Cell phones and digital cameras have made photographers out of everyone. Technology has certainly taken most of the learning curve out of the craft. It used to be that you had to learn things like shutter speeds and aperture settings, exposure and reciprocity. Now all you have to do is point and shoot and the camera does the rest. That doesn’t mean that all photographers are created equal. A good photographer can take a fantastic photo with a cell phone or an oatmeal box pinhole camera. The vast majority of those taking pictures are by no means photographers. Most people take crappy photos. Trust me. I’ve studied this for over 30 years. This does not mean that all is lost. With a little instruction and some trial and error anyone can learn to take a great shot.
Let’s say you have a company, or that you represent a group that has a social media presence. If you are social media savvy at all, by now you have realized that anything you post on Facebook with a photo is going to generate more interest than a post without a photo. The same goes if you post something with a really good photo – you will get even more looks, likes and shares than if you used a bad photo. In this blog we will give you a few tips that will allow you to get really great shots and that will mean that more people will look at your posts.
Let’s start with the distance between you and your subject. Most people want to keep their distance from their subjects. It is almost as if they want to stand in the background and not be seen. That doesn’t work very well. Don’t be afraid. Be bold. Get right up there, fill your frame with your subject or subjects, and take a photo that doesn’t show the ceiling, the floor and all the rest of what is in the room that has nothing to do with your photo. Sure you can crop afterward, but that means you are enlarging a small part of the photo. This translates into a soft or noisy image. Stop thinking of your phone’s zoom feature as a tool to use while taking the photo. Whenever possible, walk up to your subject and fill the frame of your camera. This one tip will change your life forever.
Next, decide if the shot should be vertical (up and down) or horizontal (side to side). I like to shoot a vertical if I am shooting one or two people and I want to fill the frame with them. Verticals are great for waist up, knees up or full length. Groups of three or more usually cause me to shoot horizontal. What you are trying to do here is fill your frame with only what you want to see. That doesn’t mean that you always have to follow this suggestion. Sometimes I like to shoot one person horizontally from the chest up, place them to one side, and allow the other side to fill the space. This is good if you want to show the subject’s surrounding area.
Just a couple more things and you will be well on your way. Hold your camera – phone level at all times when photographing people. Aiming up will make them look tall and aiming down will make them look short. Shoot straight ahead. Chest level is usually a good spot from which to shoot. One last thing. If the exposure on your phone is too dark or too light, try touching the part of the picture that you are concerned about. By doing this your camera will change the exposure automatically. You can also tweak your final photos with the editing software that comes with your phone.