Taking a good photograph is no longer restricted to professional photographers. With the right skill and a smartphone, capturing the perfect shot has becoming a lot easier.
Tamiranashe Zizhou is a mobile phone photographer who takes pictures of Harare architecture and local events using a Sony Xperia Z3. Zizhou told Harare News, “I wanted to take up photography as a profession for a long time, but because photography equipment is expensive I started working on compositions using my mobile phone. Soon it became apparent that mobile photography was versatile. I travel everywhere with my cell phone, so it was very easy to do it more often.”
Zizhou went on to say, “There are so many subjects and a lot to capture if you walk around with your mobile. In the age of smartphones don’t limit yourself to a few filters to enhance your art. Invest in photography applications that can help you bring out the most in your images.”
Harare News spoke to Steven Chikosi, a self-taught photographer and videographer, on what makes a good photo. Chikosi said, “Keep your device steady when you take a photo to avoid blurry photos. It’s good to get two or three takes of the same shot just in case the others don’t come out well. Try different perspectives for more interesting results. The size of your smart phone means you can put it in different positions and angles that you wouldn’t be able to do with a bigger camera. Most importantly, use the rule of thirds, a technique designed to help artists and photographers build drama and interest in a shot. This helps you produce more engaging and better balanced images.”
In photography, the rule of thirds states that a good photograph should be divided into nine squares of equal size, with two horizontal lines intersecting two vertical lines. On most smartphones you can easily display these gridlines within the camera app. To turn the gridlines on go to: Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid. Once your grid is in place, align the subject of your photo with the grid lines and at any of the intersecting points to create a balanced, interesting picture.
Henry Oliver Hakulandaba is the winner of the “Cities” category Africa 2016 Photo Competition last month. His winning image depicts the skyline of Harare at night and won him a $2,000 cash prize.
“What always makes a good photo is the ability to tell a story, freezing time in that moment of space. The medium used is not as important as they all do the same job. Professional photographers will hardly use mobile phone cameras if they have a digital single-lens reflex camera [also called a digital SLR or DSLR]. But the power of mobile photography is the ability to be ready and capture a moment during crucial moments and the sharing is fast and efficient,” says Hakulandaba.
Mobile photography has also given rise to ‘selfie’ culture. A selfie is a photograph that you take of yourself, typically with a smartphone. With various social media platforms requiring a good profile picture, it’s important to know how take a good one. Here are a few tips on how to take the perfect selfie:
Experiment with angles
Tilt your head to the left and then the right as you view yourself on your phone’s screen. For most of us, one side is more attractive than the other.
Adjust your shoulder placement
If your shoulders are parallel to the camera, turn them slightly to the left and then slightly to the right, and see what looks best.
Stand in the light
Pose in an area with good lighting –either inside near a window or outside. Good lighting = flattering selfie.
Smile! Frown. Pout. Or make a silly face (avoid duck face!).
Extend your neck forward
To completely remove any double chin in your photo, and to accentuate your jaw line, extend your neck forward. This may feel funny, but it will dramatically improve how you look in the photo. Also, shoot from above. Raise the camera slightly above you and then look up, then snap!
Use a selfie stick!
Selfie tips adapted from www.improvephotography.com
Image: A picture taken with a cell phone shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards (2015).