11 Incredible Photography Tips That Have Nothing to Do with the Camera You Use

11 Incredible Photography Tips That Have Nothing to Do with the Camera You Use

The great team at Artifact Uprising has created a strong list of tips by some of the top mobile photographers on Instagram. Having been engulfed in the mobile photography, or iPhoneography, world for almost two years I have found that in the end the camera you use has nothing to do with the quality of your images you create. Just to clarify, by quality I mean the moment captured and the purpose behind the shot, not the pixel density. These guys truly are proof that the best camera is the one you have with you. 

When talking about mobile photography it's easy to get caught up in the debate of shooting with something that isn't necessarily "pro-level." These tips below are to elaborate on the basics of photography without worrying about gear in mind. With over 2.5 million followers between them, these eleven photographers provide some outstanding tips from personal and professional experience shooting around the world with nothing more than their mobile device. Each speaking on the basics, from using light to editing with mobile apps like VSCO and Snapseed, these photographers break down the process for which they simply create beautiful content rather than worrying about gear. 

1. Identify Your Subject

Alex Strohl

When you are out there taking a photo, take a step back and think about why you are about to capture this image - what is your real subject ? Once you have determined what is making you press the shutter, it instantly becomes easier to show the end viewer what kind of message or emotions you are trying to convey.

2. Pull Back

Lisa Weatherbee

Don't be afraid to leave the room to get your shot. Doorways and windows can make lovely framing devices.

3. Take Advantage of Natural and Manmade Textures

Dan Rubin

Just like light, shadow and color play important roles within a given composition, textures add detail and interact with those other elements. Recognizing when the natural (or manmade) textures are a worthy point of focus will allow you to compose and expose for them, as well as retain or highlight them during your edit.

4. Keep it Fun

Amanda Jones

If I see a shot that I want to try, I generally will set a little toy - my keys or a stuffed animal - in the spot where ideally I'd have her stand. She has fun "discovering" what I've placed for her and I get my shot. It works because it's natural for her, part of her daily life.

5. Use the Elements Nature Provides to Create a Scene

Tim Landis

Observing your surroundings is key. Seeing where the light is coming from and what elements you have. A backlit tree line can produce interesting photos with falling shadows that create good lines and draws the viewer in. Looking for water or even puddles can produce great reflections and tell a wonderful story or even leave the viewers imagination running.

6. Use What's in Your Hand

Brenton Little

You are able to create those pin-worthy beautiful photos straight from your mobile device. No need for the three thousand dollar camera with the thousand-dollar lens when you learn the tricks of the handy phone that sits in your palm. 

7. It's the Little Things

Adrienne Pitts

For me, a lot of the time, it's the emotion in the photograph that really gets me. And that can often be achieved by zeroing in on a detail which means something to you.

8. Focus on Proper Exposure

Bradley Castaneda

Exposure is a critical key to a great photo. For me it's what makes or breaks it. When taking landscape photos pay close attention to your exposure. Make sure the clouds and sky aren't blown-out (overexposed), and that your foreground is still bright enough to where you can make out details. The key here is to strike an equal balance between detail in both.

9. Choose a Winning Wardrobe

Bethany Olsen

Choosing the right wardrobe for mobile photography can be challenging. With time and experience, I have been able to select my favorite wardrobe pieces to photograph with my phone - especially for Instagram. I love to have fabrics with texture or a pattern, but not too busy.

10. Create an Impactful Scale

Zach Reed

When you’re out shooting try to find vantage points and angles that put your subject into perspective and showcase the beauty, atmosphere, and size of the landscapes and spaces you’re capturing. Use the landscape or space to your advantage, place your subject in a way that will reflect the essence of the place you’re capturing.

11. Look for the Dark(er) Side of Light

Carli Rene

Instead of looking directly at the subject you're trying to photograph, be aware of your surroundings, how the light not only hits your subject, but the spaces around them, around you. Are there shadows? Ask yourself "Where does the light fall?", but also sometimes more importantly "Where does the light not fall?" Are your subjects more interesting when they're back lit? By tapping directly on your screen, oftentimes we're able to change the exposure from the background to the foreground, or vice versa. We must be present to the moment, the mood, our intuition, the tiniest details... I've learned the hard way. I've come home to edit photos and seen an amazing shadow that I never took advantage of! We learn we must be fully awake to that moment, not focused on the next shot or others staring at us trying to get the shot or the ding from a message on our phones.

To learn more about each tip from the photographers above be sure to check out the original link below. 

[via Artifact Uprising]

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16 Comments

Can we dial down the hype inflation please. Are these *really* 'incredible' tips?

Hype, self promotion, click bait, hyperbole, sensational headline— whatever you call it (although "hype inflation" is a new term to me)— is nothing new, nor is this a particularly egregious example.

The truth is, it worked. You came here to read these tips (or to bitch about the headline) and that is what it was designed to do— get people here. As someone who is presumably internet savvy and/or a creative professional, I would think you would recognize that and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Do you think all the photos on Instagram comes from a cell phone?

Andrew Griswold's picture

No, I don't think all photos taken on Instagram are with a cell phone but I bet a very large portion of them are. I know many of the shooters on there have built a strong following only using their phones but have recently upgraded and started shooting DSLR full time. Its unreal!

In my op. Instagram should be for mobile photos only, just like trashhand said: if you want to upload your DSLR pictures, that's why there are websites like flickr, tumblr and 500px for that. I totally agree with that, but unfortunately, just a few people now are still "iphone only" on Instagram. I do have a DSLR, but i do upload only iphone pics on my ig (@fdzpat). That's the point of Instagram.

Dan Ostergren's picture

Why on earth should instagram be for iphone photos only and not DSLR? That's like saying Facebook is only for selfies.

the principle of instagram was to share mobile photos. As one iger said: "Instagram is not just about displaying ones work, but more about displaying ones work with the limitations of just using an iPhone. That’s the challenge". Simple as that. Why would you share photos on IG, that were taken with a 5Dmk iii? what's the point it? i don't see it. And your fbook comp is nonsense.

Dan Ostergren's picture

You can say my opinion is nonsense, I don't care. I, and many others, will continue finding innovative ways of using these apps however we see fit and displaying our art however we see fit. Intentionally limiting the possibilities of instagram or any other mobile app is a huge waste in my opinion.

OSVALDO VÁZQUEZ's picture

You forgot the most important tip of them all. Be rich.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

For me it's like trying to enjoy a bad movie on an old tv with one speaker when there is a good one in HD with a Bose system connected.

Jon Clayton's picture

You know, I agree the overuse of hype does get annoying in this type of article. These are actually pretty good bite size tips and worth having a think about, certainly not "incredible", but pretty good none the less.

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and an informative post!! Its true that we can create magic with the camera we use to snap the pictures.
goo.gl/BvFWqL

Limor Garfinkle's picture

Those are awesom tips! I'm def bookmarking this article for future reference. Great article

Dana Goldstein's picture

Identify your subject. I'm gonna like write that on my hand or something. Yeah gotta remember to do that. Wow. Incredible.

Oliver Oettli's picture

Well even though this is basic, its incredible how many people seem to not do this. Very often, way too often I look at photographs and ask myself.... what exactly do you want to show? And if that happens, the picture is usually a waste of data storage.

These are indeed great tips, but I am surprised they said nothing about the rule of thirds. That is something all my teachers said was most important to keep in mind. That and leading room if you have a subject doing something.