Mobile Photography & Film-Making For Beginners

The Rise of Mobile Photography

Several of you might already be familiar with the term photography, but what about mobile-photography? Mobile-photography refers to the artistic use of a mobile smartphone to take a photo of an object or person. Yes, that means the very same device you utilize to do daily tasks like taking business calls and browsing social feeds can also double as a photography tool (maybe yet the best you have ever owned).

I can bet Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (the first photographer on record), would have never thought that his invention was going to be the origin of an ever so changing occupation/hobby. As the years have gone by we have been gifted to capture truly precious moments on a small device, which is no bigger than a jean-pocket; that includes birthday videos, pictures, and a cluster of photographic art! Art can take many forms; like sketching, sculpting, and the list goes on! But the more popular choice these days have been photography and filmmaking! Imagine going on a Sunday stroll with a few friends, and conveniently you see your friend in an almost biblical pose with the mountain twilight in the background, isn’t that art? Not everyone has the luxury of carrying a Digital camera around, but why add all that extra weight when you have all you need on one single lightweight device; the smartphone. Along with new features and applications, gadgets and add-on technology were released to simplify possible problems like a blurry picture from zooming too much.

Over the past several years, our odd selfies have started to take more significance. We, as individuals, began focusing on the bigger picture; more on the definite value of life. By writing this I am not stating that any form of photography before a specific period is insignificant, I am simply just asserting that our focus has shifted to a more in-depth style of satisfaction; like the dainty charm of birthmarks, or the sweetness of creation. A more prominent number of selves started taking an interest in photography, for the uncomplicated reason being that they have access to a mobile-camera and the pure freedom to roam around. Thanks to modern technology, taking a crisp photograph of the mountain composition has never been easier, and can even make a beginner feel like a professional!

The rise of mobile photography and filmmaking has changed the way we see photography in general, but what can we expect in the future? The raw truth is
that what we have now will probably change again in the future. Mobile Photography and filmmaking is a flourishing enterprise and just like mobile phones advance and change, so will we and so will our expectations and the way we see the world. I know for a fact that we can only expect substantial changes from what is to come in the photography industry, whether it is a smartphone with 9-Ultra camera lenses or a flush change in ISO settings. Yes, mobile photography is on the rise, and it is rising fast.

Do you remember the time when you had to go out and buy a very expensive camera to be able to take high-grade quality photographs? If not, good for you! Photography and Videography are words that intimidate a lot of aspiring artists. There have been some misconceptions on “how to be a great photographer”, fortunately for most, there is a more convenient way of becoming a photographer and filmmaker. Mobile photography and filmmaking is a very fast developing enterprise, and why wouldn’t it be? If you are considering becoming an expert mobile photographer, and filmmaker, then this article is for you! Here we will guide you through the basic skills to help get your goals up on their feet.

Basic Terminology Of Photography And Film-Making

As we all know, every occupation and hobby has its terminology, but that does not mean that it has to be complicated and hard to understand. These are just a few photography and film-making terms to help you understand the basics like; depth, brightness, grain and contrast.

Aperture

Aperture refers to the size of the opening of the camera’s lens to let in light. It controls the amount of light it passes through, just like the pupil of an eye. But since we are working with a mobile smartphone, terms might confuse a few. Smartphones still have aperture settings, and you might have already noticed it in the past without knowing.

  • A lower F/number (F/5) would let in more light and would only be able to focus on what is in front of the camera, causing the background to blur (a shallow depth of field). This setting is ideal for portraits!

  • A higher F/number (F/16) would let in less light and will focus more on the background. Giving it a crisper look. (A Deeper depth of field). This setting is perfect for landscape photography. 

ISO

ISO refers to the light sensitivity of the camera, meaning the brightness of the photograph. This is an excellent tool to have, especially when there is little to no shade, or too much shade.

  • A lower ISO (80) is better to use where there is no shade. This helps to prevent the blinding effect you get when sunlight hits a piece of paper.
  • A higher ISO (1000) can be used in places where there is too much shade and also in darker rooms and corners. Take note that a higher ISO also increases the grain of the photo.
Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed is the setting on a camera that allows light to enter for a certain amount of time. It usually appears in the form of fractions of seconds (1/2 s or 1/500 s). A higher shutter speed allows you to “freeze time” without too much blur. The faster the shutter speed, the less blur. Take note that a faster shutter speed (1/1000), lets in less light, therefore causing a darker picture.

  • A slower shutter speed (1/4s) lets in more light, making the picture brighter. But at the same time, it can cause the picture to blur when an object moves.

  • A higher shutter speed (1/1000) lets in less light, making an image darker, but it is perfect for catching some action photos at a rugby game.
Gridlines

Gridlines are an option to help you balance out your shot. It consists of a series of horizontal and vertical lines. They will not show up on the photograph, for it is only to help you plan.

What Are The Minimum Requirements To Start?

Now that you have an idea of what balances a good photograph/film, there are some things you might need. Not all have to cost a fortune, and some you might already have lying around.

Smartphone

Not to state the obvious, but you are going to need a smartphone to be able to do mobile photography. To obtain the best results and minimum trouble, have a look at your smartphone’s camera specs. These should be available on google, but it doesn’t matter. As long as your smartphone can adjust the basic settings (manual) or even automatically, you should be just fine. And remember that there is always the option of buying some extra lenses and gear, which we will talk about in another Blog Article.

Lighting

Natural Light is the best light, but as we know, it is not always possible. Depending on what you are taking pictures of, a light can come in handy. Whether it be a ring-light for portraits or just a plain LED add-on. This handy tool can help enhance pictures taken in the dark.

Point Of View

A point of view (POV) defines how your audience experiences the visuals of videos. The right point of view can make an immense difference in filmmaking.

Focus

It is necessary to keep your photographs and videos focused, even if you intend on giving it a blur here and there.

Back-up Battery

It is essential to have an additional battery that can recharge a smartphone at least twice. So now no matter where you go, you know you’ll have enough battery life to be able to capture those moments in time.

Cloud Storage

New smartphone models have quite a bit of storage, but as we know, that will run out eventually. Or with modern life, a small drop or water-damage can be the loss of thousands of pictures and video material. It is best to invest in cloud storage, so no matter what happens to the device; your material will always be safe in the same place. Memory cards also work well, although most smartphones these days recommend a cloud account.

Editing Apps and Software

You might need to download or purchase a Photo editing app/software. These are fantastic when it comes to enhancing dull pictures, and not to mention better the good. Apps like VSCO, Snapseed, Prisma, Adobe Photoshop Express and Adobe Lightroom cc, make even the dullest of pictures look like a million bucks.

Tripod

In need of a little added stability? A tripod might be what you need! These three-legged Mechanical pieces will provide the perfect standstill picture or video that you have been yearning. In the near future, we will cover all equipment in a more detailed blog post.

How To Start:

Before the opportunity can come to start snapping the actual photos, you need to prepare your equipment and also yourself: 

  • Charge your phone, battery bank, and all other electronics.
  • Clean your lenses; it is never fun to have a dusty scratched lens. 
  • Make sure there is enough space for more pictures than anticipated

When the moment finally arrives to take that first snap, you will have to make sure that everything is in place!

Step 1: Set your camera! Look at the scene and area around you. Is there enough shade? Is it cloudy? What can you do to enhance the image? (Remember ISO, Aperture and shutter speed)

Step 2: Start taking pictures and video footage! The more you take, the higher are your chances of winning the perfect shot.

Step 3: Learn how to edit. Editing a photograph or video material can be scary, but don’t let it scare you away. There are millions of ways to enhance and manipulate photos and video material. Some photographers even add special effects!

Step 4: Get a designated folder or cloud for your material. It would be a shame if you lost all your work! And make sure to write down your password, in case you forget it.

Now that you have the basic steps on how to start your career/hobby, and keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Create something that is you and not the photographer next door. Your creativity can take you a long way.

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