Taking Better Cellphone Pictures

This spring season, whether you’re deep in the turkey woods or just hanging out in your backyard with your friends, most likely you’ve got your cellphone and are taking many photos to share on social media. The quality of the camera on Apple iPhones and Android devices has increased dramatically in the last decade, but even a great camera can produce bad photos. Here are seven tips on how to step up your photo game.

Lighting
Lighting is everything when it comes to photography. After all, photography is only the capture of light and what that light is shining on. Use natural light when available. Some of the best quality light is often during the first hour after sunrise and before sunset. This is known as the golden hour, which can make for some great lighting opportunities to show off your harvested wild game or best good boy.

Subject placement
Look for open shade where there isn’t a roof or tree overhead. This will soften the light on your subject’s face. Keep away the squinty eyes caused by having the sunshine in your subject’s face or harsh shadows over their eyes while wearing a cap. Make sure to touch where your subject is on the screen on your camera. This will adjust the focus and exposure making your subject exposed properly and sharp. You may need to adjust the exposure by dragging up or down on the screen if the image is too dark or light. 

HDR
Turn on the HDR (High-Dynamic Range) function on your camera. This fancy acronym basically means your camera will take two photos. One image with the shadows exposed and the second one with the highlights exposed. Your device will combine the 2 photos where you will get the best of both images. This way the highlights aren’t blown out and the shadows aren’t too dark.

Composition
Most people place the subject in the center of the screen when taking a photo. Try moving them off to the left or right into a ⅓ of the screen to improve your composition. Turning on the gridlines on your camera phone (google this for your specific device) will display lines on your screen making it easier to visualize your composition and aware of tilted horizon lines. Also, try turning your camera horizontally. Although not optimal for social media, the images are usually more pleasing in landscape mode.

Camera placement
Get on the same level as your subject. If they are kneeling down with a freshly harvested gobbler, kneel down as well. Get in close to your subject and lookout for background distractions such as trees coming out of your subject’s head. Also, be aware of where your gun is at all times and that it’s unloaded and doesn’t appear to be pointing in an unsafe direction if shown in the photo. If you have a newer iPhone or Android device with multiple built-in lenses, use the zoom lens and try portrait mode on your camera. This will make for a more dynamic image by helping to blur out background distractions. 

Steady as she goes
Just like shooting your gun, follow-through is important in photography. Imagine the camera reaching out to grab the photo and bringing it back to the phone. Try holding the phone steady and breathing out slowly as you take the shot. This will reduce camera shake or blurry images. Also, consider using a tripod for your phone.

Image editing
There are several free applications on your device to help take the look of your image further. Check out Snapseed on your App Store. Play around with different looks until you find what complements your image the best.

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