How to Take Better Photos on Your Phone

Dear friend,

First of all, realize the phone is a “real” camera. Ignore anyone who tells you otherwise.

1. Simple background

The best way to make better photos on your phone: shoot your subjects against a simple background.

For example, if you’re making a portrait of your friend, first find a simple all black or all white wall. Then have them pose against the simple wall. Make sure you don’t chop off their hands, head, or limbs. Start off including their full body.

Then, photograph your subjects face. Just their face, against the simple background. Have them open their lips a bit. Then if you want a good expression which is natural, tell them a stupid joke. Catch them laughing.

Another way to make stronger photos: capture hand gestures. Hand gestures show more emotion, feeling, and the mental state of your subject. Capture your subjects “lost in thought”.

Another assignment: have a simple coffee cup, and photograph it against a simple wooden table. Shoot it from high up, looking down. Experiment with your angles. The secret: make the edges of the frame as simple and clean as possible. No objects sticking out of the edges.

2. The small thumbnail test

If your photos look good as small thumbnails, it means your photo is good.

So when you scroll through your photos, don’t look at your photos full screen. Rather, browse through your photos as small thumbnails, to better determine whether your composition, framing, colors and light are appealing.

3. Download VSCO

VSCO is the only photo app you need to process your photos, to add nice filters that will make your photos look more aesthetically pleasing. For color I like the A3 or A6 preset.

And no, using filters is not “cheating”. Using a filter is like adding salt, pepper, or garlic to your food. Adding some spices increases the flavor of your food. Too much spoils your food.

Therefore avoid adding too many filters to your photos.

Assignment: find one filter you like, and stick with it for a year. This will give your photos consistency. And will help you develop a visual style.

Keep learning how to take Better Photos on your Phone

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