Smartphones are fast becoming the preferred equipment of choice for photography. Two professional photographers talk about the top five pointers one needs to keep in mind to get the best out of an iPhone camera
Steffen Geldner is a German photographer and university lecturer for digital music marketing in Europe and the US. He is also the CEO of the music label Antischlager, besides being a talent manager.
Don’t concentrate on the device
I get many questions asking what iPhone I use, or what smartphone would be best for shooting, etc. All I can say is that it really doesn’t matter. Stick with what you have access to and try to utilise it to the optimum. Rather, think more about the actual image you want to capture. I am currently still shooting on my iPhone7 and it works perfectly.
Do your research
When I travel for work or pleasure I make sure to research well to find interesting places that fit into my feed: special architecture, lookouts and views over a city or landscape, streets, etc. I usually spend many hours flying over city streets with Google Maps and I have found many places this way. Also, I always contact local photographers to show me around.
Utilise interesting locations
Location and lighting is everything, especially when shooting on mobile. The better the original picture is and the less you have to edit, the better everything will look. Ask questions like: When does the sun hit the most picturesque angle in your location? Would it be worth climbing up another 100 steps to get a better view? Can I wait another 10 minutes until an interesting looking person walks by?
To make my pictures more interesting and stand out, I sometimes include props such as a mirror, a toy plane, or even just a puddle on the ground. Shooting in an urban landscape after a downpour is always fun. Especially on Instagram, the picture should look interesting in a small preview on the explore page. That way, the chances of getting more engagement is higher.
Take time to edit
For me, editing the pictures and videos is one of the most important parts of the process. I edit all of my pictures on my iPhone, firstly using VSCO filters, mostly HB2, FP8 or E4, but it varies and depends on the picture. I apply brightness, contrast and especially the LUX filter directly in Instagram. You might need some time getting used to editing well and finding your style.
Mohd Danish is a Delhi-based travel photographer and influencer. A professional ‘phone photographer’ with published works across the globe, he believes in “capturing the raw beauty of each destination”.
Shoot in portrait mode
Blurring out the background always adds to the overall effect of the picture. And one doesn’t really need a professional DSLR camera to achieve this. An iPhone is perfect to click pictures in portrait mode and the background can be easily blurred. The portrait mode uses depth-effect software to keep our foreground subject sharp.
Use frames to draw attention to a specific area of the image. It also helps add a touch of drama and story to your photos. Shooting an object through a hole or space in another is a classic way to add interest and depth to our photos. Make use of natural frames such as overhanging tree branches or rock formations.
Symmetry makes a difference
Symmetry is all about finding balance in our image. The simplest way to achieve this is by dividing the scene in half either vertically or horizontally where both halves have a very similar structure—for example, the Humayun’s Tomb or the Taj Mahal. Unlike other composition techniques, symmetry is based on minimising contrast.
Set the focus on the subject
Sometimes the subject just doesn’t look sharp. This is a common problem with phone photography. That’s because the camera’s autofocus doesn’t always centre where we want it to. To ensure the subject is always in sharp focus, set the focus point manually.
Check phone settings
This is perhaps the most important thing. Make sure your phone lens is clean before you capture anything. Also, adjust exposure for perfect brightness levels, use HDR mode for amazing photos, use night mode in dim light, and get closer to the subject to avoid zoom.