How to take better photos with your phone

Photography is one of my favourite hobbies and I’m always keen to improve my skills and learn more about the art. I usually use my SLR camera but sometimes as a mom I just don’t have the capacity to carry it around with me everywhere. Thankfully having access to a smart phone with a camera means that these days that it’s far easier to snap pictures on the go and it’s meant that the barriers to enter the world of photography have been all but removed.

Capturing a memorable moment no longer means lugging a heavy camera bag around, making sure you’ve got film and a charged battery – it’s as simple as unlocking your phone, opening the camera app, and snapping the moment unfolding right before you. The question is no longer whether a smart phone has a camera, but rather how high its resolution is, and how many photo-editing applications are available in it’s app store.

With the perfect tool to capture remarkable images literally at our fingertips, it’s worth remembering that inspiration can strike at the most surprising times and in the most unlikely places. The mobility afforded by mobile phone cameras means that you can capture beautiful photos that tell a story, wherever you are.

The way that we take photos is not the only thing that has changed: the way we print them has evolved too. We’re no longer subjected to the tortuous week-long wait for a film to be developed and processed, flavoured by the combination of dread and anticipation to see which images worked and which were duds, all at great expense.

At a recent Epson “Develop Yourself” event, well known South African instagrammers – Gareth Pon & Meruschka Govender, teamed up with Epson to demonstrate just how easily images can be captured, edited on the go, and printed wirelessly all at little cost using Epson’s range of high-quality ink tank system (ITS) printers.

Gareth Pon offered a few top tips for mobile photography and how to capture a story worth printing:

  • When you’re in the mood for photos, go wherever your heart fancies! Your smart phone and its camera can go wherever you do.
  • Your smart phone is not a DSLR – and this is not a bad thing. It’s smaller, which means you and it can get into more interesting places.
  • Light is your friend – and is your best friend when you use it to highlight on particular elements of your image.
  • Most cameras have a zoom function – but don’t use it unless you have to. Rather move closer to your subject, if you can.
  • Shoot before you think. Sometimes spending too much time on composing the perfect shot will mean that you lose it.
  • Think before you shoot. It’s worth composing a good image paying mind to the rule of thirds and looking for good textures, for example, but also spend some time pondering the privacy of your subject, if it’s a person or group of people.
  • Wear good, comfortable shoes. This is true of photography and many other hobbies!
  • Be aware of your environment, so that you can make the most of available lighting conditions and composition opportunities. Also be aware of what’s going on around you, for safety’s sake.
  • Keep looking, but know what you’re looking for. Don’t be so focussed on capturing the image that you’ve set out to get that you miss other wonderful opportunities along the way.
  • Keep stable, if you possibly can. Otherwise use any motion blur to good effect in your image.
  • Avoid using the flash. While cameras in mobile phones are fantastic, their flashes often aren’t.
  • Shoot lots of images – it doesn’t cost you anything!
  • Change your perspective: lie on the floor, stand on a table, jump on a merry-go-round – there is so much more to the world than what you see at eye level.

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Editing photos on your phone

One of the particular benefits of mobile photography is that it’s so easy to your edit images even though you’re working on a compact device. It’s quick and easy to correct red-eye, crop out unexpected subjects in your photo, or to enhance the image with special effects, such as sepia, framing, or word-bubbles.

Whatever your editing strategy is, make sure that it doesn’t disrupt the theme that you have chosen for your photo story if you are working with a series of images, and that your images don’t suffer from overzealous editing.

Some of the most popular smartphone photos editing apps at the moment include:

iOs
Snapseed, VSCOCam, Luminance, Afterlight, Blender, Touch re Touch, Filterstorm, and ProHDR, Bokeh Lens

Android
Snapseed, VSCOCam, Photoshop Touch, Photoshop Express, and Touch re Touch.

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Press P for Print or Publish

Once you’ve created your masterpiece, you can choose to publish it online using the many online options such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr, or you can choose to print it.

Printing photos is easier than ever before, and Epson’s ITS printers have made it more affordable than ever to do so from the comfort of your own home. With more than 50 years of printing research and innovation to its name, Epson has fine-tuned its ink and printing technology to dramatically reduce the costs of printing photos. And with the art of photography firmly at our fingertips thanks to high resolution images in smart phones, Epson’s iPrint app makes it even easier to print images on the go.

Epson’s L800 ITS photo printer can print up to 1,800 10cm x 15cm photos using one ink tank system, at a cost of only R0,60 per photo. Epson’s L355 printer is a versatile colour printer that is ideal for home office use and it also prints superior quality photos, as does the multi-function Epson L550 printer. The ITS printers use larger ink refills that cost much less than other home photo printing solutions, giving you the freedom to print as many photo stories as you like! For more information about Epson photo printers suitable for home use, visit www.epson.co.za

Photos: Kathryn Rossiter (on my phone!)

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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