After what seemed a neverending cold and dismal winter, the Fylde Coast of England's north west is enjoying a fabulous summer this year!
There have been weeks of sunshiny mornings greeted with fresh and breezy sea-scented air, drifting dreamily into balmy, slightly cool and starry late night evenings.
Not only do I get to sip the first coffee of the day al fresco, but I actually have a reason to expose my milk bottle-coloured legs!
Today, in the midst of my typical Saturday morning walk along St Annes Beach with Tim (talented artist of all my cartoons) and Alfie (chocolate lab extraordinaire), my thoughts floated away to ponder remarkable summer holidays I've been on, both near and far.
My Beach Boys!
It is surprising, but true, that we see the unforgettable and picturesque in the most unexpected places! No matter where I am, though, one thing is for certain. I am keen to capture it all, and lately I am doing a lot of this picture-taking using the camera on my Smartphone.
St Annes Beach...classic and cool
These days, most of us have one, and we don't go anywhere without it! We might forget our house keys, our wallet, or our children, but never our Smartphone! Still, they can be a bit fiddley at times and there are some age-old picture-taking woes that can make or break the shot. Today, I want to share some simple tips to help you take better photos on your Smartphone!
Before you press the shutter...
For starters, forget the camera application that came with your phone! Let's talk about the coolest camera app on the planet! If you are someone who believes in the KISS method (Keep It Simple...Silly), you are going to love Instagram! Take a picture, jazz it up with one of the included special effects, and share it right away. Okay, you knew that one, awesome! Don't forget that Instagram now also does 15-second videos as well! Think about all the wonderful, mischieveous, tender, and unforgettable moments you can capture with that feature!
I won't spend too much time on camera applications, except to say there are two that I personally use. For Android phones, I am currently using and love the Camera FV-5 Lite (it's free from the Play Store). When I had an iPhone, I used Camera Plus and, in my humble opinion, that is the better camera application of the two. However, both of these excellent applications will give a choice of ISO, exposure compensation (very useful), fully automatic program or shutter control program, a choice of metering modes, a self-timer, and more.
Now onto some quick and basic tips, whether you're making pictures or video with your Smartphone:
Keep Your Finger Away From the Camera Lens!
Yes, I know, it is difficult because a Smartphone is not as easy to grip as a camera. But we really don't want to see a photo of Blackpool Tower with a blurry fat finger at the top of the frame! I once took a whole minutes worth of video with my finger in front of the lens...in the end I left it because it was a little funny, but also a good reminder to watch how I hold the phone!
Take Better Self-Portraits!
Okay, gals, how many pucker-lipped pictures of us in front of the mirror do we actually need to see? It's not that I'm bitter that my lips can no longer make a full-lipped pout (uh-huh), okay even I'm not buying that one! Actually, I recently tried a pucker in the mirror, and the end result was just too scary to share! Lip pucker envy aside, you can make your self-portraits more interesting by pressing that virtual button to turn the camera around to look at you. Voilá! You can actually see on the camera display exactly what you will look like in the picture (no mirror required). Now let's get creative, try something different, funny, elegant, retro, or like me, something totally "red!" If you use one of the advanced camera apps I talked about, you can even prop your camera up on something stable, set the self-timer, and have a picture of yourself that doesn't include the camera!
No More Pictures In The Dark!
Most Smartphone cameras are equipped with a flash these days. The secret is in knowing when and how to use your flash. Here is one easy tip. If you are taking a picture of someone, and there is bright sun behind them, use your flash. If you don't, everything in the background will look great, but the face of your subject will still be in the dark.
From no flash to a little flash, there is a big difference! That's much better!
Share Your Perspective
A photograph essentially is capturing what we see...the way we see it. The final picture helps us to share the combination of technology, reality, and our imagination with the world. Take for instance, cement blocks on a construction site. For some reason they are painted white...to me they look like more than just a brick...do you see it? Look around your world and find what intrigues you...then share it!
Gosh, guys, this post is getting too long!! I think that's all the tips I can squeeze in today, but there will be more in future posts.
Have a great week, and enjoy your summer!
I would love it so much if you left a comment telling me about the strangest, weirdest, or funniest photo you've ever taken with your Smartphone!
Have a great week! See you next Saturday!
Shanon Leigh, aka "Red"