Your Camera Takes Really Great Photos…

…chances are good that yours does too.

As a photographer, I hear this a lot. I’m not really offended by it anymore because … ignorance is bliss. If you cook a great meal for me, I promise not to say, “This is delicious! You must have some really great pots and pans.” If you write a great story, I promise not to say, “This is fantastic! You must have a really awesome pen.” And if you paint an amazing painting, I promise not to say, “AH-MAZING! You must have some very expensive paint brushes!”

The truth is, if you are any kind of artist whether it be a chef, a recording artist, a painter, an author, etc., there is a purpose and an advantage for investing in more expensive and higher quality tools but those tools will not inherently provide you with the basic knowledge or foundations of your craft. They might provide a better sound or more control over your work or a cleaner finish but you’ll need to understand the basics of your art to really understand how to leverage that more expensive or higher-quality tool.

The best camera is the one you have with you. Most people have a camera with them most of the time; whether its a point-and-shoot camera, a DSLR camera, or a camera that also doubles as a phone and an internet device. Regardless of which one you carry with you most often, if you don’t use it, it’s worthless. If you are telling yourself that you can’t take photos without a pro-body camera, then you are missing out on a lot of great moments.

When thinking about the technical aspects of photography, its really about three or four things: The subject, the light, the composition, the focus. When thinking about the artistic aspects of photography, its really about “interesting.” is the subject matter and the environment interesting. If you can understand and manage these things, you can shoot on any camera…even a Holga. šŸ™‚

I love my iPhone 4s. One of the things I love most about it…the camera. The second thing(s) I love most about it…the amazing camera apps. My favorite camera app is “Camera Plus (+).” I also like Instagram, but its a distant second in my opinion. What I love about Camera + is the flexibility that provides a little more control over the shot than the standard iPhone 4s. Camera + gives me a grid, a way to choose my focus point and a way to adjust for lighting conditions.

Why is all of that important for a novice? The grid allows me to see if I am using “The rule of thirds.” Composition is the first part and easiest part for making sure your photo is “interesting.” Having the ability to choose my focus point increases my odds of the subject being in focus and not some other object in the background. Being able to adjust for the lighting on the screen is very important. Have you ever taken a photo outside in daylight but the person’s face was nothing but a shadow because the surrounding was very bright? Camera + has given me a way to solve that problem. There are some other controls as well, but those three are the ones I use every time.

The icing on the cake for Camera + is the post-processing plugins. They are off the charts! Once you get comfortable with the processing, you’ll find more amazing possibilities when you can process the same photo more than once in the app.

Here are some examples of photos I have taken on my iPhone 4s.

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Tips for shooting well with a point and shoot or camera phone:

1. Don’t shoot a person when they are looking into the sun. Turn the flash ON and put the sun at their back.

2. Turn the flash OFF when you are inside, unless you really need it. Using a flash inside often makes terrible shadows and make people look washed out.

3. Change your perspectives when evaluating the subject. Get closer. Get lower. Shoot at an angle instead of straight on.

4. Use a software program to adjust the photo. Use a photo app on a smart phone. Use iPhoto. Adjust the contrast, the sharpness and the saturation. You’ll be amazed.

Come back and let me know how you’re doing!


One comment on “Your Camera Takes Really Great Photos…

  1. Pingback: Overcoming our excuses: a post about cameras, cooking and creativity | The Joshua Collective

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This entry was posted on February 11, 2012 by in Opinion and tagged , , , , .
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