Even though I’m so thrilled I’ve developed my DSLR photography skills over the years to get to the point I am now, I am a firm believer that the best camera you have is the one you have on you. If you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy camera, and hundreds of hours learning manual (though maybe it was just me who took so long to learn…), just get better at using the camera you have … your phone!
I’ve gotten a bit obsessive with getting the perfect shot, even if the camera I’m using fits in my pocket. Here are my favorite four tips for better iPhone photography.
1. Light Matters!
By far the biggest factor in good photography, iPhone or otherwise is the LIGHT! I tell clients constantly that the background and location are secondary to good light, because with good light we can make just about anything look good.
The best kind of light for your iPhone photography is natural, so kill those overhead fluorescents and embrace the sun. Find a good window and look for soft light – nothing too direct or harsh. If the light is fairly bright and you find one side of your subject is super bright and the other is too dark, you can use something white (like a pillow/pillowcase!) to bounce some light back into the shadows of your subject. I use this trick all the time!
2. Remove Distractions
One of my favorite places to snap photos of my kids is on the white bedspread in our guest room, or the white sheets on our bed. This is because the background is clean and simple, and nothing takes away from their cute (cuuuuuuuuute) faces. Both spaces have great window light, too, which is a huge bonus!
When I’m photographing in a busier part of my house, I try and remove as many distraction as I can. There’s almost always an obnoxious green bouncer or bright pink swaddle in the background of any given room, and by just adjusting where I’m shooting or shoving some stuff beside the couch, simply moving some clutter out of the frame can make a HUGE difference.
The basic rules of good composition still apply to iPhone photography. I like to keep my subject the focus of the photo – nothing too busy. I like to have leading lines in photos as well, again so the subject is the primary focus. Purposeful cropping can help with this as well. You can also look for symmetry and patterns in what you’re photographing to create visual interest. There are so many ways proper composition–whatever that may be!–can help make a good photo great!
4. Use an editing app
Most of my iPhone photos are edited with an app called PicTapGo. It cost $1.99 and has been worth every penny! It has the most simple interface ever which makes it really easy to brighten photos and add a little pop. I keep my edits pretty simple, and this app lets me do that, while also offering options for more extensive edits if I ever want.
My favorite filters in PicTapGo are Lights On, + Contrast, and Warm It Up. Sometimes I’ll throw on Loft as well, because I gravitate more toward pink images than green. And, other times I just tweak in the Adjustments panel! I always aim for my photos to be light/bright, medium high in contrast, and warm.
If you need a little more power in your editing app, I’m obsessed with Lightroom. You can get it on your phone and it. will. change. your. life. I love having more control over lights/darks, highlights/shadows, sharpness, and being able to make local adjustments. While PicTapGo is great for quick, easy edits, Lightroom is perfect for when I have a little more time or a photo needs a bit more help. And, since I edit in Lightroom on my computer, I can get that much closer to my normal photo edit, which is a huge bonus because consistency makes me HAPPY!