What was your first phone?

Mine was a pre-paid Nokia I got in high school with the coolest thing being Snake. I had to be careful of how long I talked on it and the number of text messages I sent AND received because my mom only put a certain amount per month.

Yeah, they used to charge for you to receive text messages--10 cents I believe.

A shock to no one, taking a photo with your phone wasn’t an option. You did have the digital camera though (or maybe film for some *ahem*).

Today, we have the pleasure of having the best kind of cameras on our phones that money can buy, and taking photos is literally at our fingertips.

And if you’re wondering if the iPhone will replace a trained photographer? No, it will not.

However, we all like to play one from time to time, and if you’re going to do so, take some tips from a photographer.

One: Clean your lens

Think about all the places our phones have been: in our pockets, bags, purses, on tables, in between couches, the floor. When we’re ready to take a photo we don’t think much, just pick up and shoot.

If you’ve noticed photos aren’t coming out clear even though you have an iPhone 8, maybe this is a good time for you to make sure you’ve wiped off your phone. I use the cloth that I have for my glasses, but a t-shirt is fine. Just...clean your lens.

Two: Follow the lines of symmetry

A grid is automatically set on your camera phone. Make sure the item you want to shoot, no matter the angle you’re shooting, make sure the object is set straight. Take the extra 10 seconds for you to set things correctly to get the clear shot you want.

Three: Play with angles

This is where you get creative. Depending on the object, especially food, shooting above is a better shot than below. Some objects are better shot below than above. Play around with it until you find a shot you like.

Four: Shoot in natural light and turn off the flash

Natural light is your best friend, even if it’s cloudy outside. You want clean results, so leave off the flash to prevent harshness. Shooting during sunrise or just before sunset has ideal lighting, so if you’re shooting content with your phone, block out time to plan accordingly.

Five: Keep it simple.

One object, one simple background. You can buy white cardboard at any store and use it for your background. Once you improve your skills, you can get more complex and play around.

Six: Play with depth-to-field

iPhones 8 onward has a portrait mode that creates a more blurred background, really focusing on your subject (much like the aperture feature on your camera). Focus your phone on the object, make sure you’re within enough feet of the subject, and shoot. Bonus, you can also use the focus feature on Instagram to do the same thing if your phone doesn’t have this!

Seven: Make friends with a Tripod (or Become One)

Tripods are a lifesaver and they’re super inexpensive. You can easily find one for as little as $5 that will fit your camera. If you’re without a tripod, become one by bringing your arms in and tightening them as if you’re flexing those guns. This a trick I use to keep steady when I shoot. Don’t believe me? Try shooting with your arms out and “loose” and realize how less steady you are. See?

Bonus Tip Editing Photos

If you love the shot but find it to be over or underexposed, play with the phone’s settings to get the exposure settings you want. For iPhones, select light and move the dial accordingly.

(Pssst, my tips on shooting manual will help you understand terms like, “exposure” levels that you can apply here).

If you don’t feel as if you’re not getting the hang of it, practice makes perfect. Try shooting every day for practice until you get the hang of it. You got this!

Got any more questions? Let me know below! Also, tell me what your first cell phone was and hold you were when you got it!

Love and elephants,