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It's long been said that the best camera is the one you have with you. One scroll through your Instagram feed and you may look twice, wowed by the quality of photos coming from the phone.
Behind the emergence of these incredible mobile photos are countless amazing photographers who, everyday, redefine and push the limits of this art. So we asked the world's best mobile photographers just how exactly they create art with their phones. Here are their 10 tips for taking stunning photos...right from your phone. And when you're through, you might not be able to help yourself from printing them, too.
Explore the way they see the world, understand how they approach their craft, and learn what's in their toolkit.
With Pei Ketron
When composing, look for lines (literal or figurative) that will provide a sense of movement and direction to your image. Leading lines help draw your viewer into an image and encourage their eyes to travel fully across and around it.
In Pei's Toolkit:
I shoot on an iPhone 7plus and use lens attachments from Moment. To process my images, I may use some or all of these, depending on the photo: SKRWT, Priime, Snapseed, and Touch Retouch.
With Alice Gao
Alice's Advice:For blur on purpose shots, I almost always use the native camera on my iPhone, although any app that lets you lock exposure and focus separately will do. It's pretty simple, really. I wait until around sunset when car lights start coming on, and I find a good street that will make for nice bokeh lights. I then open my camera and lock the focus on something very close (generally I use a ring on my finger since it has good defined edges). Then, I'll hold the camera up to my actual scene I want to blur and use the exposure adjustment slider to get the scene to its proper exposure.
In Alice's Toolkit:VSCO cam, Snapseed
With Sam Horine
Sam's Advice:It's always good to have a loose plan for the photos you want to take. Don't be afraid to modify when you're in the middle of taking the image. Get in close and shoot as many frames as possible. Little changes in the subject and perspective can make or break the image. Pay attention to your lighting, shoot late in the day or early in the morning for a more dynamic light. You could also try using a small LED light to modify the light for portraits or food.
In Sam's Toolkit:While I have a ton of accessories, I find myself keeping it to the basics when I'm shooting with the iPhone 7+ (the camera is pretty stellar straight out of the box!) Be sure to turn it on the portrait mode to make the most out of the two lens setup. I've been shooting a lot of moving images with Boomerang and Hyperlapse as well as playing around with the slomo video features on the camera. Editing is all done on the phone, using mostly VSCO and Videon.
With Laura Pritchett
Laura's Advice:It is sometimes difficult for me to focus my iPhone camera on close up, delicate subjects. A quick fix for this is to reach out in front of the device and hold my hand parallel to the finer subject that I want to capture. I then double check composition and manually lock focus on my hand before removing it from the frame to take the shot. This almost always results in a surprisingly crisp photo of the detail I want to isolate.
In Laura's Toolkit:Snapseed, VSCO, and Lightroom
With Joshua Allen Harris
Josh's Advice:Photography is all about patience. I like to find interesting pockets of light and wait for the right set of circumstances to happen. Sometimes the intersection of life and light doesn't happen and you have to move on to the next possibility - but then sometimes all things line up and you come away with something interesting.
In Josh's Toolkit:As far as editing, I use VSCO and sometimes Snapseed. I have a formula that I always stick to. I might have to tweak it a little depending on the look I'm after, but I believe that consistency in editing is very rewarding to my style and process...you can shoot pictures and expose them with your post process. Plus it cuts down on editing time.
With Our Wild Abandon
Our Wild Abandon's Advice:For a good panning shot on mobile its best to get a 3rd party app, such as Slow Shutter, to drop the speed down. Move your phone at the same speed as your subject as you take the photo and release the shutter, be sure to continue your movement to achieve motion blur in the background.
In Our Wild Abandon's Toolkit:Slow Shutter App
With Michael Giroux
Shaded areas reduce vertical light and allows softer horizontal light to illuminate your subject.
Michael's Advice:Natural light in the middle of the day can be harsh and frustrating for taking pictures. Instead of waiting for overcast conditions or a cloud to block the sun, try looking for areas with shade or areas that are blocking vertical light. Shaded areas reduce vertical light and allow softer horizontal light to illuminate your subject. Avoid going too deep into shaded areas as the light will not be as clean and your images will look flat.
Our Wild Abandon's Advice:Shooting stills underwater with limited vision is a challenge. It's easiest to shoot in video mode and take a few tries at it, when it's all said and done pull the best stills and go from there (plus you get some pretty hilarious outtakes usually).
In Our Wild Abandon's Toolkit:To make underwater photography possible, invest in a waterproof phone case.
With Kristin Rogers
Once I get them in the right spot, I don't say much. Their little free spirits do all the work from there!
Kristin's Advice:I love photographing kids in a place that shows how little they are. That usually entails keeping them at the bottom of the frame, standing back a good distance and allowing a lot of negative space around them. Once I get them in the right spot, I don't say much––I love them just being young and kid-ish without insecurities or thoughts of pleasing anyone. Their little free spirits do all the work from there!
With Kyle Steed
Kyle's Advice:I'm learning in my life and art that you don't have to make a big splash of color or always post a dramatic/epic landscape. Beauty is found in the subtlety of life just as much as it can be found in the supreme extravagance. I believe always being prepared is the best way to capture any moment. Specifically with the subtle/ simple moments in our lives, we have to be carefully prepared not to overstep the boundaries and make that moment more than it is. Also, we have to make sure to not be too slow on the shutter to miss it in its purest form. It just takes practice––lots and lots of practice. That's how we get better at anything. We just do it more.
In Kyle's Toolkit:PHHHOTO
Alica Gao /
Pei Ketron /
Laura Pritchett /
Joshua Allen Harris
Our Wild Abandon /
Michael Giroux /
Kristin Rogers /
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