Ask A Connecticut Expert: How To Take Better Pictures With Your Phone

May 18, 2015 8:00 AM

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The best camera to have is the one you have with you, ready to capture the shot at a moment’s notice. Let’s face it, today’s mobile phone cameras have captured our attention with what they can deliver, especially when compared to phone cameras from even a few years ago. While Canon and Nikon still dominate award winning photography contests, such as the World Press Photo contest, Apple and Samsung phones together account for the most used cameras for images posted on Flickr in 2014, over traditional cameras. The technical advancements, like 8-MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture, and image stabilization, combined with a bevy of photo finishing apps, have put dazzling photos within reach of the common smartphone-bearing person. Here are a few tips from Seshu (“say-shoe”), an Avon, Connecticut-based photographer:

seshusq3 Ask A Connecticut Expert: How To Take Better Pictures With Your Phone
Seshu

Seshu Photography
108 Scoville Rd.
Avon, CT 06001
(860) 593-0850
www.seshuphotography.com

Seshu is a casual lifestyle photographer capturing families, children, and events in and around Avon, Connecticut. He is passionate about using photography to help his clients “celebrate the deep connections they have with each other in a relaxed manner” and showing the individuality of children in a powerful way. Seshu also owns ConnecticutHeadshots, focused on business executive portraits and corporate events, and is an avid social media participant, often posting images taken from his iPhone.

seshusq7 Ask A Connecticut Expert: How To Take Better Pictures With Your Phone

Winning Compositions

“Whether you are using a phone camera for an Instagram (think square photographs) or not, you still need to consider how you are composing or framing your subjects. Here’s my suggestion – split your screen into thirds and place your subject not smack dab in the middle, but on one of those intersecting points a third into the frame. These will help you create more dynamic and interesting photographs.”

seshusq1 Ask A Connecticut Expert: How To Take Better Pictures With Your Phone

Getting Exposure Right

“Light and shadows are the basis of photography. The word photography literally means “writing with light.” So, getting your exposure right is key. An over-exposure means you have allowed too much light and an underexposure is just the opposite, your image is likely to be dark and murky. From my experience, my iPhone behaves well on a beautiful sunny day or even a slightly cloudy day. But, when it is dark and I am trying to make images indoors, I tend to see a lot of digital noise. That’s partly due to the sensor that is trying to do its best to keep up. If you want to get your exposure right, evaluate the scene first. Understand that there are times in the day when you may not be able to photograph an event or your favorite person because it is either way too bright or way too dark. Remember, your own eyes and brain compensates for variations in light all the time. A camera sensor, especially one in current camera phones, cannot compete with that.”

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Sense Of Timing

“Timing trips people up. We are so excited by the moment that we forget to slow things down a bit and just wait for the moment to come to us. We are often in a rush to simply take a picture while we could be creating a photograph. There is a subtle difference. Here is what I recommend – start up your camera phone and then watch for “peak” moments evolving in front of you. It might be a gesture, an expression, a simple detail that you suddenly become aware of – whatever it is may not be occurring the second you want to make that image. It may take a few more seconds or even minutes. To put things into perspective, some National Geographic photographers wait weeks to make one image. If you are dedicated to making amazing images, I suggest you get your sense of timing right. There will be a lot of misses, but that’s part of the process in learning and refining your sense of timing.

Related: Top Photography Classes In Connecticut

Using Apps To Enhance Your Images

“Most photographs you see today online or in print have been enhanced. It is so tempting to take a picture and share it right away with your audience. But imagine what their expressions would be like if you spent a little time finessing that image to make it look its very best? I do recommend you use an application to improve your photographs. Here are the apps I use: PicTapGo, Camera+Pro, Mextures, VSCOcam and Snapseed. Curiously, I don’t use the filters in the Instagram app. I only use that application to publish my photographs.”

edpic3 Ask A Connecticut Expert: How To Take Better Pictures With Your Phone

Sharing Images & Learning From Your Peers

“Instagram is the first place that comes to mind when you think of sharing your photographs, right? But there are other options. I post images to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr. In fact, I have a dedicated website for my square images, picseshu.com. Ask yourself first where your audience is most likely to view images and then ‘own’ that platform.”

Related: Top Spots To Take Family Photos In Connecticut

Edward Main is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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