How do you make the best use of your phone camera and take that fantastic shot? Our guest writer Ipsita Barua shows you just that.

It isn’t a fable if you follow a few simple ground rules. Your beluga caviar or biryani might be the best in the world, but that zealous flash on your phone’s AUTO mode might not make it too palatable. So here’s to making food delectable, portraits pretty and landscapes lovely. Just as they deserve to be. 

There was a time when I was more committed to my Nikon DSLR than my spouse. Hanging like an albatross around my neck with another 5 kg of lenses on my shoulders, and a tripod strapped to my back, my holidays would always be a weighty affair. This continued for years until my camera bag got stolen in Stockholm. Although I had a few back-ups at home for comfort, my finest and best were gone. I shed a tear or two but pledged vengeance with my Samsung.

Currently, I own a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which offers me decent settings for my daily photos.

But the beauty of phone photography isn’t just on the phone you own or the portability you enjoy. It’s in the nuances.

Here are a few simple tricks discovered on a trial-and-error basis that I would like to share without claiming any expertise on the subject. To begin with, Snapseed is my trusted app to edit and enhance colours.

Select your Mode

In the age of YouTube tutorials, this is easy. Learn about the different settings on your phone camera. The simplest way to experiment is to click on the settings button (which looks like a gear/wheel) when you activate your camera. Try all the features. Notice how the colour, shadow and focus changes. Then find your favourite. The below was shot on the ‘Food’ Mode in my Camera.

Photo of a bowl of food

 

Frame it

Not after printing but while clicking. If your subject is a sailboat on a lake, don’t just aim and shoot. Look for flowers or vines or leaves that can add a natural frame to your photo. Sometimes even a rusty fence could be a stunning frame for an imposing castle in the distance. Look through your surrounding props like a detective. You’ll surprise yourself.

Photo of a boat framed by leaves

 

Do the photo yoga

Don’t always point and shoot at eye level. Tilt your camera, bend on your knees, lie down on that bed of dandelions, stretch your hands higher. Loosen up and notice how changing the angle makes your photos and subjects look so different. Clicking from a lower angle makes people and trees appear taller (particularly so in my case!). Upper angles work for food and side angles for portraits.

Photo of a a few people walking by the river with bubbles floating around them

 

Don’t be a sunflower

While clicking photos of people, peaks or pigeons, always keep the sun behind you. The light blinds you and darkens your photo. Sunsets are an exception. Face them and point at them with confidence and the best mode you’ve got. Better still, wait for 30 minutes after sunset and catch the blue hour for the most amazing natural colours for your photos.

Photo of two wine glasses

 

Always look back

Not a life lesson, but something I swear by during my daily photo walks. Wherever you are walking or driving or sitting, always look back. You’ll be surprised at how much happens behind your back, all too lovely to be captured.

Photo of a n autumn leaf

 

These observations and experiments come purely from my personal experiences. Every phone is different, so few of the things mentioned here might have to be customised. But the key is to explore and experiment.

For people residing in Zurich and the surroundings, I do photo tours where we have fun walking and taking pictures of beautiful landscapes in all seasons.

Express your interest on barua.ipsita@gmail.com and we’ll make it a photo date to remember.

About Ipsita

Photo of Ipsita BaruaA writer by interest, photographer by passion and wanderer at heart, that’s what defines Ipsita.

After moving to Zurich a little over than a year ago, she confesses that she’s still in awe of this beautiful country and spends most of her time discovering walking trails that make for Instagram-worthy photos.

You can follow her on https://cowbellsandcurries.wordpress.com/ and https://www.instagram.com/ipsitabarua/.

Disclaimer: Photos in this column have been provided by the individuals contributing to this column. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any financial/reputational/legal/misrepresentational impact or other obligations/liabilities that may arise from the content.