How to be a Mobile Photographer.
After asking my Instagram followers to vote on a topic between favorite editing apps vs internships, the popular vote at the time was to learn about finding internships (you can read about Landing the Perfect Internship here).
However, I didn't want to leave the other half of my followers empty handed so I've decided to not only write about my favorite editing apps, but I wanted to expand on the topic and talk about all thing mobile photography. So, lets jump right in!
I mostly use these apps for the photos I've taken on my phone. I use Lightroom to edit the photos I take with my DSLR. Also, I don't search the app store for new photo editing apps as often as one might think a photographer does (so I don't promise to impress you with my app knowledge). I simply want to share what my photo editing app collection consists of and what I use each app for.
VSCO: I love the filters vsco offers. I use this one consistently because when you use the same filters continuously, it helps keep your feed aesthetically similar and cohesive. I don't exactly know how to explain the filters in vsco but I do know that I really love them. One of my favorite parts is that you can lower the intensity of each one of vsco's filters. A lot of the time, I will like the color and feel of a preset but it's a little too much filter for me, so being able to manually adjust this is a really nice feature. There's actually a lot of in depth editing taking place in this app but you can't really tell because it's just that easy to use. If you haven't, you should follow VSCO on Instagram because they have a great feed.
Snapseed: I use this app for more advanced mobile editing. I mainly use it for photos that need more than just a filter. I usually use it to brighten dark photos that other apps can't really fix. A couple of other features I use a lot on Snapseed are the details and selective tool. The details tools helps sharpen and clarify an image. The selective tool helps me pinpoint an area in my image that needs more help than the rest of the image. Usually this is to brighten eyes, smiles or other darker areas in the picture. And no, this is not a beautify app. I don't beautify myself or my subjects when editing photos. I only enhance what is already there.
Boomerang: This is such a fun one! You've probably seen what looks like moving pictures on your social media feed a lot lately and if you don't already know, Boomerang is the app for that! If you're not used to it, it can be a little confusing. You simply click the shutter button once while the subject moves around and the app captures the moving image. No holding the button down like snapchat or moving the camera, just click and go! A little tip for Boomerang is to make sure you save each moving image (this way you can take as many as you need and choose one later). This is just a fun one cause you can get really creative with how you use it!
Repost: While repost isn't an editing app, it's an app I use a lot for posting pictures. This app helps give credit where credit is due. As an artist, giving and receiving credit for an image you produced is very important. For example, when I post an image of a model in one of my shoots, that model can use this app to post that same image onto their feed while keeping my name on the image.
To the right is another example of something I reposted from my current internship The Scout Guide Austin (you can read about it here). TSG Austin posts images I take for them on their Instagram. Not only do they give me photo credit in the caption but then I can repost that image onto my page later. This allows a few things; I get to share content on my page, I give myself credit and this helps both TSG and I get more traffic to our individual pages (which is a goal of the repost app in and of itself).
In today's world, taking pictures is an every day occurrence and everyone is doing it all the time. Smart phones have made taking photos so easy that anyone and everyone can do it. I sometimes don't like that today's technology makes it easy for people to call themselves "photographers," (I have many thoughts on this but that's a post for another time). Regardless, I've decided to give my two cents on the matter of mobile photography in hopes of helping out anyone who needs a little input. The quality of smart phone cameras is honestly amazing. So if I'm being blunt, if you're photos aren't turning out... *cough cough* it's probably operator error. SO my advice to all you iPhoneographers out there is to take advantage of the technology in your hands and around you. It's too simple (and fun) to not be producing great mobile content.
In addition to my favorite editing apps, I wanted to give a few more pieces of advice. These are really simple ways to drastically improve your mobile photography skills. Take a gander below!
Regular Photo vs Square:
When you open the camera in an iPhone you have quite a few options towards the bottom of your screen in yellow. Most people know how to use these functions, but you'd be surprised at how many don't or just don't take advantage of what's offered. I think choosing between using the regular photo and square option ultimately comes down to a personal choice, and for me I prefer to use the full size photo option. I would recommend using the square photo if you're taking a specific photo just for Instagram. Hint: the square option is a really good one if you're taking a flat lay type of photo. (Regular photo vs Square seen below).
Lighting & Focus:
Something that drives me absolutely crazy is when I ask someone to take a photo of my friends and I and they don't tap the center of the photo to focus the picture and check the lighting. TAP THE SCREEN (said with love). Your phone is smart enough to understand how to adjust for light and focus on the main subject of an image you are trying to take. Also, you can use the lighting slide to make your image brighter or darker before you take the photo. (Lighting & focus square seen above).
Fads & Seasons:
If you've been on Instagram for a while, you've probably noticed a few things over the years. Editing has gotten better, certain photos have become "cool" and photo/editing styles are constantly changing. Mobile editing goes through a certain cycle too. Instagram during spring and summer is all about posting bright/colorful photos that showcase what fun thing you did that day. Instagram during the fall and winter months is all about warmer colors, fall leaves and coffee pics. Once you figure out these themes, you're one step closer to being that blogger you've always wanted to be (if that's not your goal, well thats cool too). If you don't care about keeping up with the latest trends, then just work on finding the style you like best and stick to it. Find an app you love, figure out how to use it and go for it! After all, it's YOUR photo and YOUR Instagram.
So at the end of the day, do what your heart desires!
I hope this post has been somewhat helpful to someone out there. While a lot of this is common knowledge it still helps to be walked through some of the tricks that may not really be talked about. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if it helped! Or, leave a suggestion for future posts.
Thanks for reading!