I'll start this post by apologizing, which I will do quite often in this post: I am not an accomplished photographer. I don't have a DSLR. I use a point and shoot that's good with my active boys (Sony Cybershot if you're interested) and I use my iPhone 4. That's it.
Last January, though, I made a layout with a shot I took from my phone, which seemed to strike a chord with many people:
The comment I got the most on this page said, "You took this on your phone?" After that, I've spent a lot of time figuring out how I can take shots on my phone so they'll look good--not DSLR good, but nice. Aside from the obvious, which is don't move the camera/phone (I'm still working on that, LOL!), here's a few tips, starting with the one I learned after doing the page above:
1. Offset the subject
I think the thing that's most appealing about the lake shot is that the subject is not in the center; the rest is the open space. You know they are going into that open space, which makes the shot more appealing. Try not centering your photos, especially if they involve activity. Let the open space suggest the possibility that is to come...
2. Get really close
(Here's where I need to beg your forgiveness ahead of time: I garden and take a LOT of photos of my flowers. Several coming up will be just that. Again, apologies.)
Recently I took some photos of my flowers. I took one and was dissatisfied:
3. Try a different angle
I can't explain this one well, but if you happen to be taking photos of something you can experiment with (i.e. NOT moving boys), try shifting the angle slightly at which you hold the phone/camera. I did that with my irises, which (sadly) just started to bloom, very very late.
4. Juxtapose images
This one I learned from my mother-in-law, who took photography classes from Ansel Adams. No lie. When she took pictures in my garden, she rarely took photos of one flower alone. She always included something contrasting nearby. Recently, I tried to do this with some shade plants in my garden:
5. Look for lines
This is a tried and true technique, but train you eye to look for lines that will draw attention to your subject. I especially like angled lines like these two photos:
This is an ordinary photo I took recently of my son. I caught him looking at books for himself at a recent trip to the bookstore, and I took a photo of him showing me the newest origami Star Wars book he found. I loved how the shelves sort of angled towards him. A natural attention getter!
An even more natural attention getter happened last summer when we vacationed at Acadia National Park in Maine. These mountains are called the Bubbles. I LOVE how the lines from the trees and the water trail back to them. This photo is the wallpaper on my phone.
Thank you for sharing this Saturday with me! I hope that it gave you some ideas about using your ordinary cameras and phones to take some special photos. You don't need a camera--at least, not until youget serious. You mostly need an eye, and boys that don't move constantly.