#TakenWithiPhone: How to Step Up Your Car Spotting Game
Who says you need a fancy digital camera to take quality photos on your next car spotting adventure? While the best digital option for capturing the moment is an SLR camera, it takes a certain level of skill to master this form of photography. These days, the most accessible camera is the one on your smartphone, and it's not bad, either. Digital imaging technology has advanced so much in the past few years that point and shoot cameras are virtually obsolete.
Anyone can whip out their smartphone and take a mediocre photo of the next parked exotic they see, but with a few adjustments, you can take a really good one. Here are some tips to step up your #iPhoneOnly photography game.
NOTE: All photos in this article were shot on an old iPhone 6. While the apps listed below are iOS-specific, the following guidelines will also work for Android users. In addition, these guidelines can be applied to photography in general, but they are particularly important for camera phone users.
1. GET THE BEST LIGHTING.
The more you can control the lighting, the better. Camera phone sensors struggle to harness light. In many cases, you'll have to decide between exposing either the car or the sky to the right amount of light. Tap your screen in the area you want optimal lighting.
The best natural lighting typically occurs in the first hour of sunrise and the last hour of sunset. During these time periods, lighting tends to be nice and warm — in contrast to noon, when the sun is directly overhead, casting harsh light and shadows on your subject.
Sunlight and Shadows
If possible, do not shoot into the sun, and keep an eye out for distracting shadows that fall onto the subject. Lighting that is even and well-balanced will result in shots that are crisper and easier to edit.
2. USE HELPFUL APPS.
Take advantage of the various apps that are available to help you edit your image in post production. Most apps are very easy to use — allowing you to see a preview of what your image will look like with some tweaks. Even if you're inexperienced, once you play around with settings for a little bit, you'll probably figure out how to get the image to your liking.
SnapSeed is a great, simple app that gives you advanced control of an image. Think of it as “Photoshop mobile.” The interface is easy to use, and it lets you experiment away without ruining the original image.
For those who want to control how an image looks before post production, the Camera + app is a perfect alternative to the native camera app — a camera "replacement," if you will. Its settings let you make adjustments both before and after you take a snapshot.
3. PAY ATTENTION TO COMPOSITION.
A car's placement within a frame can make or break a photo. One trick I like to use is to imagine that the car is “going somewhere,” which forces me to position it accordingly in the shot.
Rule of Thirds
One of the fundamentals of photography involves breaking up your image into nine equal parts and using the intersecting lines to help align your subject. While the Camera + app utilizes a Rule of Third grid by default, you can enable this tool in your iPhone's native camera app under Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid.
The Crop Tool
How you crop a photo can make or break it. In theory, you will not need to crop a well-composed photo, but realistically, you will probably find that cropping your image will help you focus on your subject better and get rid of any unnecessary surrounding elements. Using the Rule of Thirds to adjust your subject's placement within the frame will help you avoid cropping your image in places that look awkward. It's also important to keep in mind your image's compatibility with the platform you decide to post it on; for example, Instagram favors square-cropped images.
This is just a taste of what you can do with mobile imaging to get that perfect shot. One last piece of advice: Practice makes perfect! Just keep shooting. The best part about digital photography? It's free. You're only limited to the amount of storage space on your phone, so get out there and fire away!