photo?”.
HACK #7: FOCUS ON THE EYES
This is probably one of the most important tricks we can provide you with in terms of the composition of portraits. Focus on the eyes! This will instantly give you ’that certain something’, which constitutes good portraits. Even when you want to grasp the face as a whole or want to point out specific characteristics like the model’s hair or chin, the point of focus should always be on the eyes.
Pro tip: you can bring out your eyes even more in the editing process by enhancing the white parts around the pupils. This can easily be done with Lightroom for mobile and desktop devices or other editing programs likePhotoshop. When it comes down to editing the portraits, there’s no right or wrong, since a lot is based on personal preference. However, when taking photos of people, a good skin tone is a must.
You are bit shy when it comes to posing? A pair of sunglasses is a valid option to circumvent any timidness and can help you feel more comfortable in front of the camera.