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Beyond the selfie: learn (proper) mobile photography

Beyond the selfie: learn (proper) mobile photography

Modern smartphones have a host of software tricks to make photos look better, plus cameras in some models that are as good as dedicated digital cameras. Almost everybody has a good quality camera in their pocket at all times now. But, as the saying goes, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The technology takes care of a lot of things, like exposure, colour and effects processing, but it does not (yet) point the camera in the right place and compose a scene for you.

Just because the web is full of poorly-composed photos taken with smartphones, it doesn’t mean you have to copy that by taking equally bad shots yourself. In skilled hands the smartphone can be a powerful tool for photographic creativity. The keyword there is ‘skilled’.

You don’t need a great deal of in-depth study of photography to get the most out of your smartphone for taking pictures. Leave all that to the art school brigade. What you do need is a grounding in the above skills as applied to smartphone photography in particular, and you can get it for $18 from Esther Jacobs, an avid smartphone photographer who has created the course Mobile Photography for Beginners, which doesn’t blind you with jargon and delivers the skills on a need-to-know basis.

Your Instagram and Facebook pages are an important part of your digital identity. They reflect who you are. This is even more the case with business Instagram accounts (other social media are available). Quality photos can lead to boosted popularity and hence revenue. Mastering the fundamentals of smartphone photography can be a good investment to make. Good photos grow your personal and business brands. To get there, you need to move beyond point and shoot and into more creative territory.

A few essentials to improve your smartphone photography include using gridlines, deciding which areas will be in focus, using exposure creatively, how to do black and white, how to photograph in natural versus artificial light, what to do in low light situations, foreground, background, bokeh and leading lines. Post processing skills include cropping for social media channels, filters, and apps like Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom CC.