Photography Tips

As you might have already guessed, photography is one of my passions. I love taking pictures of -almost- everything. It is my way of preserving my moments and feelings through time.

Many people have messaged me asking how I edit my pictures, what apps/filters I use, etc. As a result, I decided to write this post to share with you my top 6 tips for taking and editing photos on the fly; using just your smartphone! Some of the these tips are specifically for iPhone users (I am currently using the iPhone XR), but you should be able to apply most of them to photos taken on Android devices too.

Tip #1 Shooting tall buildings

I am pretty sure that there have been multiple times where you have wanted to take a picture of a tall building using your phone and it did not fit in the frame. It doesn’t matter how far away you stand or how low you crouch, you just can’t make the picture look good!

To achieve getting large objects in one shot, my tip is to use panorama. In order to achieve this:

  1. Turn your phone to landscape and use your panorama mode.
  2. Make sure that the panorama arrow points down (if not, just tap the top of the panorama frame and the arrow should switch sides). You should have the screen shown below.
  3. Take you photo starting from the top of the building, moving the camera downwards to where you want to end the picture.
Panorama mode for tall buildings

Tip #2 Long Exposure without a tripod

Long exposure is used when photographing moving elements in order to achieve a blurry/smearing/obscuring effect. It is one of my favourite effects as it gives a different twist to the photograph. Usually, to take a long exposure photo, you have to use a tripod to stabilise your phone/camera as the shutter remains open for a long period of time. If you donโ€™t stabilise it, your picture will be moved and you end up with a bad photo. iPhones have introduced a way of quickly taking long exposure pictures without all this hassle. To achieve this:

  1. Open your camera and make sure that the live mode is activated.
  2. Take a photo of a moving object (e.g. running water or people walking).
  3. Go to your camera roll and find your image.
  4. Swipe up on the photo and you should see an Effects section containing โ€œLoopโ€, โ€œBounceโ€, and โ€œLong Exposureโ€.
  5. Select โ€œLong Exposureโ€ and voila!

Try to experiment using the other effects in a similar way. They can be particularly useful when you try to capture or repeat specific movements e.g. “Bounce” achieves the effects that are similar to the โ€œBoomerangโ€ app.

Editing Photos using PS Express

Editing photographs is one of the most important parts of photography. It allows you to highlight the things you want in the picture, brings the photograph to life, corrects its exposure, and to show the world your unique perspective!

Next, I will walk you through some of my favourite effects for editing photos. My favourite app for editing photos is Photoshop Express (available on the App Store and Google Play Store). It is free, but you might need to create an account.

Adobe Photoshop app

Tip #3 Bring your photos to life using HDR

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a technique used to extend the dynamic range of your camera in order to maximise the details captured in highly contrasted scenes, making the photos look more natural and realistic. To shoot a โ€œproperโ€ HDR photograph, you need to understand the complex methodology that is required in putting together a stack of photos made of different exposure/contrast values. Luckily, Photoshop provides this effect with just a tap of a screen. At this point, I should probably mention that this effect is mostly for landscapes and objects rather than portraits, although this is not absolute. To start achieve this effect:

  1. Open PS Express.
  2. Give it access to your Camera Roll (you should now be able to see all your photos).
  3. Select the one you want to edit.
  4. At the bottom of the single image screen, you should be able to see various filters such as Basic, Subject, Background, etc.
  5. Scroll to your left to reveal more effects, one of which is HDR.
  6. There are various HDR variations that you can choose from (I personally like using HDR 1).
  7. The filter will be applied to your photo almost instantly.
  8. Use the scroll bar to adjust the intensity.

Tip #4 Pop Colour or โ€œAlmostโ€ Black and White

Pop colour filter is by far my favourite filter. It allows you to highlight one specific colour in the photograph, while it turns the rest of it in black and white. It can really transform seemingly boring photographs into something special. To apply this effect:

  1. Open PS Express.
  2. Select the picture you want from your camera roll. 
  3. At the filters section at the bottom, scroll to the left until you see โ€œPop Colourโ€.
  4. Select which colour you would like to highlight; Red, Blue, Yellow, etc.
  5. Adjust the intensity of the filter using the scroll bar. 

Tip #5 Highlight objects using Subject Filter 

Subject filter is also amongst my favourite filters. It is used to highlight a specific object within your photograph by mainly increasing the contrast and amplifying the colour of only this main object. The results of this can be really impressive! To use this effect:

  1. Open PS Express.
  2. Select the picture you want from your camera roll. 
  3. At the filters section at the bottom, top on the filter โ€œSubjectโ€.
  4. Select which type you want – I usually use subject1, 2, & 3.
  5. Adjust the intensity of the filter using the scroll bar.

I hope that you found this post interesting and that you have learnt something new! I also hope that it will inspire you to create beautiful pictures. Last but not least, remember that photo editing is just a tool and photography is about the eye. It takes practise and testing to achieve the best shots, and if a photograph is good, youโ€™ll need minimum editing! ๐Ÿ“ท๐Ÿ‘๏ธ

Good luck!

Irene โ˜บ๏ธ