Step 1: Get a better camera app!
I love ProShot! It allows me to choose between two aperture options, a range of shutter speeds up to 1/8000 of a second, and I can even change my ISO (light sensitivity). If you’re looking to learn how to get yourself off Auto mode, this app is a great way to learn what settings you want and when.
Step 2: Fix your backgrounds
Here is a list of common mistakes people make:
- Horizon lines or light poles/tree branches going through your subject’s head
- The light in the background is brighter than your subject (and you’re not making a silhouette)
- Your subject is wearing the same color or darker as the background causing them to merge
Shoot from a higher or lower angle to remove the distractions from the frame or to avoid intersecting lines with the subject. If your subject is blending into the background or it is too bright behind them, move them to a better spot where the light makes them the focus.
Step 3: Know when to use what flash
Use available light whenever possible. Slow your shutter speed if your subject is still (most people can take a nice picture at 1/160 of a second). If it still isn’t enough light, you will need to turn on the flash.
If your subject is within arm’s reach, the flash in selfie mode is softer than the one on the back of the camera. Flip your phone around and turn it to selfie mode to snap your image.
Step 4: Don’t not shoot because of hard light
Hard light happens in the middle of a sunny day. The sun is far up in the sky and almost directly overhead. Shadows are deep and highlights are bright. It’s not the best time for a portrait, but it is a great time to capture how a moment feels.
Step 5: Use portrait mode only when it’s appropriate
The success of portrait mode has a lot to do with how the light separates your subject from the background, the complexity of the background, and your distance to the subject. The best way to learn how to use a tool is to practice. Admittedly, I still haven’t gotten it to where I’m 100% satisfied every time I use it, so I don’t go to very often.
You can see in this example image that the overall image is soft.
Interested in more tips and keeping up with my specials and offerings? Send me an email and I’ll make sure that you receive my quarterly newsletter!
@TheInspiredStorytellers (taken on iPhone)