5 ways to take better smartphone photos – including dealing with SA's harsh sunlight
Smartphones make it possible for everyone to take extraordinary photos without buying expensive equipment, says South African filmmaker Miklas Manneke.
“It allows you to photograph real moments as they happen and gives you the opportunity to capture more memories than ever,” Manneke told Business Insider South Africa.
“The average person is not able to see the difference between a smartphone photo and a picture taken on a mirrorless or DSLR camera.”
Manneke has over 70,000 followers on Instagram. He recently used his iPhone to make a video of 400 strangers dancing around the word which has been watched over 16,000 times on YouTube.
Read: This South African travelled the world filming over 400 strangers dancing – and became a sensation
“A huge benefit is also that the smartphone is unassuming, we have become desensitised to it and therefore it allows photographers to capture people who have let their guard down.”
Manneke gave Business Insider South Africa five tips on how to take better smartphone photos.
Manneke says one of the biggest mistakes amateur photographers tend to make is to over -dit and over-saturate their images when uploading to Instagram.
“I would rather recommend trying to focus on great compositions or moments that say more than what is captured,” he says.
“Always remember that less is more, try not to over-edit images.”
Take inspiration from others
People tend to not research and learn from others, Manneke says who follows several other photographers on Instagram for inspiration.
“You should go out and find inspirations for your own shoots and setting a standard you would like to reach.”
Follow Manneke on Instagram.
Use mobile photography apps
The power of mobile photography lies in the user’s ability to shoot, edit and upload their photos anywhere while travelling, Manneke says. He advises users to download Snapseed and VSCO onto their phones; both are free to use.
“Snapseed covers many photo editing needs, allowing you to sharpen, crop and adjust exposure so that you can customise your picture and really make it your own.”
Meanwhile, VSCO is known its filters and presets.
“Where VSCO will provide you will filters where you can really tune and adjust the present to your liking after you have corrected the angles and exposure in Snapseed.”
Use light wisely
“We are lucky that we have so much sunlight in South Africa but that also means we need to learn to deal with light is often very harsh,” Manneke says.
“Ideally, you should get up early for sunrise or wait for sunset so that you can get those beautiful golden tones that South Africa has to offer.”
He advises checking a weather app to see what time sunset or sunrise is, and giving yourself a good hour before to start shooting.
“If you are shooting in the middle of the day, it is best to try shoot in a shaded area to reduce the harsh light.”
Manneke suggests photographers try to frame their photos by using doorways or natural lines in a city street or landscape.
“Not only does this add depth to your photo but also gives the viewer more context.”
And if someone finds a frame they like, he says, they should stay around for a bit.
“Let life happen in front of you and just patiently wait for moments that talk to you.”
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