6 iPhoneography Tricks Every Beginner Should Know
It’s easy to find in-depth mobile photography advice if you…
Whether you’re in the hustle of the city or the calm of the forest, winter is upon us — and it’s a perfect time to get some incredible photos with your mobile camera. So, suit up and embrace the season.
Winter can be bitter and cruel yet stunning in its beauty all at once. Leafless trees, with their branches frozen against a pale, gray sky. Ice, reflecting. The air, sparkling. When the sun does make an appearance on a canvas of blue, it casts long shadows across a cold blanket of white.
How does winter make you feel? Can you capture that feeling in a moment, forever? Here are six tips for capturing great winter photos with your smartphone.
Winter brings a plethora of wicked weather possibilities. Snow. Sleet. Rain. You don’t need that stuff hitting your smartphone because it isn’t good for it. So you would do well to get a weatherproof case if you are going to be outside taking pictures and battling the elements at the same time.
Here is an important bit of advice to consider when using your mobile camera in cold weather. Even if it’s a beautiful sunny day, you need to pay attention to the temperature.
If you’re using an iPhone, Apple’s Support staff suggests:
“Use iOS devices where the ambient temperature is between 32 degrees to 95 degrees F. Low- or high-temperature conditions might cause the device to change its behavior to regulate its temperature. Using an iOS device in very cold conditions outside of its operating range may temporarily shorten battery life and could cause the device to turn off. Battery life will return to normal when the device is brought back to higher ambient temperatures.”
A weatherproof case will not only protect your smartphone from the elements, it will also help to keep the battery’s charge at an optimal level, even when the temperature is really low.
Have you ever tried taking pictures with your smartphone when it was cold and windy outside? Your hands get numb and the next thing you know, you can barely feel it anymore. Not to mention the fact you are now more likely to drop it. Touchscreen-compatible gloves might be the answer to your icy issues.
Because our smartphones are pretty much attached to us 24 hours a day now, many companies are producing touchscreen-compatible gloves to make things easier in cold weather. These gloves are made of a special material that allows you to operate your smartphone almost as if you weren’t wearing any gloves at all. Find ones that are thin enough to give you plenty of feel, but thick enough to provide warmth on a cold day. And make sure the palms provide extra handling and security material, so you won’t drop your device.
There is a certain bleakness to winter. As Bill Murray—aka Phil Connors—said in the movie Groundhog Day:
“I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be gray, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”
OK, well maybe winter isn’t quite that bleak, but it can provide a certain “colorless” quality that will inspire you to create some cool black (or blue) and white—aka monochrome—images. After all, on a cloudy day, most of the work regarding color has been decided for you. You are practically living in a black and white world. Training your eye to see in black and white is a lot easier when you are actually seeing things that way naturally—or close to it. If you want to add a bit of color during the editing process, try blue. It’s a cold color that will work well in any winter scene.
First and foremost, however, focus on taking good pictures. Consider the basic elements of composition with your mobile photography and concentrate on capturing great images. Black and white photography oftentimes removes the distraction of color and helps the viewer to focus on the subject and the composition. As you are shooting, think in terms of contrast—the difference between the light and dark tones in your photos. Look for shadows, patterns, textures, and lines.
Winter is full of reflections. Look for puddles everywhere — from a city street to a country road. How about a frozen pond or lake, etched with natural crinkles and cracks? Of course, there are plenty of other options, like windows, icicles — maybe even the rear view mirror on your car, to name just a few. Now really look into those reflections and find a variety of different angles, both near and far, to best capture what you see.
Frame your subject to draw more attention to it. Find something in the foreground — from a man-made object like a fence, window or even a lens attachment held at varying distances — to something more natural, like trees, icicles or piles of snow. Creative framing provides a unique perspective and helps to focus the viewer’s attention where you want it to be.
Photo walking is just as its name suggests. You walk and take photos. It sounds pretty simple, but there is more to photo walking than meets the eye. A lot more.
The primary purpose of a photo walk is to take pictures of things you find interesting and to practice and improve your photography skills. With a smartphone, it’s easier than ever. All you need is the device that’s with you anyway, and maybe a few small accessories in your pockets or a backpack. It’s also a great opportunity for adventure—to explore an area you have never been to before, or to take a whole new perspective on some place you have visited—maybe even many times before.
Can you take a photo walk in the winter? Of course you can. Walk, ski, skate—whatever you can do to keep active and exploring during the colder months. So grab your smartphone and get prepared to create some great winter mobiography.
Written by: David Kindervater of iPhonePhotoLab.com.
Photos by: Kameron Sears, (@ksearsdesign) is a Chicago based Graphic Designer who enjoys taking pictures of the beautiful city with his iPhone 6. He continues to grow and build his skill set with inspiration from others in the Instagram community.