Here in the United States, the coronavirus is still (ostensibly) keeping people at home, and that means lost gigs and fewer chances to shoot outside. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative at home. If you want to challenge yourself using only your phone (or if that’s all you have), here are a few tips to create some interesting images with minimal tools.
Photographer Jordi Koalitic shares a few images he made with his Xiaomi Redmi Note Pro, and while that’s not the most common phone around, the techniques he uses in his YouTube video can apply to any phone out there. In the video, you’ll see a lot of information about shutter speeds, apertures, and ISOs that were used, and while something like the default iPhone app won’t give you such controls, it’s simple to find an app, such as ProCam, that can add these features to your phone without much fuss. Some of these photos use ultra-wide lenses as well, so if you’re a Google Pixel 3a user, like myself, some of the effects will be harder to recreate since phones like that only have one lens that approximates a standard field of view.
Once you’re past the point of manual control on your phone, Koalitic shares how he used ordinary things that are easy to find — orange peels, sand, ice cream cones, and sprinkles, for example, to create extraordinary images. Some of it involves changing your perspective, such as using glass to get under the sand, while others involve some classic tricks with shutter speed (such as long exposures to create light trails and fast exposures to freeze action). Of course it seems that Koalitic has a few folks around who can serve as models for his photos, and so if you’re quarantining alone, you’ll have to get creative, or perhaps use yourself while your phone is on a self timer. There’s always the option to use a GorillaPod with a phone mount to get some creative angles as well.
Koalitic even recreates a photo a user submitted to him as part of a photo contest, making creative use of an orange peel at the end of the video, again all with only using his cell phone for the image.
Have you come up with any creative photo projects using minimalist gear while staying at home? Share your own phone creations in the comments below.