If you look at the camera statistics on Flickr it probably comes as no surprise that three of the top five cameras are iPhones (iPhone 4, 4S and 5) mixed in with the Canon 5D MK ii and the Canon 7D. The reason for that is simple: The camera that people will use most often is the one they have with them.
If it’s one mistake technology companies have made over the years, it’s underestimating the power of convenience and phone cameras are a perfect example. Cellphone cameras offer several advantages other than the convenience factor that make them the go-to choice for most people. For one thing, it’s possible to take pictures with a cell phone and not look like you’re taking pictures, but hulk around a Canon 7D and everyone knows what you’re doing.
With more people using cellphones to take pictures, it makes sense to cover some tips for getting more out of your cellphone pictures. Just because cameras are getting smaller and more convenient to carry doesn’t mean you want to ignore the basics of photography.
Rules of Composition Still Apply
Whether you’re shooting with a large camera or a small one the same rules of composition still appl, like the Rule of Thirds. Instead of centering your subject, move them slightly off to one side of the screen or another and trying to include enough of the background to tell the story of where they are. Picture the screen as divided in three equal sections and put your subject in either the left or right third of the frame.
The Brighter The Better
Where cellphone cameras really fall down is in low-light situations, so you’ll want to shoot in brighter light if you can find it. Some phones have an LED light, but that’s only good for “hug and mug” type shots at a short distance.
Get In Close
If phone cameras have a limitation is that they’re most useful at close range. Because the lenses are wide angle, trying to pull back to get a shot of a table full of people will quickly have individuals getting lost in the background. Just like your car mirrors, objects will need to be closer than they appear to get a picture to come out right.
Another bonus to getting in close phone cameras is they don’t tend to make people as self-conscious. Point a camera at them and they get all flustered, but point a phone at them, a device they see every day, and they hardly react.
Instagram Gets Old In a Hurry
Instagram filters are great, for the right shot. Unfortunately far too many people think every shot is the right shot and a steady diet of warped color curves can really get old after a while. Observe the basics of composition and you won’t need to stretch the contrast or crush the blacks to get a better looking photo. Basic color correction and maybe a little bump on the saturation is all your best shots should require.
Don’t Hold The Camera At Arm’s Length
Ugh, those hug & mug pictures with one party holding their phone at arm’s length are so over. Ask a bystander to take the shot for you and have them back up enough to get some location information in the shot.
There are also multitudes of easily portable little tabletop stands for setting up your cell phone on the other side of the table and get the shot using the self-timer.
A picture of two heads in a booth doesn’t tell viewers anything about where you are or what you were doing at the time. Don’t just take pictures, but strive to tell a story.
Follow these simple guidelines and your pictures will be standout good in a sea of mediocrity.