A model at work by Michael Broyles

A model at work by Broyles Photography

I want to let you in on a little secret.  You can take amazing photos using nothing more than your cell phone.  Although you may not become a master photographer overnight, the following 7 tips, along with a little practice and patience, will help you become the master of your cell phone camera and a star photographer for your family.

Use Light

Light plays an important role in taking a good photograph.  In photography, there are many types of light and each one has its pros and cons depending on the type of photo you wish to take.  To keep it simple, use diffused window light and skip the flash when taking indoor photos.  When outdoors, the best light is when the sun is low in the sky, such as at dusk or in the early morning.  Overcast skies also work well for outdoor photos.

Keep Your Camera Lens Clean

A dirty camera lens will guarantee you a less than spectacular shot.  Stashed away in your pocket or purse, your phone’s camera lens is more than likely to encounter a fair share of dirt, grim, and dust.  Before you take a photo, be sure to wipe the lens with a clean, soft cloth and give your lens a thorough cleaning using a lens cleaning solution from time to time.  Also, try to keep your phone stored away from items like coins and keys that can scratch the lens.

Turn on Gridlines

An easy way to improve the quality of your photos is to turn on your camera’s gridlines to help you set up a shot.  This feature superimposes a series of lines on your screen that are based on the “rule of thirds.”  That is, the gridlines break the image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically to give you nine squares.  If you place points of interest in these intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced.

Go for a Close Up…

Cell phone cameras work really well at capturing small details when you get really close to your subject.  The reason for this is that the small sensor in your camera provides a relatively wide of field that enables you to get an entire object(s) in focus.  In addition, getting up close and personal with your subject allows you to have more control over lighting in the shot.

But Don’t Zoom In

You may be tempted to use the zoom feature on your camera to capture a far away shot; however, zooming in can result in a distorted photo that lacks in both quality and detail.  The best option is to skip the zoom and either get as close to your subject as possible (keeping safety in mind!) or crop the photo later.

Turn Off Your Flash

Most phone camera flashes do not work as intended, leaving you with photos that are overexposed, blurry, and poorly lit.  Instead, seek out natural light whenever possible.

Learn How to Edit

Investing in a quality editing app will give you the power to tailor your photos exactly the way you want them, allowing you to adjust contrast, sharpness, and color temperature; crop photos; and remove red eye.  Popular photo editing apps include Photoshop Express, Pixlr Express, Snapseed, and VSCO Cam.  Whatever app you choose, spend some time learning how to use the features so you can edit your photos accordingly.

Of course, there will be occasions when using your cell phone to take a picture just won’t suffice.  That perfect family portrait.  Grandma’s 90th birthday.  Your son or daughter’s engagement.  For those moments, you will want to seek out a certified professional photographer (CPP) who has the skills and experience to capture just the right shot to last a lifetime.  A CPP understands the technical (e.g., lighting, posing, and design) and artistic side of photography and will work with you to capture the right pose, each time, so you are happy with the quality and the images the first time around.

Looking to invest in an heirloom portrait?  Contact Michael Broyles photography for a one-on-one consultation to discuss how we can create a tangible memory for you.

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