Tips regarding mobile photography for beginners. Although I am personally in love with my SLR camera (its weight, its robustness, its optics, its manual mode and its millions of possibilities), it is true that I do not make mobile photography as part of any photographic process. We’ve already talked a few times about the indisputable advantages of mobile photography: it’s lightweight, very easy to use, but above all, it always goes with us.
And that is, for me, THE main reason why I think mobile photography for beginners should be given the importance and creative space it deserves. Because there’s no point in having the best camera in the world if we don’t carry it with us. And let’s not deceive ourselves, we don’t always carry the Reflex (Evil or whatever you have) with you, but I doubt that you will leave home without your mobile phone.
So why not try to master one of the strengths (and keys) of mobile photography for beginners? Do you know which one I mean? Exactly, to the composition.
Compose In Mobile Photography For Beginners
At a technical level, when we compare the possibilities of a reflex camera (or EVIL or advanced compact) there are certain limitations that we have today when working with our Smartphone. We do not have aperture or shutter speed or zoom (decent, meaning 😉 ), for example.
On the other hand, we have a lot of agility, dexterity, portability and immediacy. Most of the time we just have to chase the image, frame and shoot. The phone does the rest. That is why the weight of the image, its strength, falls, together with the light, on the composition.
Define A Center Of Interest
That is, which is the protagonist of my image. Is it a portrait? Or is it a landscape? Maybe it’s a crowd? Pherhaps it’s a building? Whatever it is, the first step to take a picture with your mobile phone or with any type of camera is to know what is the centre of interest of your image and never lose sight of it because it is from there where you will make all the decisions to structure your image.
The Point Of View
The flexibility, size and portability of the phone make it much easier for us to work with different points of view when composing an image, as the phone is lightweight and easy to operate.
Shooting from the ground, from above (zenithal), changing the shooting angle (chopped or counter chopped) will add interest to the image and completely change the way we perceive the image. Try it out, take an object and photograph it from different angles. You’ll see how the image changes radically.
Rule Of The Thirds
The rule of thirds is that which divides the frame into three thirds both horizontally and vertically. In the place where these imaginary lines cross, the strong points of the image are located. It is at these points where the gaze is naturally directed and, therefore, where the center of interest of our image naturally emphasizes it. Knowing this rule and knowing how to apply it will be very useful to improve your composition, especially when you have few alternative elements with which to direct your gaze towards your protagonist.
Tip: Many camera applications of our Smartphones, allow you to add guides that divide the horizontal and vertical framing allowing you to see the points of intersection live, to guide you when sorting the elements within it.
Intersections Or Strengths In The Rule Of Thirds
Lines are a key element in composition, as they allow you to guide the viewer’s gaze through the frame as if it were a luminous arrow. You have different types of lines, inspiring each one of them a sensation in the spectator, from the sensuality, elegance and sinuosity of the curved lines, to the rigidity and strength of the vertical ones, or the peace and quietude of the horizontal ones, without forgetting the dynamism and the strength of the diagonals.
Simplify Less Is More
When we observe an image, it is essential that the eye does not get lost between the elements and that it easily finds what we want to highlight. If that doesn’t happen, it’s because we’ve composed badly. Either because we have not placed the centre of interest in the right place, or because we have not used the elements at our disposal to highlight it correctly, or because there were too many elements around it that ended up losing it within the composition.
The simpler the narration of an image, the easier it is for our eye, to find what we want to highlight, it is also simpler to place it and enhance it, for example through color, negative space or the rule of thirds. Don’t cut yourself, look for inspiration on the net, there is a lot of mobile photography that follows this principle, some really good 🙂 .
We have already made progress on the previous point. Linked to the idea of simplification, we can rely on the use of negative space to emphasize our protagonist. The negative space is a background with little information (it can be a texture, a colour…) that highlights and enhances your protagonist, accompanies him, but does not detract from his protagonism.
The balance of the image is based on the visual weight of the elements, and their placement in the frame with respect to that weight. Most of the time that weight is obvious to us: something that is bigger weighs more than something that is smaller, something that is closer than something that is further away. But at other times this visual weight is not so consciously evident to us, but we do perceive it in a more subtle way, for example: an irregular shape weighs more than a regular one, a warm color weighs more than a cold one, or a single element weighs more than a set of them. To say the least. Here you have a complete article on this topic.
Learning to play with the balance, imbalance, statism or dynamism of a scene is essential in composition, especially in mobile photography.
Play With The Different Plans
One of the big differences between a photograph and our real vision of the elements are the dimensions. While we see in three dimensions, we can only recreate in two dimensions (for the moment 😉 ). That’s why we often come across images that are flat or boring, that lack something and we don’t know what it is. Many times it is this third dimension that we are missing and that we can emulate through the game with different planes in the image, to give it depth and avoid that feeling.
The Vanishing Point
The vanishing point is the place (real or imaginary) where two parallel lines intersect in infinity. Imagine the side lines of a road. Don’t they seem to meet at the bottom of the image? It is that place where they converge, what we know as the vanishing point and which we associate with depth in the image.
The colors in composition are so important that they can justify, almost by themselves, the taking of an image. Know the complementary colours to enhance the contrast between elements, play with warm and cold tones to increase the sensation of depth (warm ones seem to get closer, cold ones get further away) or to transmit different feelings or moods.
Here you have 20 tricks to play with color in your images that will surely help you 🙂 .
Another classic in composition that you must add to your photographic baggage 😉 . To prove with certainty the size of something, it is necessary that we have something to compare it with. The most effective thing is usually to work with an element of which we imagine or know the real proportions (for example, a person, a cat, a ball…) and one of which we have no reference such as a mountain, some trees… The scale serves to increase the sensation of greatness of one and the smallness of the other, for example.
The Human Element
As human beings and therefore sociable beings, we are naturally attracted to other human beings. Include the human element in your images as a center of interest, to add a scale, or provide dynamism, will increase the interest of those who observe your image naturally, so do not forget that a person (or even a reference to it as shoes), can be an element of your compositions to take very much into account 😉
Believe in yourself
Learn to observe
The photographer doesn’t do the camera.
Any opportunity to practice what has been learned is valid.
Knowledge has no place
Everything you learn shooting with your Smartphone will be useful for any type of camera.
Never stop learning
What do you think of these tips? Do you feel like trying? Come on, cheer up, I’m sure that in a few days you will be surprised by your own results 😉 .
Oh, and if you’ve found it useful, please share it with anyone you think might be interested. Thank you very much and see you next time.