Instagram Photographer Brenton Clarke Shares 10 Tips for Amazing iPhone Photos
Published on November 18, 2015
by Brenton Clarke Little
With over a quarter of a million followers on Instagram, photographer Brenton Little Clarke (@brenton_clarke) has garnered attention for his stunning travel and landscape photos. One look at his Instagram feed reveals careful studies of light, shadow, and sharp attention to details in color and composition. The photos are so stunning that it's almost hard to believe he shoots it all with just his smartphone. Adorama Learning Center asked Brenton to share his best iPhoneography secrets so you, too, can start taking pictures like a pro--using just your smartphone.
10 Tips for Amazing iPhone Photos
- Find Good Light
Lighting is key. I typically shoot only with natural light. Granted, the best time of the day for that is during what most people know as 'Golden Hour' (sunrise in the a.m. until early-mid morning and then again in the afternoon about an hour before the sun goes down). However, several styles of photography utilize harsh mid-day light possibly even with a flash and this can be done well, just trickier unless you’re really going for that style. Mind the shadows.
- Composition is Critical
In addition to light (and just like in art school), composition is probably the most important thing about photography. Balance, ‘the rule of thirds,’ harmony in color, lights, shadows, rhythm, and negative space are all important things to factor in when looking through your viewfinder-- or in this instance your smartphone screen. Look around to see how lines intersect, raise or lower your phone, climb up on something, and see how perspective may garner a totally different appeal.
Just like composition, the frame in which the viewer sees the image can be just as important. Suppose you are standing in a scenic spot, but there are tree in your way, you may be frustrated that you can’t see past them. However, those very trees may be a great natural frame for the subject or background — making the image more interesting.
- Familiarize Yourself with Your Surroundings
Get out and explore right around where you live. Sure, going to locations far away are great, especially if they’re more interesting than where you may live, but when opportunities arise, you may not have time to travel, and you’ll be ready with a location in mind.
- Keep it Simple
Never over-think it. Less truly is more. A simple clean background or blank wall allows subjects to stand out and not be cluttered. This can work in nature, too, with a simple horizon line, like a backdrop of trees of similar color or texture, or even a sky or open field.
- Be Yourself
People love to engage or be pulled into things…even with an image. I’m not saying that your caption on Instagram needs to be a paragraph or two (but it can be if that’s what you do). The way you see things is completely original. Everyone may end up seeing your content on a screen or on a print, but the eye you have and voice you convey are uniquely yours.
Editing can bring the image you have to life. It can also kill your work. Editing is usually where people find a style or voice for their content. But be careful to not overdo it. An image should always be able to breathe and speak for itself. The content or moment captured will always outweigh your “best” editing job in post. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are at editing, the image at its rawest, unedited should still be able to stand alone and be great.
- Content > Gear
The iPhone, as well as many other smartphones on the market today, can be an incredible tool for capturing an image. But always remember, it’s not about the gear, it’s about the content you’re creating -- and as they always say, “the best camera is the camera you have with you.”
- Look for inspiration in unlikely places.
Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut or creative slump. Following people on any social media channel isn’t a bad thing, but trends happen and are forgotten faster than they spawn. Get out and go somewhere you’ve never been, and if you can’t do that, just walk around the block or ride down a new road. I’m sure you’ll find something you never knew was there.
- Try New Things
Finally, be bold. With the rate in which information moves today, the risk has a low cost, but the impact can be huge. We can take photographs and capture images faster and easier than we’ve ever been able to in history. So, be creative, don’t settle, and take more risks -- what do you have to lose?