Imagery is at the heart of storytelling whether through descriptive words painting a scene that leaves an audience hanging on to their seats or an eye grabbing photograph evoking emotion. This is not to say everything people see will leave an impression merely because of imagery or the clever use of filters. Great images tell a meaningful story and stand the test of time, as New Zealand photographer Niki Boon demonstrates in her stunning photo series celebrating contemporary childhood or Kenyan photographer Osbourne Macharia’s photo series illustrating the beauty and diversity of Africa. The shoot was commissioned by mobile network operator Safaricom for its 2016 calendar “This Is My Kenya.” Duckface selfies are a pale comparison to such feats in photography. Regardless, it is possible to take stunning photos on an iPhone with a little inspiration, patience and a good eye for scenery.
While it can take years to master all the different shooting and editing techniques, there are some tricks you can start using today to significantly improve your iPhone photos, which can help enhance the look of your Instagram feed, leading to more engagement and a burgeoning audience.
Keep it simple.
If you want to appeal to users on Instagram, remember Leonardo De Vinci’s timeless adage, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” The main goal of a photo is to showcase an unusual theme. Don’t complicate a photograph with too many details, which can be distracting, making it difficult to create a harmonious composition. It’s a good idea to find an interesting angle from which to shoot and allow the subject to fill the entire frame of the photo. Keep in mind people will be viewing your photos on the small screen of a phone so too much detail can make the image look cluttered and turn off viewers quickly.
Use natural light.
Light is the most important element in photography. It adds power and drama to images. Therefore, you need to develop a keen awareness of the natural light available in your environment to achieve the fullest potential in iPhone photography. You can certainly use the built-in flash on your iPhone, but natural light has the ability to create strong contrasts that accentuate the detail in images far better than artificial light. Don’t be afraid to experiment with natural night such as sunlight streaming from a window, filtering through curtains or gleaming through trees.
Use the camera grid to set-up a shot.
Create symmetrical and/or balanced compositions for maximum impact. Symmetry and balance are two elements you need to create amazing photographs. Visual balance helps an image achieve stability and harmony, which is pleasing to eye. Symmetry is a useful way to put emphasis on a central object that fills the entire visual weight of a photo. The grid setting can help you align the subject of an image for visual balance. This is where the rule of thirds jumps into play. It’s about dividing an image using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. The goal is to position the most important elements of a scene along those lines, or at the points where they intersect. To enable the Grid functionality on your iPhone, go to Settings, tap the Phone & Camera option then turn on the switch for Grid to activate.
Get close to your subject.
You can take detailed photos by forgetting the zoom on the phone and inching closer to the focal point of your scene. A good rule of thumb for macro photography is to leave at least four inches between the lens of your camera and the object. Unless you’re photographing a landscape, shots from a distance have a tendency to come out looking blurry and lacking vigor. A tight shot possesses a palpable and vibrant feel that attracts a viewer’s gaze. This is critical when it comes to engaging with Instagram users.
Keep the camera steady.
Camera shake is one of the biggest enemies of an incredible shot. It can leave the subject of a photograph looking fuzzy or grainy. These are not the kinds of images that will get you noticed on Instagram, at least not in a good way. The best way to combat blurred photos is to keep your iPhone as stable as possible while you take the shot and consider pushing the volume button to shoot in place of the digital shutter button. This trick will help eliminate camera shake.
Take several shots.
If you think snapping once or twice leads instantly to a remarkable image, think again. One shot wonders rarely if ever happen in photography. The first couple of images you take are a good way to test the waters. Adjustments can be made based on the results of the first image. Perhaps you need to steady the camera better, choose a different angle, change the orientation from landscape to portrait or vice versa. Be patient and take about six to eight steady shots then choose the best one to share on social media.
Use photo editing apps.
Before posting that stellar shot on your Instagram feed, give it a boost with an editing app. Don’t just slap on a filter and call it a day. Fine-tune the image with post-processing options built into the Instagram app or found in VSCO, Camera+ or Pixlr. Get familiar with sharpening the details of a photo, reducing shadows, correcting the exposure or saturation, and altering the brightness. Not every image benefits from a filter so use this feature wisely.Now, there is nothing standing in the way of you snapping the perfect Instagram image. Remember the best story starts with quality imagery. Be mindful of what you choose to post on Instagram because it is a reflection of your story and what you are about. To see these iPhone photography hacks in action, follow us on Instagram @cestmodechic.