I frequently get asked about my photos, who takes them, and how I edit them. While I do have professional photos mixed into my feed, a lot of the photos I post are taken and edited with my cell phone… and in this article I am excited to share my SIMPLE secrets to leveling up your phone photography so that you can produce better content on your social media pages… or maybe just memories of your adventures!
1. FINDING GOOD LIGHTING
If you can help it, you want to stay out of direct sunlight because direct sunlight often overexposes your photos. Find a spot out of direct sunlight, and shoot your photo so that you are facing the direction the sun is coming from. If you are outside, make sure there are no shadows in your photo… shadows often look tacky and make the photo look less professional.
Don’t let the time of day stop you from capturing your photos… right after sunrise and right before sunset are fantastic times to take photos, but with a little effort, you can find spots with great lighting even in the middle of the day.
Also… take advantage of overcast days! These are often some of the best days for capturing epic photos because you aren’t battling with direct sunlight!
2. FINDING THE RIGHT POSITIONING AND POSING
Have you heard of the rule of thirds? The idea is that you are going to split your screen into a 3×3 grid… You want your face or primary area of focus to land on one of the four intersections.
Let me show you what I mean.
In the photo on the left, my face lands on the upper right intersection of the 3×3 grid. This makes for an appealing photo because our eyes are naturally drawn to the four intersections shown.
The photo on the right is not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye because there is nothing important placed in any of the four intersections of the grid. Our eyes don’t know where to focus.
If you have an iPhone, you can go to settings, camera, and turn your grid on so that it’s visible every time you take a photo! It’s a super handy tool if you’re not very good at estimating where those lines should be.
3. EDITING FROM YOUR PHONE – MAKE YOUR PHOTOS POP!
Download the free app Snapseed… It’s available whether you have an iPhone or Android device! Upload the photo you want to edit.
Step 1: Click on tools, click on details, and turn up or down the structure to your desired liking. I usually turn mine up quite a bit. After that you can click the check mark in the bottom right.
Step 2: Click tools, then tune image. From here you can adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, ambiance, highlights, shadows, and warmth… when I edit my phtoos, I typically turn the brightness, contrast, ambiance, and highlights up every time. I typically make my photos about 2 points warmer every time. The key here is to find the way that you like your photos to look and then edit them the same way every time so that the colors and warmth or coolness is consistent. Click the check mark at the bottom, export, and then save!
Below is a before (left) and after (right) of the image I edited above… not much changed, but I think we can all agree that the photo on the right is a little bit more eye catching!
BONUS TIP: TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS FROM DIFFERENT ANGLES
The more photos you take, the more options you have to choose from. Typically I take at least five different photos from different angles for every pose. Take them from up high, down low, to the left, to the right, tilting your phone in different directions… you get the picture. Once you have captured multiple photos of the same pose, you can sift through and find the angle that is most flattering and eye catching!
Here’s where you get to choose the photos you like best… The top two were keepers for me. The bottom I threw out because I didn’t like the angle or posing!
Hope these tips help you step up your cell phone photography game! If you have any questions or want some extra help, please feel free to reach out to me!
Be sure to find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! @rmwoutdoors
OR join us for an adventure! rockymountainwomenoudoors.com/adventures
Until next time,
Maranda (Owner/Founder Rocky Mountain Women Outdoors)