These days, thanks to the iPhone and digital cameraphones like it, everyone can be a photographer. But if you really want to start taking professional-looking pics, there's a few basic rules of photography you should master for even better results.
Here are five of my best tips for taking great snapshots (and making your Instagram followers jealous):
#1. When it doubt, position your subject with the sun or the light behind you — so the light is shining on the subject. Exposure is sometimes the trickiest thing to get right with your phone; luckily, Instagram and other photo editing apps can help. While I prefer not to alter or filter my images (despite the wide array of fun options), I do sometimes use Instagram's shadow function to illuminate some aspects of the shot that would be otherwise lost. It’s like having a little mini Photoshop function at your fingertips!
#2. Before you press the shutter, quickly check each corner of the frame to make sure there aren’t any unwanted elements in your shot. This tip is really just a way of training yourself to be more conscious of composition — which is important in every photo. While Instagram and other apps easily allow zooming and cropping functions to help eliminate unwanted elements from the frame, it’s always preferably to frame your shot more deliberately from the outset rather than worry about taking it out later.
#3. Imagine what you're shooting is in black and white. By mentally removing the color from the frame, you’ll be forced to pay more attention to lines, shapes and tone. Pattern and repetition can really strengthen and add interest to images.
#4. Be careful about how you're holding the phone. The slightest angle can really alter or distort perspective and vertical lines (when you're photographing a building, for example). The position of the phone is also especially important when it comes to horizons. Taking the extra time to make sure your lines are straight will make a big difference in the final shot.
#5. Sometimes, as much as I love the square format of Instagram, cropping certain images in that way doesn’t always work. In those cases, or when you want to share a number of related images when each, on its own, isn’t great, or when you want to maintain the look of more traditional vertical or horizontal pictures, try apps like NoCrop or Pic Stitch. Great ways to add flexibility to the way you share your images on social media.