Over the last 5 weeks I challenged myself to 30 Days of Smartphone Photography in and around Portland. Although I missed a few days due to travel commitments, I have made it to Day 30.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and I really do feel like photography every day and A Post A Day is normal now.
Although I still feel like I have a long way to go, practicing everyday really has made a huge difference in my confidence and understanding of photography.
Here's 5 things that I learned over the last 5 weeks about Smartphone Photography
1. Read instruction booklets first
In my excitement of receiving my new Photojojo lenses I skipped the instruction booklets for the Wide/Macro lens and consequently didn't realise that the lens comes in two parts. I was getting severely frustrated that I couldn't capture macro shots like the ones I'd seen captured by other people.
Eventually (2 weeks after getting the lenses) I decided I'd look online to try to find a better macro lens. In my search I discovered that the lens I already had unscrews into two parts!
No wonder it wasn't working!
So, now when I buy a new piece of equipment I check the instructions first.
2. Be prepared
This is still something I am getting used to. No matter where you are going be prepared. Your smartphone is usually close at hand, but remember to take your extra lens and a tripod (or use a stable surface) so you don't miss a great shot.
Using your tripod is especially important when you use Apps like ProHDR, which in order to get a great shot requires your camera to be completely still.
While I always have my smartphone and/or DSLR on me, I have missed opportunities for awesome photos because I left some of my equipment at home.
3. Photography requires patience
When I finally figured out that my Photojojo lens came in two parts and I realized I could get some cool macro shots I spent over two hours playing around with it before I got a clear shot of a fly on a strawberry leaf.
With the macro lens you have to be so close to your subject, and then the magnification causes any movement whatsoever to blur. It was hot out in the sun but I took photos of flowers and dog noses and grass and vegetables to get used to the lens.
You might get frustrated, but ultimately it's so satisfying when you get the shot just right.
The same goes for any form of photography.
Sitting and waiting for the right light at sunset.
Hoping for the right moment when the bird you are trying to capture lands exactly where you want it to.
Sitting uncomfortably hoping the flittery fly will stop on a strawberry leaf right in front of your camera.
I feel that I am getting to the point where I love this process. I don't mind waiting for the right moment because it makes it so much better when I capture the moment I have been waiting for.
4. Go back to the same places
Sometime I think I have captured the most amazing photo, and then I get home and open it up on my computer and it looks all wrong. I realise that I have cropped the image too much, or a different angle would have been much better.
Seeing a photo on your small smartphone screen looks very different to seeing it on your computer.
Apart from when you're only in a location for one day, there's no reason why you can't go back and shoot the same location again. Try it at a different time of day, or in different weather.
Shooting the same thing in different conditions has really helps me to understand what works best in different situations.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
The only way you are going to feel more confident in your skills as a photographer is by practicing.
Practice everyday, even if that means taking a walk to snap just one photo on your lunch break. You don't have to go to exotic locations to practice your skills.
Practice photographing the ordinary to find your own style and make it extraordinary.
I am in Oakland for the next two weeks, and yesterday discovered that there are Hummingbirds in the garden! Capturing one of these speedy birds is my challenge this week.
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