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8 tips to take better iPhone photos

November 13, 2014

Looking for things to do in Hocking Hills? Brush up on your iPhoneography skills before hitting the trails.

The Hocking Hills region is one of the most photo-worthy in the nation. Thousands of nature-lovers hike our trails each year—and take even more photos. Whether you’re scoping out your next Instagram post or just looking for things to do in Hocking Hills, keeping these tips in mind on your next shoot will bring out the best in every shot.

Instagram / @jasonmizephoto

Instagram / @jasonmizephoto

1. Rule of thirds:

First, to see the rule of thirds in action, enable the camera grid lines on iPhone by going to Settings; scroll down and tap on Photos & Camera; scroll down and tap the Grid feature. Now, go to your camera and app and see the difference.

The rule of thirds is simply a guideline that states that a photo is compositionally more interesting if the important elements of the image fall on one of the grid lines or their intersections. For example, a horizon shot would be much more interesting with the sun (the most important element) featured in the bottom two-thirds or left two-thirds of the frame, rather than dead center.

2. Use two hands for stability:

When you’re holding your device and setting up the frame, be sure to hold it firmly in both hands for stability. Bend your elbows and bring the screen closer to your face so you can easily see all the details. Being able to see each detail of your photo, rather than holding the camera at arm’s length, will make all the difference in your composition.

Keep in mind that the camera shutter isn’t released until you take your thumb off the shutter button on the touch screen. Try gently and quickly tapping the button with your right hand, while steadying with your left, to capture the scene as you see it play out.

3. Avoid zoom:

When you can, avoid using the zoom tool. Because the iPhone will automatically adjust the exposure and white balance, you run the risk of draining the resolution.

National Geographic photographer Cotton Coulson writes, “If at all possible, physically move closer to your subject if you need a close-up. The greater the zoom, the more likely that camera shake will cause your photos to lack sharpness.” So (safety permitting) don’t be afraid to go in close!

Instagram / marybradley.photography

Instagram / marybradley.photography

4. Composition:

Author of the video course The Art of Mobile Photography, Justin Balog, recommends ensuring that your “hero” is the primary element of you composition. Focusing on the hero, that is, whatever it was that initially attracted you to the scene, will help shape your entire photo.

5. Try different settings:

Using the HDR setting on your iPhone takes two photos at once, so you have a light and darker version. You can also take a panoramic shot to include an entire scene in one photo, and not limit yourself to what’s directly in front of your lens.

6. Pay attention to light:

Whether you’re using an iPhone or high-end DSLR camera, the quality of light often determines the success of a photo. Coulson advises avoiding sunny and direct light when shooting portraits. His favorite light? “Bright overcast, open shadow, or even a bit of fog. For technical reasons, the small sensor in the iPhone will handle this light best.”

Things to do in Hocking Hills Ohio

Instagram / garvinzoom

7. Look for new angles:

Not feeling creative? Always try to shoot from unique angles and perspectives. Shoot high, shoot low, and always try to find a fresh angle.

8. App time:

Even professional photographers turn to apps like VSCO cam, Landcam and Photoshop Express. Many apps also have built-in social media sharing options, so you can send your finished work straight to your Instagram and Facebook.

Hitting the trails? Make sure to tag @myhockinghills and use #hockinghills and #myhockings on all your posts for a chance to see them featured on our feeds.

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