Hello! I hope you have been enjoying discovering great natural light and practising your composition. Today I am going to be helping you to get the best from your Smartphones. 

The cameras on our phones are amazing and just keep getting better and better. The best thing about them is that they are in our pockets and ready to use at a moment's notice. This is perfect for social media. 

But it's important to learn how to use them properly and to really practise with them, so that you achieve the best results you can. 

I use an iPhone 6 and I use this for nearly all my Instagram images. A few years ago I realised just how important the iPhone (and other smartphones) was going to become for photography. I was pretty useless when I first started taking photographs with it. I have been shooting through a view finder since I was 7, so composing and taking images with a screen took a lot of getting used to.

I set myself a challenge to take a photograph every day for a year, including the day I gave birth to my fourth child! I was in early labour and thought, well I might not have time later, so I must take a photography now! This 365 project really helped me and it's something I can highly recommend. 

Now I do take images pretty much every day and I absolutely love Instagram. But more about that on Monday! 

When I take images with my iPhone I nearly always use the camera app. I never use the Instagram camera as the quality is just not as good. I sometimes use Camera + and VSCO Cam. They are both great but I love the simplicity of the main camera app itself. 

When I am shooting for Instagram I always shoot square. I never shoot portrait (photo) and then crop afterwards. It is really important to try to compose for the format you want your image to be, rather than trying to compose with the idea that you will crop it later. 

If I am using my iPhone to photograph images for a blog post then I make sure that I compose square images as well as portrait and landscape images. For my blog post I will use the portrait (ideal for pinning to Pinterest) and landscape images and then I will use one of the square images to promote my blog post on Instagram. 

It's really good to practise styling, composing and shoooting both square and photo (portrait/landscape) images as often as you can. Even if you only end up using the square ones. It helps you to not get stuck doing everything one way. 

Focus and Exposure

There are two things that you need to do each time you take a photograph with your Smartphone. The first is to focus on your subject. You can do this by tapping the screen. If you are taking a flat lay image it is best to tap in the middle. 

And then you can adjust the exposure. On the iPhone you do this by tapping to focus and then you will see a sunshine. This means you can scroll up and down to change the exposure. The exposure is how light or dark the image is. In my workshops this is the point where everyone goes "oooooo...." and gets very excited. I hope there are lots of those noises happening around the world today as you all discover the sunshine! 

On an android phone you should be able to change the exposure too. It is usually a +/- sign and it is sometimes hidden in the extra options. If it is hidden and you have the change to add it to your main camera menu then do that as it is so helpful to be able to change the exposure. 

Editing

As a professional photographer editing plays an important part in the creation of my images. Editing makes my images look like my images. Subject and composition are obviously a really important part of this but then the editing really makes it an image that looks and feels like one of mine. 

I edit all my iPhone images with PicTapGo. It is my favourite app because it is straight forward to use but gives you so many options. So many options could be overwhelming but you can save your favourite 12 filters and also create recipes. 

When you use PicTapGo you can control how much of a filter you add and then add another one on top. You can add as many as you want to. I usually add 3-4 per image.

My favourites are Auto Colour, Lights On, Contrast, Brightside and the additional film filters that you can add on for a little extra. 

When you are happy with your image you can save it to your Camera Roll or upload it straight to a social media stream, like Instagram. 

Unfortunately PicTapGo is only available on iPhones at the moment. But I also recommend VSCO, Afterlight and Snapseed which are available for Android too. 

If you have any questions about your camera phones please ask in the Facebook Group. 

Have lots of fun practising with your Smartphones over the weekend. Remember to think about Natural Light, Composition, Focus and Exposure. And then practise editing them too. 

I can't wait to see them in the Facebook Group. xo