Say Cheese! It’s true: a picture is worth a thousand words. According to Brainrules.net, a person who hears a piece of information will remember just 10% of it three days later, while someone who sees that same information in a picture will recall 65% of it.
Taking a good photo is key on social media. Luckily, all you need is your smartphone and these photo-taking tips to get started.
1. Use Natural Light
One of the easiest ways to take your photos from amateur to professional is by paying careful attention to the lighting you use. All phones come with flash and low-light options which sound good in theory, but in practice often make photos look grainy or washed out. Instead, use natural light to your advantage! If indoors, take photos near large windows. Outside, don’t stand directly facing the sun, but use the light in your photos. Experiment with different levels of lighting by stepping away from the light source or using objects to shade the photo. Find the one that looks best for what you’re photographing.
2. Don’t Zoom
While smartphone cameras are pretty sophisticated, there are just some areas where they fall flat compared to digital cameras. Zoom is one of them. Like with flash, zooming in often makes photos appear grainy or unclear. Instead, take your photo and crop it afterward. That way, you can still narrow in on your subject without sacrificing photo quality.
3. Use the Rule of Thirds
Here’s where you really start to channel your inner photographer. The rule of thirds is a principle of photography to help you take the best possible photos. Darren Rowse at Digital Photography School has an excellent breakdown if you want to go in-depth, but in short the rule of thirds asks you to break up your photograph into a grid of 9 squares. With smartphones, this is easy – you can find a “grid” setting in your camera that will place a grid on your screen to help you line up your photos. Basically, you want to try and line up points of interest with the four inner lines of your grid. These are the focal points where our eyes are naturally drawn. By placing objects in-line, you create more natural looking photos.
4. Pay Attention to Background
Backgrounds are often ignored by inexperienced photographers, which creates a cluttered, distracting photo overall. Backgrounds are especially important when taking product photos. Try creating visual interest by shooting against interesting backgrounds – such as a brick wall or wooden table. You can also use props for your background, like a colorful scarf or even patterned paper. The more uniform your background, the better. When taking shots of people, try to position them in spots with the least amount of clutter – in a field versus next to a bench, for example.
5. Take a Variety of Shots
No one has ever said “I wish I had less photos to choose from.” The more photos you can take, the better. This is also your chance to experiment with composition (how things are arranged) and angle. Sometimes you can discover the perfect photo by switching your position. Try shooting above and below, shooting at an angle, shooting straight on or shooting from the side. Just keep playing around!
6. Use Photo Editing Apps (Carefully)
With great power, comes great responsibility. Photo editing apps can really bring your creation to life – when used sparingly. Instagram filters can make an image pop, but they can also quickly turn your image into a muddied, over-exposed mess. Instead, edit your photo carefully. Focus on making your images as clear and crisp as possible. Often, you can achieve this by simply using the built-in editing tools on your phone. If you want to go a step further, you can try apps like Afterlight, Snapseed or Camera+.
With these tricks, you’ll be shooting pics like a pro in no time.
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