As we are approaching the start of our trip, it is time that you all pull up a chair for a few minutes to browse some introductory pages on how to take better photos. I know many of you will be using your mobile phones for this. First and foremost I have three “rules” for you:
- Almost always shoot in landscape. You rarely need to shoot in portrait. Reserve your portrait orientation for times when there is a clear “up-down” layout to the image you are trying to capture. But landscape needs to be your default orientation. There is a reason movie screens, TVs, computer monitors, etc. are wider than they are tall.
- If you are shooting video, PAN and MOVE VERY, VERY, VERY SLOWLY. The worst part of most video capture is the herky-jerky nature of the videographer. A sure and steady grip here is key (jut as it is for still photography).
- Take a moment to compose your photo. If we are doing data collection or image capture for technical reference, you will generally just take your picture and ignore the particular composition of the elements in your viewfinder. But for all other images, take at least 15 seconds and think about composition. What is the story you are trying to tell?
Once you have gotten those ideas in your head, you can browse a few of the following web pages. Each will only take a few minutes to read or watch, but might help you if you haven’t thought about taking photos very much.
- Start with The Fix’s brief intro to smartphones and photography if you have never thought that much about photography or your smartphone’s capabilities.
Then you can play around with some of these helpful suggestions:
- Great general suggestions for taking awesome photos with your smartphone
- The “Rule” of Thirds: here is a quick overview, and here is a nice site showing it in practice
- The Perfect Sunset Photo
- Group Photos
- Macro Photography
- Shooting Video with a Smartphone
- Time-Lapse Video
Don’t forget to check out our mobile apps page.