When I started blogging, it was because I loved to write. I went to school for journalism, worked as an editor at a variety of magazines, and wanted a place where I could call the shots and write about what I wanted. But in the nearly three years since I started Lux & Concord, there has been a huge shift in the blogging world: now, the best bloggers aren’t just good writers, they’re GREAT photographers, too.
So, I’ve made it a mission this year to become a better photographer. Luckily, as someone without any art, design, or photography background, I’ve found that creating beautiful images really isn’t all that hard, so long as you have the right tools which, in my case, means the right phone, and a few killer apps.
Here, some of the best phone photography tips I’ve picked up, and a few of my must-have apps for editing pictures.
1. Get a great phone. I own a DSLR, and I love the quality of the pictures I take when I use it. But, getting the perfect shot with a fancy camera is a process. You have to learn the camera settings, lug it around, upload photos, and then figure out how to use software like Lightroom and Photoshop to edit your images.
I recently traded in my iPhone 5 for the new LG G4, which has a 16 mega-pixel camera and an 8 megapixel front camera (AKA the selfie camera), which was significantly better than my old phone, and the quality of the images it take rivals my digital camera. Besides more megapixels, the G4 also has a f/1.8 aperture, which means it lets in more light (a must for good photos). I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that, in addition to an “auto” mode, you can also change the ISO, shutter speed, and white balance, like you can on a regular DSLR camera. (*Learn how you can win your own LG G4 below!)
I have to say, though, that my favorite part about this phone is that there’s a retouch function in selfie mode, which makes your skin look flaw.less. #Nofilter.
2. Use natural light. Whenever possible, shoot your subjects in natural light. It makes a huge difference in the clarity and brightness of your pictures. If you’re taking a selfie, do it by a window. Or if you want to show off that pie you baked for dessert, snap a shot of it in your kitchen in the morning, with all other lights off.
3. Get the right apps. Sure, Instagram filters are great, but there are lots of other great apps out there that are even better. As far as free apps go, the one I swear by is VSCO cam. It has preset filters (F2 is my favorite — all of the pictures here are filtered in it), and then allows you to adjust everything from brightness and contrast, to shadows and highlights, to sharpness and temperature. Coming in at a close second would be Snapseed, Google’s photo-editing software, which has awesome features like spot-healing (score!), and the ability to edit only certain parts of the photo (so instead of making your entire photo brighter, you can focus in on only one corner).
To help you step up your own blog or Instagram game, and to celebrate the awesome 4K capture capability of the LG G4, AT&T is giving away one LGG4 every 4K seconds (66 minutes) from May 29-June 20, totaling 500 phones!
- Register at http://4kseconds.att.com/
- Upload a picture they took from their phone. This can be done from a mobile device, tablet or computer. Images need to be .jpg or .png and less than 1 MB.
View official rules for all contest information.
*This post was sponsored by AT&T and the LG G4. However, opinions expressed are my own.