Christmas is a time to remember – the family are together, the festivity is high, and having an embarrassing image of your sibling asleep in a party hat is always going to come in handy.
With smartphones having replaced traditional cameras though, we’re all becoming a bunch of lazy photographers.
Instead of waiting until the middle of February to develop Christmas photos only to find out your thumb covered the lens in half of them, we can now snap, see, share, repeat in a matter of seconds.
According to professional photographer and creator of some of the original Instagram filters, Cole Rise, however, ‘everyone is now a photographer in their own right’ (stock image)
HOW TO TAKE BETTER PHOTOS ACCORDING TO A PRO
Professional photographer and brains behind some of the original Instagram filters, Cole Rise, has shared his advice on taking pictures with MailOnline.
These are the tips you should follow to ensure you capture super shots this Christmas.
1. Learn what all the setting and features on your phone’s camera do.
2. Try and frame your photo, using the background to enhance the main point of focus.
3. Download photography apps to enhance your camera’s core features.
4. Think outside the box and use feature in ways they weren’t designed for.
5. Don’t just point and shoot, work unusual angles to get a unique perspective.
6. Just because you have dozens of filters at your disposal doesn’t mean you have to use them all at once.
7. When sharing your photos, don’t overdo it. This will make them all feel less special.
If that’s the case, it’s time to up your photo game and start getting the best shots possible. How? We asked Cole to find out.
1. GET TO KNOW YOUR KIT
Whether your handset’s an iPhone or an Android, first you need to get to know your phone’s camera.
Hit that camera ‘Settings’ button and start taking a look at the options hidden within.
Each phone will differ, but they’ll be a few ever-present additions.
One of these, HDR, will help enhance your shots in a variety of settings.
Taking a number of stills simultaneously, each with a different exposure level, HDR mode instantly merges these together.
The result is a photo with more pop and colour.
Bright areas will be brighter, darks darker, and previously unseen nuances will appear in the middle.
2. THINK BEYOND THE PHOTO
It’s easy to look through the screen of your phone, press the shutter button and think ‘yeah, that’ll do’.
Try building out the image beyond just the point of focus though.
Framing is key, and bringing elements of the background or surrounding area can help build a narrative beyond the static shot.
According to Mr Rise, that’s key to a good shot.
‘Think of the story behind the photo,’ he told MailOnline.
‘Every photo is a story in itself, it’s not just an image. It has to say something.’
Try building out the image beyond just the point of focus though. Framing is key, and bringing elements of the background or surrounding area can help build a narrative beyond the static shot. Pictured is one of Mr Rise’s photos for Etihad Airways
3. USE THE RIGHT APPS
The stock camera app on your phone will get the job done, but it’s not going to give you all the bells and whistles you can unearth with separate apps found in the app store.
There are literally thousands to choose from but, chances are, there’s already a couple, like Instagram, on your phone to enhance your snaps.
If you want to take things to the next level though, apps like VSCO and Snapseed are great additions.
Both pack stylish designs with easy editing tools that can help you enhance new shots while transforming your existing snaps into mini works of art.
4. PUSH BACK AGAINST THE RULES
Just because these apps offer guidance on how to best use these enhanced features, doesn’t mean you’re confined to those uses.
Sometimes going against the grain and trying something completely new can yield great photographic results.
‘I love the misuse of tools,’ said Mr Rise. ‘I think that’s the best gauge success if people are misusing something.’
He added: ‘Just get as creative as possible because there can’t be a wrong way to use these tools.’
5. LOOK FOR UNUSUAL ANGLES
Anyone can point a camera at something and take a picture.
To ensure you’re taking better photos than your mates though, you need to start looking for new and unique angles.
Using a recent shoot with Etihad Airways as an example, Mr Rise explained how getting up-close with a plane allowed him to capture a little-seen angle on these giant machines.
Using a recent shoot with Etihad Airways as an example, Rise explained how getting up-close with a plane allowed him to capture a little-seen angle on these giant machines
HOW TO USE FILTERS
‘In terms of filtering, I don’t want photography to be covered, I want it to be more elevated,’ pro photographer Cole Rise told MailOnline.
‘It’s like information loss when you put too much over the top of it. If you use the Instagram filters now, you can slide them all the way down to zero if you want so they are barely visible. Subtlety is really important.’
‘I have a rule when I edit a photo,’ he explained.
‘I slide everything down to 50 per cent and see how it looks. Try and get it to as original as possible and build up from there.’
‘Getting underneath a plane was absolutely incredible.
‘Your photos should take people along for a ride,’ he explained.
The important point is to start looking at things differently.
6. TAKE IT EASY ON THE FILTERS
The rise of Instagram marked the death of the untouched image, and now it’s hard to find a smartphone snap that’s not been filtered beyond all recognition.
When the man who created some of the original Instagram filters is telling you to take it easy on the overlays though, you know it’s time to take note.
‘In terms of filtering, I don’t want photography to be covered, I want it to be more elevated,’ said Mr Rise.
‘It’s like information loss when you put too much over the top of it.
‘If you use the Instagram filters now, you can slide them all the way down to zero if you want so they are barely visible.
‘Subtlety is really important.’
So what filtering advice does Mr Rise offer?
‘I have a rule when I edit a photo,’ he explained. ‘I slide everything down to 50 per cent and see how it looks. Try and get it to as original as possible and build up from there.’
Mr Rise says that nowadays the quality of a photo is probably based on the number of ‘Likes’, ‘Retweets’ or ‘Shares’ it receives (stock image)
7. SHARE RESPONSIBLY
How do you decide on the quality of a photo?
Nowadays, that’s probably based on the number of ‘Likes’, ‘Retweets’ or ‘Shares’ it receives.
This is all the more reason to share responsibly and don’t let your best shots get lost in a sea of spam.
‘For me, posting one or two photos a day is enough’ Mr Rise explained.
‘You don’t want to bombard a feed and fall into those social faux pas.
‘It’s down to self-editing.
‘There’s a whole library of photos that aren’t worth sharing.’