Phoneography Series: Part II

While the definition of Phoneography slightly differs for each person, simply put, it is taking pictures with your phone. Some people take it a step further by saying Phoneography is shooting, editing, producing, and uploading multimedia content with only a smart phone or tablet. Either way, this series will help you take better pictures with your smartphone or tablet camera. Last week, we got familiar with the iPhone camera. This week: photo composition.


Composition refers to the layout of your picture. It is one of the fastest ways to take your photography to the next level, no matter what type of camera you are using. The way you organize your image will influence the initial ‘wow’ factor, the message, and the appeal of your picture.

If your picture captures something important or valuable to you or your audience, but it isn’t presented in a way that is visually engaging or where they can tell what is going on, you will lose your audience and they will not take away anything from your picture.

Just take an extra second to arrange the photo before actually taking it. Make sure you look all around your subject and realize that the background is just as important. Unless your girlfriend WANTS to look like she has a pineapple growing out of her head…

91930177_54ab3a8164_z Source:

And be aware of photobombers….

Melissa-Brandts-and-her-husband Source:

 The Rule of Thirds


Imagine a tic-tac-toe board on your screen.  The Rule of Thirds is placing the most interesting or eye-catching part of your subject on the intersection of the lines in the picture.

200604301314By placing your subject one third of the way into the frame of the picture, your photo will be more visually interesting than if you placed it right in the center.




If you have your shot perfectly arranged, nothing will ruin it more than it being blurry. Hold your phone tight, like you are holding a real camera. Use one hand to hold it steady while you tap the screen to take the picture with your other hand. Even still, that may not be enough. You can brace your elbows against your side to add more stability, or you prop yourself up or lean on something to help you keep your phone (camera) still.


A change of perspective will really make your photos stand out more. Instead of taking a picture at face-level, try to hold your phone up high or low to get different angle or shot.

18iy079w91du3jpgTo get this shot, the photographer had to get on the child’s level and practiced using the rules of third.


Next week, part 3 of the phoneography series will focus on natural & artificial lighting. If you have any questions or want to know something specific, leave a comment below.

Phoneography Series: Part I

Most people do not carry around an actual camera with them any more. Since most cell phones come with a camera built it, it is easier and more convenient to grab your cell phone to take a picture. But it can be very disappointing when your picture turns out blurry, too dark or too light.

Over the next several weeks, I will post the ins & outs of cell phone photography (phoneography) and tips & trips for taking amazing pictures with your cell phone. After this series, you will be a phoneography pro!

First Up: Features of an iPhone Camera

Quick Access: from the lock screen, swipe up to access the camera quickly

IMG_4448Shooting a Picture: tap the center circle in the camera app or use the volume buttons on the side of your phone

6246869175_f03c82f27a_z*Tip: You can use your headphones that came with your iPhone to snap pictures too (if they are plugged in to your phone). While in the camera app, press the volume up button and the camera will snap a picture.

Zoom: pinch in or expand out

IMG_4449Flash: Auto, on, or off

IMG_4449_bFront Camera: for selfies

HDR: picks up details in the darkest & brightest parts of your picture (more information below)

Panorama: takes 240 degree pictures (sorry for such a dreary picture – it’s almost spring in Mississippi, which means it is almost always raining)

IMG_4451Exposure: Your phone does all of the work for you by auto-exposing, but sometimes your picture can still come out too dark or too bright. To avoid this, just tap the area of the picture you want exposed correctly (before snapping the picture) and the camera will adjust the exposure for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that exposing and auto-focusing go hand-in-hand with your iPhone camera. When you tap your screen before you take the picture, you are not only exposing for that area, but also focusing on that particular area.

*Tip: If the auto-exposure keeps changing, tap and hold down your finger to lock the focus & exposure. Tap again to unlock.

HDR – What is it?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. If you are taking a picture of your friend on a bright day, sometimes the sky will turn out too bright or your friend too dark. When you shoot in HDR, your camera shoots three pictures and combines them into a single image that has the right exposure.

When shooting in HDR, keep your hand as steady as you can. If you move, the three different pictures won’t line up right and your single image will turn out crazy looking.

*Tip: Tap the darkest part of your picture before shooting in HDR and it will properly expose for both the dark and bright spots.

Next week, part 2 of the phoneography series will focus on composition (photo arrangement, stability, perspective). If you have any questions about part 1 or want to know something specific, leave a comment below.