David Behrens on how to get snap happier with your camera phone
PHOTOGRAPHY has never been so available or so disposable. Chances are, there’s a camera in your pocket right now – the one on your phone – and with no film or developing costs to consider, you can use it as casually as you like.
But having access to a phone doesn’t automatically make you a great photographer. It takes a certain technique, too – yet with a little practice and foresight, snaps from even the cheapest phone can become mini masterpieces.
Dan Rubin is founder and editorat-large of the august Photographic Journal and therefore the sort of man you’d expect to see with a Rolleiflex around his neck. In fact, his medium of choice is Instagram, the photo service that lets you take pictures and videos on your mobile and then share them across social networking sites. He is on a mission to spread the gospel to the rest of us – to which end, his roadshow is rolling into York, where he will lead disciples on a photo-walk of the city.
His very sound message is that no matter how automated your camera phone, it’s worth getting to know the manual settings – because therein lie the key to creative photography.
Here are his top five tips for taking great pictures on your phone
1. Focus and exposure. Tap to focus on a darker or lighter area of your screen that will drastically change the amount of light being let into the camera.
2. HDR (High Dynamic Range) Imaging. Turn on HDR when you can’t get the exposure you want.
3. Burst Mode. In busy environments, capture multiple shots in quick succession.
4. Editing your images. Use apps like Snapseed and Vcso Cam.
5. Sharing on Instagram. Squareready will help if you don’t want to cut your image to fit Instagram’s square frame. And here are a few of my own... Get down: When photographing a child, bend down until the lens is the same height as their eyeline. The results are infinitely more personal and intimate.
Don’t use the digital zoom: It’s just an electronic contrivance that will enlarge the picture only by degrading it.
Steady on: Especially in low light, you’ll get sharper pictures by holding the camera steady. Wedge it against a wall or on a flat surface if needs be.
Dan Rubin’s Smartphone Masterclass is at the Hotel Indigo, Walmgate, York, on Thursday, September 3 from 7-9pm.
AND PRESS: Your camera phone can do a lot more than selfies.