As a photographer, the question I get asked the most is “which camera should I buy?” and while the variety of options on the market from compact to dslr to mirrorless and so on may feel overwhelming the truth is that for most of my daily shooting practice, my personal practice, it is my iPhone that gets the biggest workout- it is convenient, it is always with me (more so for taking photos than taking calls ;) ) and the quality is quite astounding when you think about it.
Perhaps rather than getting a fancy schmanancy big girl camera, or even a little point and shoot for your handbag, take a moment to really get to know and learn how to use the camera you probably have with you all the time…
1. Touch Screen
Many people don’t realise that the camera works as a touch screen so you can adjust things there right on the screen.
Exposure- by touching various places on the screen you can adjust which area of the image that the camera is calculating the exposure. This is really important if you are shooting a scene with a great dynamic range, for e.g., a dark area against a bright sky, the bright sky will mean that the dark area is too dark but by touching that area you are telling the camera to expose for here.
Focus- next touching the screen a little longer tells the camera where to focus. Use this to select which part of the image you wish to be the sharpest
Focus Lock- by holding the screen for a bit longer you can actually lock that focal point to stop the camera from refocusing, allowing you to control where the focus is.
Pause- And keep in mind that the camera doesn’t actually take your image until you take your finger off- take a moment to centre yourself, breath and connect with what you are doing.
Light light light, light is the magic of photography- look for the light, and look for how it dances with the shadows. Experiment, try different things, different types of natural light, shooting into it, shooting with it behind you, twilight, the golden hour, a sunny day, an overcast day, dappled light at the park, the open shade of a forest, light streaming in the window, city lights on a rain wet evening- the light is where the magic is. (and turn that flash off)
Simple composition can take your image to the next level. All the normal
Just like film and digital photography, taking the image is only one step in the process, how you express yourself in the processing of the image is where you get to let your true voice sing. Ask yourself- does this image express what I felt in this moment? What am I trying to convey here? What is its essence? Then use processing to help your image be a reflection of that- we see with more than just our eyes.
What are your favourite apps? please share in the comments.
For me expression is the most important part, over subject matter, technique and quality- find your voice.
Think of your iPhone not just as a convenient device to capture a few memories but as an artist’s tool to allow you to express your soul- what would that look like for you? Use it for fine art photography, abstract, impressionistic photography, conceptual photography, whatever intrigues you, play with it, its literally at your finger tips.
Oh my so many apps so little time- and so many of them are free. Download a few and play. Over the years I have downloaded more photo apps than I can count- granted not many of them were keepers, but the ones that I have kept are brilliant, and what a way to kill a few minutes sitting in the car waiting to pick up the children or waiting for a Drs appointment and so on. Play, mix them up, use multiple combinations, play some more, find what you love.
Here are a few of my must haves (but play, find the ones that work to express your visions):
Did you realise you could get equipment for your iPhone- lens adapters, cases, tripods and other fun things.
9. Select / Edit / Back up
Digital allows us to take a variety of photos so do- try different angles, different compositions, different lighting, different apps and so on and then pick your one favourite- you don’t need 20 photos of the same thing, you just need that one strong image that speaks to what you are wanting to express about that moment. Selecting the best, the strongest image from a series is an important part of the process- don't be afraid to take a variety of images and then delete 80% of them. And don’t forget to back your photos up (imagine losing all those precious memories if you lost your phone).
Shoot shoot shoot, and stay open to what happens- magic is rarely planned, but it does require presence, and eyes of glittering wonder.
11. Get them off your phone
So often now we forget to take our photos off our phones and do something with them- perhaps it is because we now have so many (see the importance of editing). Use them, let them give you daily tangible pleasure.
Here’s a few ideas-
Instagram- share, be inspired, be encouraged and learn.
Prints- frame your favs and put the on your wall
Journal & mixed media (I l♡ve encaustics)
12. And above all- Play, Experiment & Think outside the square
If you would like to explore some of these concepts further, such as composition, processing, light and other photographic techniques, not to mention all the creative expression from our guest contributors as well as a plethora of inspiration join us for Camera Craft beginning on 27th of June.