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How To Master Mobile Photography And Impress Everyone On Instagram

Photo courtesy of Gabriela Pinto via Flickr, modified by Curiousmatic. 

Apply these techniques to your smartphone camera, and your pictures on Instagram and otherwise can be as nearly as good as the pros.

Your phone camera roll need not be limited to cat photos and “selfies;” with any camera there comes limitless opportunity to be creative, and your phone is no exception.

The same principles that apply to advanced digital (and film) photography can be used to create delightful and artistic images on the go, without the hassle of tricky manual functions and hefty zoom lenses.

With these simple tips, your phone can become an extension of your left brain, allowing you to produce fine art on the fly – and maybe even get you some extra likes and followers on Instagram.

Composition

Composition is one main component that assures a photograph will be appealing to the eye. Before simply snapping a shot, taking several seconds to frame your subject can make all the difference. A couple of fun tips on composition:

  • Rule of thirds: Centering subjects can cause photos to lack versatility and excitement. Try placing the focus point as if the photo were divided into thirds, utilizing the first or third, rather than the mid-point.
    Rule-of-thirds
    Gif via Wikimedia Commons

  • Repetition: Finding patterns in your subject, or complimentary shapes, can add intrigue to your photography. Identifying and shooting repetitive shapes allows the eye to move about easily, and gives the photo an engaging structure.

  • Positive and Negative Space: A photo can become messy if there is too much noise. Empty, or negative space has a shape, too, and paying attention to the ways positive and negative shapes interact can change a photo entirely!

Perspective

perspectivePhoto via Wikimedia Commons

A shift in perspective can render any photo eye-catching, fresh, and unique. Rather than snapping your shot from eye-level, try leveling with your subject, angling your shot, or choosing a low or high vantage point.

Get up high, get down low, over, under, behind, and any other preposition that strikes your fancy. An outrageous point of view lets you and others glimpse your subject in whichever light you choose, however strange it may be. In fact, the stranger the better.

Color & Light

Keep your eyes open to complimentary colors, so that you can use them to the fullest to make mobile shots pop.

There are certainly rules about what colors clash and which match (on the color wheel below, colors directly across from each other are complimentary), but use your instincts — in most cases, you will intuitively know what works and what doesn’t just by paying attention.
colorwheel2
Color wheel via Leopard Print on Flickr. 

Likewise, being aware of the role of light in terms of adjusting brightness and contrast can make or break an image. Like natural light? Use it. Like flash? Use it, but be careful not to wash out your image.

Know Your Apps

Lastly, smart phones allow you a perk that digital cameras usually do not – the ability to edit and share from your mobile device!

There are many apps to choose from that will help you edit, crop, and share your shots: besides Instagram, there is Snapseed, Pixlr Express, VSCO cam, Triggertrap and more – all which allow for more advanced features and filters for creative editing.

Knowing which apps to use, and how to use them to better the overall quality and visual experience of your photos, is key in mobile photography. Plus, you can share your work at the click of a button or touch screen, so others can admire your skills.

Next time you take a picture, try one or two of these bits of advice to add some spice to your work, and share with us @curiousmatic, #curiouscamera. 

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