Member, Professional Photographers of America

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I Challenge You...

Decisions, decisions.  DSLR camera or smartphone camera?  Today's phones have awesome cameras compared to those of phone cameras just a few short years ago.  Editing those photos using apps is insanely easy!  So why do you even need an expensive DSLR camera if you already have a phone with an awesome camera?

For me, there is a difference between photos taken with a DSLR and those taken with a mobile device.  I take way more personal photos with my smartphone.  It is so much more convenient to pack around.  It's much smaller, much lighter, and much quicker.  However, when I am taking a photograph of something super important I choose to have my DSLR ready.  Why?  Well, it does take better photographs.  

Beyond this great debate, YOU make the photo beautiful...the person behind the lens is making that happen...not the camera.  Cameras are not magic.  They are machines that do what they are told to do. 

So...I challenge you to be more creative with you smartphone camera!  Use it for more than taking quick snapshots of your kiddos.  Every once in awhile play around with it's features and find beauty in something that surrounds you.  I have even compiled a short list of some tips to use during this challenge.

1.  Frame your photo.  Don't just point and shoot.  Actually put some thought into what you want the final product to look like.  Turn on the grid and frame the entire scene, not just the subject.  How do you want this to look when you post it on social media?  

2.  Lighting.  Some things to consider before you frame your photo deal with lighting.  Look around and find an area with good exposure and even lighting paying attention to avoid harsh shadows.  I've recently discovered the sky feature.  Game changer!  Use a flash to enhance the front part of your image while keeping the details of the background.  Just play around with it and have fun!

3.  Explore!  Get out and explore new areas.  When you find something that catches your eye, frame it, check your lighting, and capture it.  Imagine that you're taking the photo for the cover of a magazine.  What do you want others to see?  And make it happen!

4.  HDR.  If you're taking photos of nature or landscapes, HDR might be fun for you to experiment with.  HDR is a filter option that significantly adds more lighting and detail into your image.  Beware, this option is not often favorable when a person is your subject.

5.  Fun tricks.  Do a quick Google search for fun smartphone camera tricks.  There are a ton of them out there!  Check out this awesome video I found on YouTube!  

I hope you accept this challenge and have fun!  And remember, no matter what you use to take your photos, the most important element of a beautiful photo is the person behind the lens.