The Art of Photogrpahy

1, 2, 3, Smile!

The introduction of the phone camera into today’s society has given almost everyone the ability to take photos that look professional.  Specifically with the powerful cameras that are featured on the newest iPhones, anyone can pull out there phones, snap a quick pic, and it looks high quality.  Not only that, the excess of photography apps allow anyone to use their phone to add polished after effects to their photo, ranging from intriguing filters to selective focus.

Around the world, anyone can pull out their phone and take a snapshot of whatever interesting event is taking place. “iPhone.” Photo provided by Flickr.

The Controversy

Not everyone is overly excited about the spread of photography to wider group of people.  Some professional photojournalists, like Nick Stern, think that these mass produced professional looking pictures are “cheating” their viewers.  In an opinion special on CNN, Stern discusses how apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic allow “app photographers” to create pictures on a professional level without taking the time to actually become a professional photographer.  Stern thinks that these images are “unethical,” and doesn’t think they convey the real emotion of an original image.

However, just like with photography, there are always different perspectives.  Heather Murphy of Slate explains how she initially agrees with some of Stern’s point, but she goes on to defend Instagram in the world of photjournalism.  She says she is also annoyed when photographers use apps to alter news images, or when certain pictures get large amounts of attention just for using a popular filter.  But, she also believes that websites like Instagram allow more amateur photographers to share and discuss the photos they take.  It doesn’t replace professional outlets for imagess in news, but it gives the more average person the opportunity to enjoy photography.


iPhones, and many other phones with high quality cameras, makes photography more easily available to anyone. Not only do they provide a good camera, but they’re easy to store and carry. “iPhone.” Photo provided by Flickr.

The biggest advantage shooting with a phone has over a regular camera is that it is significantly easier to carry.  This means you can take it with you practically anywhere, and according to Cotton Coulson on National Geographic, if you want to improve your photography skills, you should take advantage of that.  “Always have your iPhone with you,” is his biggest advice for improving iPhone photography.  You never know when the opportunity for a picture will arise, but if you’re prepared and have your phone with you, when a possibility for an interesting photo comes up, you can take a quick shot.  Always having your phone with you will give you plenty of practice, which will go a long a way in improving your images.  You’ll have more pictures overall, and the pictures you take will look better.

Taking a shot from somewhere other than eye level can make a normal picture much more interesting. It shows the image in a different way than we would see it without really altering it. “Perspective.” Photo provided by Flickr.

There are endless ways to take pictures, whether you are using an iPhone or Canon DSLR camera.  Aside from the myriad of settings on both cameras and phones and apps, the way you take a picture can change, and improve it drastically.  Digital Photography School gives five simple tips to take vastly better pictures, even as a beginner.  One of the easiest things to do to make a photo more interesting is to find a new perspective.  Get low, get high, move around.  Find somewhere to shoot from other than eye level.  Doing this will make your shot different and unique, even with a normal or less interesting subject.  They also recommend trying to fill your photo more.  make the subject take up more space, so your photo is more focused.  Play around with where it fits in the image and how much space it takes up.  They also explain how changing where your subject is and how it is looking can affect your image.  The way your subject is placed and how they look can drastically change the feeling your image creates.  For example, having your subject look off away from the photo can create a mystery, making the viewer wonder what the subject is focused on.  Their third tip is to take shots off center.  Don’t always place your subject directly in the middle of an image.  Sometimes having someone centered in a picture looks good, and sometimes it looks better when the photo is unbalanced and the focus of the image is slightly to the side.  The fourth point they make is to play with how much light is in the photo.  While too little or too much light can be a problem, less light is much worse.  And sometimes, having too much light can create interesting effects in an image.  The last tip they give is to always take pictures.  “Space is cheap,” they say, so always take as many pictures as you can and then choose the best.

One last thing you can vary when taking images is what type of images you take.  For example, when making a photo essay, Poynter lists five different types of images that make some of the best photo essays.  The first type is the scene setter.  This is a wider shot that shows a large amount of subject matter, and can make a strong set up for a story.  The second is the medium shot, which focuses in more on where the action would take place.  Then there is the the portrait.  Portrait images focuses directly on your subject, and can often be one of the most important.  It shows who, or what, the image or story is all about.  Next is capturing detail, where you get a more specific shot of your subject in a more intimate part of their life.  Last is capturing the action, where you can show specifically what you want your viewers to see your subject doing.  However, while combining a series of pictures can create an interesting story, sometimes one photo can be just as powerful all on its own.

“Camera.” Featured image provided by Flickr.  All other photos taken by me.


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