3 Easy Tips from the Pros for Taking Better Photos with Your Phone

If everyone’s a writer in the Internet age, then it’s doubly true that everyone’s a photographer.

We all take a lot of pictures, mostly on our phones. It’s fun, it’s easy and — unlike in the prehistoric days when we had to develop film — it’s a source of cheap and instant gratification.

But are you doing it right?

If you’re like me, you might not even notice that sometimes you’re taking pictures that will show telephone poles growing out of someone’s head … or you might look at the photo later and say, It really wasn’t that dark in there.

I’m no expert. But I’ve had the privilege of working with great professional photographers and designers over the years. And they’ve been kind enough to share pointers that are so basic and simple, even I have benefitted from using them.

So try these out next time you’re taking selfies or shots of the family, the dogs or even landscapes.

And shoot a LOT. It’s digital!

1. The Rule of Thirds. You know how Instagram puts a tic-tac-toe board over your screen? It’s to help you compose the image so that the subject is where it should be. And most of the time, it’s at one of the four intersection points. Use this with any camera, any time. Just divide the screen into thirds horizontally and thirds vertically, and put the main subject at one of the points where the lines cross.

2. Look at the entire screen. What is behind the subject and what’s filling the rest of the image area? If you’re taking a photo of mom in the living room, is there a giant floral arrangement behind her that will make her look like an alien peacock? Is the wallpaper so loud it competes with her Christmas sweater?

3. It’s all about the lighting. Be sure to touch the screen on the main subject — mom’s face, for instance — so your phone or camera adjusts to light her. Be careful of putting people in front of windows or other bright light — it can make them appear so dark that you can’t see them in the photo.

THE BAD (mine)

photography tips, iPhone, how to take better photos, Georgia Tech, GA Tech, undergraduates, North Avenue, Atlanta

What’s wrong with this picture? A lot! (I can say that because I took it.) My friend Pete Cross, who is a sensational photographer, pointed out that I have a telephone pole growing out of one of the guy’s heads AND a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on his ear. Also, the shadows are unfortunate. I could’ve just moved around them a bit to get a better shot.

THE GOOD (a pro’s)

Ben Gray, photos, photography, iphone photos, how to take better pictures, Atlanta, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ben Gray liked the image of nature overcoming the sign, and he added to it by following the Rule of Thirds down the right side. He also waited for a little action in the background. Ben says adding a little activity, or something different in another plane, adds to the shot.

MORE BEN GRAY:  His #runography project

RELATED: ‘Everybody Writes,’ indeed

RELATED: Photos from Krog Street Market

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One thought on “3 Easy Tips from the Pros for Taking Better Photos with Your Phone

  1. Pingback: Are You an Instagram Cliche? | StoryCroft

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