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Posted: 19 Nov 2013 06:00 AM PST
I encourage lensmasters to use lots of photos when making lenses, but sometimes the best images are the ones we capture ourselves.
Many readers will be familiar with the impressive cameras present in many smartphones today but to get the best results, it’s a good idea to get a little bit of information beforehand. I’ve compiled 5 simple tips to help you get the best results when taking your own photos, whether you use a smartphone or a digital camera.
1. Adjust for high resolution
As a general rule, the better the file quality, the better your photos will look. Adjust your phone’s settings to take the largest resolution image possible. You may want to clear out some storage space beforehand so that you don’t run out of room while you’re snapping. If you shoot very large files, take advantage of the high resolution and crop out anything unnecessary when you edit.
2. Get your lighting right
The best lighting is generally a combination of indirect natural and artificial lighting when shooting indoors. For outdoors, you may like early morning light on overcast days and late afternoon light. Try to shoot during the first and last hour of natural sunlight – what photographers refer to as the “Golden Hour” for a beautiful look with warm color and deep, saturated shadows.
If you’re shooting indoors, try various combinations and proportions of natural and artificial light. Some things you can try include angling window blinds up or down, removing shades from lamps and different light levels at different times of the day and different weather conditions.
Avoid harsh shadows cast by overly bright direct light and remember that placing your light sources behind your subject will cause blowout and may compromise the visual legibility of the subject.
3. Consider the backdrop
When you’re shooting indoors, the backdrop matters. Bedsheets make great improvised backdrops provided they’re free of wrinkles. Rolls of white paper work the best. Don’t be afraid to try other colors and patterns other than white, depending on the colors in whatever you’re photographing. Using a consistent backdrop will give a professional look to your photos but feel free to mix it up.
4. Use depth of field to your advantage
Get close to your subject and set the focus (usually by tapping on the screen) so that the background blurs. You can use what’s known as a “shallow” depth of field, where only the closest objects are in focus to highlight your subject. You can also simulate this effect with careful use of blur in post-production.
5. Edit sparingly
You may want to give your photos a quick edit – whether you’re using Adobe Photoshop or one of the many free online photo editors out there like Ribbit, Pixlr or Picasa. Feel free to be creative but don’t go overboard – strive for a balance between aesthetic appeal and true-to-life purity. Consistency is also important, you should try to edit photos that will be used together in a similar fashion.
I hope you can use these tips to improve the photos you take and I look forward to seeing your work on lenses new and old! If you have photography tips for smartphone users, please share them in the comments below!
Posted: 19 Nov 2013 05:23 AM PST
Posted: 19 Nov 2013 05:21 AM PST
Posted: 18 Nov 2013 10:42 AM PST
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