Positioning yourself as the center of attention at any party is as simple as waving your hands and acting the fool. Getting yourself noticed online, as in Facebook (or other social networks), however isn’t nearly as simple–though owning a Sony Xperia™ ion might help. That being said, it takes effort, fortitude, curation, and in many circles status updates complemented by photos that have to stand above the rest. But before we get started, please keep in mind that you’ll need to walk a fine line between bragging and passively passing on your experiences to your friends, family, and if you’re lucky enough, subscribers. So make sure to err on the side caution when you post a photo of you and a celebrity, otherwise a coworker, brother, or a friend might feel slighted.
Pictures, pictures, pictures. Just like on sites such as Reddit, the net has an appetite for photos. Seriously, who has time to read any more? 95% of the time we only post pictures on our Facebook fan page (with a small excerpt). The result? A lot more “likes”. Pictures, as they say, are worth 10,000 words, though many have argued it’s 1,000 words. Nevertheless, pictures attract far more attention in Facebook’s newsfeed and allow people to “get in and get out” without spending more than a few seconds of their busy day.
First, make sure you’ve got a good camera. Most point and shoot cameras will suffice in this case, especially for the web. But let’s be realistic, the majority of people are now taking photos with their smartphone, hence why Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion. Many smartphones on the market today offer 8MP or better cameras, but there are only a few that truly perform. We recently had a chance to play with Sony’s Xperia ion, which boasts a 12MP camera–and suffice to say, we were impressed. But hardware and software aren’t the only important factors in a good photo. Composition is an intricate part of the game, and that’s why Instagram took off so rapidly. The app offers a wide array of filters that can make any pic look more palatable. However, if you want to truly capture the essence of something you’ll want perspective, consideration to lighting, and angle (among other things).
Perspective is simply how you want viewers to see your photographs. Take for instance a picture of a flower. You could simply stand back and capture the whole array of petals, but the finer details, such as the texture of the flower’s petals won’t be present. The alternative? We recommend trying to capture closes ups. You’ll achieve more texture in the shot and produce an image that plays more to the senses. Another example is a photo of friends. Instead of snapping photos of people posing for the camera, click the shutter when they’re not looking and shoot over people’s shoulders, perhaps with an ear in the foreground, or from a low angle with a candle glowing in the forefront of the photo. The options are endless, but the key here is to shoot from unorthodox spots, and the more you practice the more unique photos you’ll achieve.
Lighting, needless to say, we’ll play a big roll in the quality of your photos. Since we’re largely looking at taking photos with a smartphone camera, you won’t be able to capture a picture at the dead of night, at least of objects that are far away. So that being said, you’ll want to be close to your subjects or objects at night, and use the phone’s LED flash. In the case of the phone, and many other smartphones, you can tap on the screen selecting darker areas of the scene. This will cause the phone’s camera to increase the exposure, but keep in mind if the lighting is equal all around, or your subjects are the brightest section in a photo, it won’t make a huge difference. Generally speaking, when taking photos during the day, or in brightly lit scenarios, make sure the light source is always behind you. But you could very well make the light in front of the camera work to your advantage. Just like with a dark shot, you can tap the screen selecting the brightest spot of the scene, and it will ratchet down the exposure. Alternatively, tapping a lighter part might cause an interesting exposure and add a nice flare to the picture. Again, it’s really a question of trial and error and the type of effect you want captured in your image.
There is a rule of 3rds in photography. You don’t necessarily have to subscribe to it, but if you imagine the photo split into 9 boxes, your subjects or object can sit on any of the boxes intersecting lines. Generally speaking you want the subject to sit on either the lower left or right intersections of the grid for most photographs. It’s not an absolute rule though and there are plenty of reasons to break it, especially if the object’s size or distance warrants it–but it’s still a good rule to follow to generate quality photos and begin to produce a strong foundation for your photography. Furthering that concept is the angle your image is shot at. There is no reason you need to shoot high definition video or photographs from a dead straight angle. In fact some of the world’s most famous auteurs are known for shooting things at a strange angle. Experiment with high and low angle shots or even at a Dutch angle to create unique perspectives. Assess your images from these angles and see what works, as sometimes too much of a high or low angle can provide the people or subjects in the image an unflattering look.
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