Before selfies and social media invaded our lives, there was only the humble little camera at every home, that used to snap happy faces and beautiful happenings. In the current age of Instagram and Snapchat, the definition of photography is somewhat restricted to hashtags and filters. The advent of smartphones has seen the rise of social media photographers who are making a mark by using their devices. “Nowadays, phones do a great job and the advantage of a phone camera is that it is portable and always with you. I use my camera only when I’m travelling or when I have an event to shoot,” says Ruel Rebello, a student and a freelance photographer, who never misses a chance to capture something exceptional through his phone. It’s okay if you don’t have a DSLR; your ‘smart friend’ is all you need. Take inspiration from these simple techniques shared by passionate professional cum mobile photographers and celebrate the shutterbug in you!
A dirty lens means hazy and unclear pictures. Avoid touching your lenses as your fingerprints result in cloudy images. Sharad Yadav, a passionate photographer and Process Engineer at SMT Pvt Ltd – Surat, recommends, “You need to carry a lint-free cloth to clean the lens. Clean the lens before clicking as it gets dirty due to dust and finger contact.” Also keep handy a mini spray bottle of cleansing liquid.
The rules of photography, if followed, liven up the picture. The Rule of Thirds is basically a technique where the photographer mentally divides the picture into two horizontal and vertical lines, like a grid divided into nine parts. This gives more sharp and balanced photos because of good composition and crisp angles. Symmetry and leading lines are other factors which every amateur photographer should learn to click subtle and composed pictures.
Basics are important. Dipti Bhole, who worked as a Commercial Product Photographer for a private firm, suggests, “Light should always be considered before clicking, whether selfies or mobile photography. Expressions in case of portrait photography are important. Street photography should always have a story line. Good framing also helps to make the picture more appealing.”
Focus makes the picture more vivid, making the subject stand out. Most smartphones these days have an amazing focus feature that lets you focus entirely on the subject while blurring out the other aspects of the image. Depth of field is found on Android smartphones, where the user can set the focus on the subject and automatically the background gets blurred. For iPhone users, tap on the yellow square box and set the focus according to your subject.
Zoom features in smartphones don’t match up to the levels of professional cameras, so it is better to drop the idea of zooming or pinching before clicking. Dipti suggests, “Avoid zooming in phone photography as the sharpness and quality decreases.” It is better to walk closer to the subject or click the full image and crop it using an editing app, which will neither blur the picture nor affect the quality.
Lights are the essence of photography. Different lights beam back different effects on the image. Natural day light can give you the bright effect. When it comes to clicking at night or in a dark background, manually adjust the brightness and exposure. Avoid increasing the lights to the extent that your picture appears white washed.
Stay away from filters. Over editing can kill the natural beauty of the picture. “I am not saying filters are a big no-no, but natural is more appealing. Adjusting to exposure/white balance is completely fine. However, heavy editing spoils a picture,” says Dipti. Sharad asserts, “Not using filters gives you the raw feeling of the frame which is unadulterated.”
Twenty-one-year-old photographer, Ruel says, “Sometimes, you just get lucky and get the perfect shot. Sometimes, you wait for the perfect moment for minutes, for hours. It is a lot of hard work; not easy at all.” Don’t rush for the perfect shot; the perfect shot comes to those who can wait.
Learn and grow
A true blue photographer is open to learning every new aspect of photography and not necessarily in a class. The feeling of learning must drive you to explore the diversity of photography. Sharad says, “In my free time I read articles related to photographers or see their work which is sometimes very helpful and inspiring”. Adds Ruel, “These days, most of the things to learn are available through videos online like the ones you find on YouTube. It is a great way to learn.”