Take Pictures Like a Pro!

Your Cell Phone Can Take Awesome Photos - If You Put In Some Thought Before You Press the Button

Article by Emily Alwood, EmmiClaire Photography

Photography by Emily Alwood, EmmiClaire Photography

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

So many people have cell phones equipped with cameras that have great functionality and produce high-quality images, allowing users to take photos good enough to print and frame or hang on the wall.

Of course, there are a plethora of phones out there with cameras of varying quality, and each has its own specifics. Personally, I have the Google Pixel 3, which takes extraordinary photos, and other phone brands have similarly high-quality cameras built in.

But having a great cell phone camera is only half the battle. A lot depends on you, the cell phone photographer. What do you need to do to make sure your cell phone photos are the best they can possibly be?

I want you to look at your camera roll on your phone. See if you notice any differences in the photos. Think about possible reasons why they are different. What time of day were these photos taken? Were the subjects in full sun or shade – or maybe a mix of both? What was the angle when you were capturing your subject?

These are all questions I consider when I'm out on the job taking professional photos, and also when I'm just taking photos on my phone. There is definitely a strategy in doing this, and here I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks to help you feel empowered and confident in taking your own phone photos of your family, friends, and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Tip 1: Light

Light is one of the main keys to success in photography. You should try to place your subjects in a shaded area without any light speckling on them. When photographing children, for instance, you want consistent lighting on faces without anyone squinting – nobody should be looking into the sun. The best times of day to shoot are in the morning before the sun is too bright, and then about an hour before sunset, also known as the “golden hour.”

Tip 2: Posing

I always want to avoid overly posed photos. Let's face it: Nobody likes cheesy, forced smiles. Tell some jokes or relate to your subjects so they can get natural smiles and laughs. Of course, this may not work when photographing animals. When I photograph my pup, I just need to mention “treat” or make some squeaky noise to get his upright attention. 

Tip 3: Angle

Always capture your subjects at the optimal angle. Think about photos of yourself or family members that are awesome. What was the angle? Imagine you’re taking a photo of your children and dog. You’ll want to get on eye level with them and close enough to frame everything you want in each photo. For example, if they are standing in front of a lake, you might step back to get a wide shot with the lake in the background. Then, move forward and squat, at eye level, to get the subjects in frame and take more snaps. 

Tip 4: Editing

All cell phone cameras come with editing tools. My go-to for quick phone edits, depending on the lighting, is to adjust the exposure, lower the highlights, and increase the shadows a bit. I like my photos to be vibrant and full of life, and these simple editing manipulations can achieve that effect. Just explore to find a style you like best!

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