Phone Photography Tips & Tricks

Have you ever looked at something, went somewhere, or witnessed a moment and thought to yourself, "This is going to be a perfect photo moment?" With social media platforms like Instagram and well…Instagram, the way we look at our lives is constantly changing. We're evolving into people that see in photos. I've been a photographer for just four years now, and during that time I have learned so much about taking great photos on my DSLR. The thing about having a DSLR is you're not trying to take it EVERYWHERE, all of the time. This is why mobile photography, or "iPhoneography" is so important. We get to capture the moments happening right in front of us in an easy and practical way. Now, things like sucky lighting, yellow rooms, super bright photos, and unfortunate extra objects in our photos sometimes KILL the shot. However I have practiced, and perhaps even perfected, my own mobile photography style and I've come up with some tips and apps that have helped me. (My feed below)

@thugnanny_
@thugnanny_

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SETUP

  1. FOAM BOARD: Up until last night, I had a beautiful high gloss white desk from IKEA. Even still, that surface was the worst to take photos on. I still wanted a nice clean background. If you're into the solid color surface like I am, I would recommend you head over to your local Staples or Office Max and buy a thick, white (or your choice of color) foam board. What I love about foam boards is that they do not get dirty as quickly as a poster board would. You can also wipe it clean, but you should still be careful and store it in a safe place. Check out some examples below.
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_

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  1. TILE / CONTACT PAPER: Marble is the new thing, and so are patterned tiles. I for one cannot afford to transform my apartment into marble heaven (a girl can dream though). I purchased the tiles you see below at my local home depot. When I photograph things like jewelry, note pads, coffee, etc., I use the tiles for a cleaner and more sophisticated look. If you'd like a large wood, marble, or patterned surface, I also recommend you try some contact paper. You can buy the foam board mentioned above and cover it in the contact paper of your choice. This way, you totally pull off the "I have a kitchen covered in marble look" for less than 10 bucks. HOORAY! This is also great for small product photography. Check out some images below!
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_

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PHOTO TAKING

  1. WINDOW LIGHT: Sometimes you'll see a photo so well lit that you think, "Okay, so they definitely took this photo with studio lighting or something." Here's a secret: most of the time it's window lighting. Your whole set up should be right next to the nearest window. Golden hour exists outside of professional photography. I take most of my iPhone product photos between 12:00 pm and 1:00pm. The sun is at it's highest and I get GORGEOUS light coming in. Here are some window-lit shots:
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
  1. GRID: If you're having trouble with crooked photos and crazy angles, try turning on the camera grid for your phone. Settings> Photos & Camera > Grid ON. This totally helps with making sure you've got a straight photo, which might not seem like a big deal, but sometimes proper symmetry and straight angles really make a photo.
IMG_3047
IMG_3047

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PHOTO EDITING

  1. VSCOCAM: This app is EVERYTHING. Just search through the #VSCOCAM hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. You'll find lots of incredible photos, and most of them, if not all, are taken on a phone. My go to's for Instagram are the presets A's and S's. If I'm feeling extra colorful I really LOVE the C's. The great thing about VSCO is that it is the best for doing EVERYTHING you need to do to a photo. If the picture is perfect but it's too yellow, you can cool it down or vice versa. If it's a little dark you can brighten it, and if it's too bright you can bring down the exposure right in the app. The app is initially free, however there are TONS of filters that you can purchase. I would recommend you start with the S's and the A's. Check out a few before and afters below along with their editing recipe.
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_

A6 PRESET > Clarity +1 > Exposure +4 > Temperature -1

Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_

A6 PRESET > Exposure +1 > Clarity +1 > Temperature -2

  1. PHOTO ERASER: You've got this incredible white surface or a super clean room but there's this stupid dot in your photo and you hate it. FEAR NOT, Photo Eraser is here to save the day! You can use the brush to remove imperfections from your photo. It's a life saver! The app is $1.99, but it'll be the best two bucks you've ever spent. Check out this before and after below.
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_
Photo by @thugnanny_

A6 PRESET > Temperature -5 > Transferred to Photo Eraser app to erase the upper right hand corner

  1. SECRET BUT NOT-SO-SECRET IPHONE GEM: When you're taking a photo and the focus square comes up, a little sun also comes up next to the square. If you drag the sun up, it will brighten your photo. If you drag the sun down, it will darken your photo. THIS STEP IS A GAME CHANGER. You can manipulate the light right in your photo without having to use any app. The more spot on you get the initial photo, the easier it is to edit the photo. See below:
Photo by iphonephotographyschool.com
Photo by iphonephotographyschool.com

INSPIRATION

  1. Follow people who are inspiring and have fantastic photos. Check out some of my favorite Instagrammers below.
billycress-
billycress-
heartedgirl_-
heartedgirl_-
butmomma-
butmomma-
jengotch-
jengotch-

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I hope these tips and tricks are as helpful to you Lady Hustlers as they are to me. Next time you're out and about, be sure to capture some amazing shots with your phone and tag us using #LADYHUSTLETIPS to show off your beautiful work.