Tips, Tricks, Apps & Resources to Momentarily Stopping Time (mostly via smartphones)
Disclaimer: I didn’t study photography. Everything I know, I know from the world wiLD web or personal experience. Most of my pictures with on an iPhone & the rest are taken on disposable cameras or my gorgeous Donna Noble (Canon AE-1). Also, I keep adding new resources to this post, because knowledge is pretty cool.
It took me ages to be comfortable with sharing the pictures I take. Even now, when I look at pictures that I was very happy with, I get that ‘ugh, what was I thinking’ feeling in my gut. Not a pleasant feeling, I tell you.
That being said, I’m not entitled in any professional or emotional way to give anyone advices but I’ll just mention things I did to be emotionally ok with the pictures I take, tools I used & still use etc.
ONE: Does It Momentarily Stop Time? Use it.
You don’t need to buy a new camera. Work with what you have. If you have a digital camera that you recieved as a birthday gift, use it. If you have an iPhone/Android Phone, use it. Heck, if you have an iPad/Tablet, (you’ll look a bit weird but)use it. Basically, if your device has a lens that momentarily stops time, use it.
Taking pictures in different lightings, angles, stable surfaces, shaky hands, moving objects etc. Prefered settings to experiment on would be: ‘Whoa, Sun’, Rare Cloudy day, Indoors (good light, ok light & horrible light) and Night. Get to know your device, it’s limitations (if it has any). You keep those limitations in mind, for the next time you capture the heck out of that moment.
THREE: Snap. Snap. Snap.
Take a lot of pictures. Just take them. No. Stop thinking, take them. After working with 35 mm, I realized how much advantage we have in taking a lot of pictures via smartphones. I’m not saying you’ll regret ever taking up film photography, but it takes a lot of time to get used to simultaneously capturing THE moment and not regretting taking it a bit sooner/later (wasting that one frame).
That’s super easy with smartphones, so you work that camera!
PS: get a disposable camera, film photography is so much fun and will make you appreciate and hate technology at the same time.
FOUR: Choose The Good Ones
Since you took a lot of pictures, it’s time to go through all of them and choose your absolute 102% favorites. Keep in mind, it’s ok to not get the picture you wanted from the first snap. It really is ok. Just go through those pictures, pick your favorites and note why you like them. This will help you understand your style more, what you like and dislike. For example, I recently noticed that I like using grids to frame my humans/subjects/objects. I dislike camera flashes and I like natural light (preferably on a slightly cloudy day).
You’ll certainly discover new things along the way.
We’re almost there.
I personally start editing when I get home, and not whilst taking pictures. That’s up to your preference though. My favorite editing app is VSCO Cam, which has Lightroom Presents too (if you like editing pictures on your laptop). It’s very elegant, has an excellent interface and the loveliest most subtle effects that you have absolute control over. They’re just so human and I adore them!
Give it a go, you’ll love it. (I was not paid to say this, I really really love this editing app).
In case you don’t like it (how dare you?), you can do what I used to do (before finding THE one), and download all apps related to taking & editing pictures. Fiddle through all of them, see which one you like most, choose your top three and keep those. (but seriously, make yourself love VSCO because it’s excellent).
When editing, the only thing I keep in mind is keeping it as subtle as possible. I mostly focus on slightly altering the color tones, exposure and contrast to make the pictures clearer but I’m also a sucker for them VSCO grains.
Most of my pictures have A6, B4 or C1 filters applied to them, but again, you can find your thing and make it yours. Just make sure you go through all the tools and filters for all those possibilities.
PLUS: they have a brilliant community, that shares photographs (and acts as a photographic portfolio?) called VSCO GRID. Excellent place for inspiration.
SIX: DO YOUR THING!
You can choose to follow these advices, half of them, quarter of them or none, really. It’s completely up to you. That’s the best thing about taking pictures or art in general, it truly is your choice, your style, your moment.
I wish you the very best in finding yourself through taking excellent pictures.
LINKS YOU CAN USE TO PROFESSIONALLY-ISH UNDERSTAND HOW PHOTOGRAPHY WORKS, DIYs, TIPS, HACKS etc:
- The Art of Photography — Excellent videos for just about everything you may ever need to know about photography, cameras (digital + analog)
- 9 tips for better smartphone pictures (video)— one of the most helpful (short) videos. (Thank you, Mohammed)
- Taking Pictures On a Smartphone (video)— I liked this video because it addressed smartphone photography from a more tech-y angle and how to take good pictures with both android and iOS devices.
- Phone Photography Tricks (video)— Excellent easy tricks
- Best smartphone photography apps (video)
- 5 Photo Essay Tips — Simple tips to get rad photo essays
- 7 Fundamental Photojournalism Tips — More tips. Just mush all the knowledge you can get from these and come up with your own style.
- Taking Better Pictures With Your Android Phone
- Taking Better Pictures with your Smartphone — Very good
- Smartphone Camera Hacks (video)— Excellent easy/cheap hacks
- CoOperative of Photography (videos) — VERY COOL (Thank you, Mohammad)