We have instant photographs!
Most of us now have a smartphone or a compact digital camera that allows us to snap away and see the results instantly; in fact we have so many photographs we might not know what to do with them. But do you remember the days of 35mm photography? It was not so long ago but the advances in technology over a relatively short space of time have changed completely how we see, take and store our images. In this article I am going to focus on the smartphone.
If you are like me you may have a few boxes filled with those photo envelopes with your photographs and negatives still in place, pulled out from time to time to have a look and a laugh, and fond memories, or perhaps you were more organised and have sorted your favorites into albums, but you still had to take your film to get it processed and depending where your local photo processing shop was, and your wait could be from a week to a day. And then the whole process was turned on its head with one-hour processing – wow, how good was that!! Don’t forget Edwin Land and the Polaroid camera, but still you had to wait for up to a minute before the image magically appeared before your eyes, but it was fantastic nonetheless, and all of these processes came at a cost. So being careful of how many photographs were taken and perhaps a little more care in the composition gave a better quality of photograph.
I now have on my person a small slim electronic gizmo that allows me to make a phone call, with GPS find a location, play games and lots more, plus it takes fantastic photographs. The cameras built into today’s smartphones will allow me to take standard images, close-ups (macro), panorama and lots more and instantly see the results. However, the same rules for taking photographs apply. I need to compose the photograph. I need to check and see what the light is like – and usually I need to move closer to my subject.
Wait for the right light. If you are shooting landscapes then the best times are an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset, usually referred to as the golden hours. The sun is lower in the sky then and it is possible to get some truly great results.
Composition, what you see with your eye, is different to what may appear on your phone screen. Move closer, find something of interest in the foreground of the frame that will give perspective to your shot, experiment with the best angle.
If you’re photographing people, friends, family, then the same guidelines apply about getting closer. In a group photo you may want to include some of the background, but be careful not to lose the group. Taking portraits can be fun finding the right light inside or out and framing the subject as you want them, and don’t forget our animal / insect friends! They can be difficult to get a good portrait because unlike our human subjects you can’t tell them how to pose, although watch out for the unexpected!
Always take more than one shot, lots more – this applies to all the subjects you photograph. You can then select the best and delete the rest. Remember, you have no processing costs!!
What comes first is, you need to learn how to operate this great piece of equipment and check what apps are available that will help you in the creation of taking better photographs. I use a Sony Z3 and the ProCapture 2 Camera app. No matter what smartphone you have there will there will be an enhanced camera app to help you get the best from your camera phone. There is normally a small cost for the better apps, but it is well worth it.