4 Tips for Would-Be Social Photographers

While I have blogged about the benefits of visual media in the past, I’d like to offer some tips based on my experience. Are you an amateur like me or would-be photog interested in doing more, fear not. You can excel.

1) Get an iPhone

Cherry Blossom Goodness

You don’t need a great camera to do this well, but you do need an iPhone. The iPhone has incredible stabilizing software, and with the new 8 pixel camera in the 4S the actual camera has gotten much better. I took the above photo using an iPhone 3G two years ago.

In addition to the camera, of course the iPhone lets you post immediately. So you can play on Instagram, post on Facebook, Twitpic, upload to Flickr, and upload to Pinterest using a variety of applications. The best part about taking a fun or relevant photo is sharing it!

2) Practice

The Potomac River in winter.
An iPhone shot I took walking in Old Town, Alexandria last winter

Take a photo everyday. Every single day. It helps your eye adjust to framing, lighting, and other critical aspects that contribute to getting a great capture.

There are many pro blogs like Scott Bourne’s Photofocus with more tips, but rest assured, practice makes you better. You don’t need to be a pro to be decent.

Share photos online so you can see which ones your network responds to the most. Instagram is a great network for this. There are so many good and bad photos alike out there, so feel no shame! Plus becoming a part of a community lets you see others’ work, and learn from them.

3) Use Editing Apps

12 Ton Elephant

The above image was edited with Adobe Express and SnapSeed. Camera+ is another good editing app that I rely on. Over lets you superimpose text on top of a photo. I always edit photos in apps even if it’s just a light brush up.

One word of caution with these applications. Many of them have filters with preprogrammed effects that will tint, center focus, adjust an image in a retro fashion, or another effect. Instagram is popular for this, as is Snapseed and Camera+.

Relying on effects can stop you from learning how to master your camera. The filters can be fun, but be careful. Try to get a good capture rather than simply use an effect to cover up a bad image.

4) Take Great Captures with a Better Camera

Soleil on Instagram and D-90

The above image is the unfiltered image of my daughter I took during her birthday with my Nikon D90. Below it is the filtered version I shared on Instagram.

While an iPhone can take good photos, a better camera can greatly help your effort. If your photos are getting the results you need, consider upgrading. You don’t need to get a $1,500 DSLR rig to up the ante.

There are many new micro 4/3 cameras–the next generation in digital cameras–that can help you take great pics. These cameras are super small, and very advanced.

I took this photo of the Jefferson Memorial last weekend with my Olympus E-P3, a micro 4/3 camera.

What social photography tips would you add?

A version of this post ran originally on GeoffLivingston.com.