Do you ever gaze at Instagram and wonder how so many people manage to get such beautiful pictures of their children/house/flowers on their phones? I used to think that they were all using fancy cameras and faking it. But it's not true. You can get really incredible photos on a phone camera. Really, you can! A lot of the top Instagram accounts are full of pictures taken with phones but if it's just not happening for you there is a good chance that you are making one of these six common iPhoneography mistakes, let me walk you through them.
Is your lens dirty?
Alrighty-then, I would like you to have a good look at the lens on your phone. Is it covered in gunk and baby slobber? Exactly what is the ratio of glass to crumbs? You will be straight up amazed at the difference a clean lens can make when it comes to photo quality. Go on, give it a wipe with your sunnies cleaning cloth thing.
Do you have a crap cover on your phone?
Did you buy a hot pink diamanté phone cover from the two-dollar shop? It’s cute right. But is the lens hole in exactly the right place and does it sit flat on your phone? If not, is it creating a halo-like frame on your photos? Do a little test, take a picture, take off the cover and take it again. Analyse the outcome. Are you happy that they are exactly the same quality? If not, splash out on a better quality cover.
Are you moving the phone when you press the button?
OK, hold up your phone and point it at something that isn’t moving, like the fruit bowl. Arty right? Now take a picture. Is it a bit blurred? There is a pretty high likelihood that it is actually your phone that is moving and not the fruit. And there is an even higher likelihood that the movement is happening because of how you’re pressing the button.
Now I’m going to tell you a great way to hold your phone to avoid this. Make an ‘L’ with your fingers and thumb of your left hand, sit the phone in that ‘L’ and make a fist with the remaining three fingers behind your phone. With your right hand, you want to hold the other side of the phone with a flat palm, like if you were high-fiving it, and press the button gently with your thumb. No stabby pressing, just a light touch. Is that better? Good.
Are you taking pictures in the dark?
Alright, there are so many light-related mistakes that are made when it comes to phoneography but lets just start with some very un-technical tech stuff. The bigger a lens is, the more light that can get into it. More light = better quality images.
The lens on your phone is tiny so it needs lots of light. To fix this, you’re going to have to stop taking pictures in the dark. They are going to be grainy and pretty crap. And switching on a light or using the flash is only going to make things worse because synthetic light casts weird colours and the flash will make the picture cloudy. Try opening curtains, moving towards windows or heading outside. And when it comes to those outside pictures, cloudy days are your best friend because the light is all soft and non-shadowy and super flattering. Early mornings and late afternoon are also great times to get snapping because this is when the awesomeness of magic hour happens and magic hour makes everything prettier. Google it. It’s totally a thing.
Are you holding you phone at a messed up angle?
Do your kids always look like they have huge heads and tiny bodies in your pictures? OK, bad example because kids DO have huge heads and tiny bodies but are your pictures amplifying their strange proportions? It’s probably because you’re holding the phone weird, like angled down to point at them. There is nothing outrageously wrong with this but if you make a habit of trying to keep your phone at a right angle to the ground then your pictures will just look better. All you have to do is duck down a bit lower when you take the pictures and point your phone straight ahead. Same goes for the left/right tilt; nice square lines look good – you should try it sometime.
Are you using bad filters?
Your friends aren’t going to tell you this but I am, you use crappy filters ALL the time. Kidding, I don’t know you at all and who is to say that you don’t think my filters are crappy. But if you do like to filter-up your pics a lot, and I am totally in this camp, just remember that not all filters are created equal. Go and check out VSCO Cam app because they are by far the coolest and least ugly filters around. I wrote about a few of my other favourite editing apps here.
Also, make sure to take your images in the normal camera setting and apply any filters to a duplicate of them. Then in 10 years time when we are all cringing at the layers of weirdness we used to add to our snaps we will still have the originals.