I often get asked which camera I’ve used to take my photos on Instagram, which is a fair question to ask seeing as I currently own at least 3 different cameras and often have access to different smartphones to try out.
I have a Canon 550d, a Canon 5D Mkii, a little point and shoot from Sony, (WX100) and I’ve just invested in a Canon g7X (you can never have too many cameras!). Inevitably though, its my iPhone thats in my pocket and with me every day, so my Instagram feed is primarily iPhone shots. (I usually say if I’ve switched to another smartphone for the day). This post will give you a few tips and tricks to make sure you get the best out of your smartphone… although I will also add that the iPhone has consistently given me the best image quality for smartphone photography and would be my first recommendation if anyone asks me which one they should go for. Even more so since I got the iPhone 6!
Here are some quick tips to taking good photos with your smartphone.
1. Give the lens a clean.
This might seem like a daft suggestion, but the lens on the back easily picks up fingerprints and can make the photos look hazy or smeared. Your outside, daylight photos should be pin sharp, if they’re anything less, then give that lens a wipe with a cloth.
2. Choose your battles wisely
I had an iPhone 5 for two years and learned that it struggled with indoor lights so I’d try and position myself by a window whenever I could if I was shooting outside, or better still, get outside. Having better quality light means that your pictures will be sharper (less motion blur from kids running around) and you’ll have so much more flexibility when it comes to adding filters and editing. A low resolution photo looks pixelated or poor quality when you start to tweak it.
3. Keep shooting
Its digital, you don’t have to be a one shot maverick! Take a few shots of the same thing and move around a little, its great to be spoilt for choice later. I often take several but just use the one.
Here’s another example of being patient. I knew that the little lady splashing in puddles was great content, and I didn’t want to put her off or let her see I was taking a photo so I stood back a little and snapped away.
4. Use the native camera app
I prefer not to shoot straight into instagram, I shoot using the Apple camera app which means they all sit on my camera roll and I can use any of the camera apps I have on my phone to edit them.
5. Add a little oomph
Even if you don’t want to do anything that feels too arty or abstract, most photos can do with a little boost to the saturation or the contrast. I use Snapseed to do this, but you can also use the controls in instagram or in the camera app in iOS8.
6. Secret weapon for skintones
I have a lot of photo editing apps that I dip in and out of, but there is one app I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for editing close ups of faces. The Pic Tap Go App has a filter called ‘Lights on’ which can make your images look as if you had a giant, professional soft box light on your subject. Plus you can dial back the effect if it feels a bit strong. I’ll sometimes use the filter but then add back in a bit of contrast or saturation.I even use this for indoor shots to make the image a bit bright overall.
7. Be creative
The things I love about shooting with an iPhone is that it seems to make me think completely differently to using a regular camera. I feel that I can tweak the photos and add filters much more than I usually would, and I love the freedom of just having a play.
My favourites at the moment are the ‘Drama’ and HDR filter in Snapseed. After a week of using just the iPhone 5 to document our family holiday in Hampshire I was starting to think in filters. I’d see the dark grey sky and dull light and wonder what was going to happen when I tweaked it.
8. Be inspired by others
There are lots of people sharing great photos every day on instagram and by using hashtags on their photos it means that their you can easily see their images. Travelling to Paris? Search for #Paris and be inspired by the places other people are visiting. Or why not get involved with a challenge or theme. I like the Capturing Colour challenge on Instagram. Each week there is a different colour and you collaborate with other photographers to share images from that colour.