Capture Artful Moments With Your iPhone | Day 3 of 10


Photography is all about light. It’s the essence of an image. To make beautiful artful images, you need to learn to see and understand how to use and capture light. Notice where the light falls on your subject. For example, is the main light source coming from the front, side, or back of the scene? What type of light is it?

Three main categories of light include: natural light (from the sun, moon, and stars), artificial light (including household bulbs, studio lights, fluorescent office lights, street lights, neon signs, LED, and flash), and a combination of the two. Is the light hard (unfiltered, high contrast, midday light) or soft (filtered, low contrast, shaded light)?

Before you photograph a scene, study the light. Walk around your subject. How does the scene change with the angle of light? 

For these two exercises, make sure your flash is turned off. Remember to tap on your subject to lock in exposure.

For outdoor portraits, position your subject at the edge of shaded areas so they have a nice soft light falling on their face.

For indoor scenes with darker areas, move your subject as close to the light source as possible (such as a lamp or window).

Capture your subject using different types and directions of light. Keep practicing this and see how using light this way changes your photographs. 

Capture Artful Moments With Your iPhone | Day 2 of 10

What is a photograph without light? Photographs depend on light. By controlling the exposure yourself, you can dramatically change the mood, tone, and look of your photos.


When you point your iPhone (or smartphone) at a subject, your camera averages all the light in a scene and automatically sets the exposure, oftentimes resulting in a photo that doesn’t reflect what you saw or imagined. What the camera can’t see is how to use that light artistically. By manually controlling the exposure, you adjust how bright or dark an image should be. 

Too much light creates a bright overexposed image. Conversely, not enough light creates a dark underexposed image. 

Tap the subject of your photo and a box with a sun icon next to it will appear. Click on the sun icon to adjust the exposure up or down to let in more or less light. The square icon also determines where the camera automatically focuses. Tap and hold the box to lock focus and then slide the sun up or down to adjust exposure. For photos with multiple people in the frame, tap on the small box that appears over each person’s face to make sure everyone is in focus.

Capture Artful Moments With Your iPhone | Day 1 of 10

It’s a well known adage that the best camera is the one you have with you. I happen to agree and want to help you learn how to make better photos with your iPhone (or whatever smartphone you use) over the next ten days. Each day, I will post a new lesson here that will help you improve your photography skills. Art + Science = Magic.

Today’s lesson comes straight from my photo workshops and while it may be unconventional, since you won’t need an actual camera today, you will need to tune-in into your senses in order to see on a deeper level. 


Learn how to visualize a photo. Put down your camera phone. Look at the scene around you. Notice where the light and shadows fall. Close your eyes for a minute. What do you remember of the scene you just saw? How did you feel? With your eyes still closed, visualize how you would capture the scene. 

Open your eyes. Use your hands to mimic a camera frame. Make a “u” shape with each pointer finger and thumb and then overlap them crosswise to create a handy “frame card” you can access anytime. Imagine capturing the scene with your hand camera. Be creative. Move your camera all around. Change your perspective. Move in close to your subject. Pull back from your subject. 

You can use this technique to help you frame a scene before you pick up your camera. 

Remember, photographs are made by learning how to see and express emotions in a moment (as well as understanding the basic mechanics of using your camera). So take the time to work on this first step in paying attention to a moment.

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