How to be a Pro Photographer on an Amateur Budget

This video was shot using the new iPhone 6’s slow motion feature. Yep, that’s right, it was filmed on a mobile phone that you take wherever you go.

With this sort of power in our pockets, it’s no wonder ‘photographers’ are popping up left right and centre without any education or training. But a snap and a filter doesn’t make a photo.

If you enjoy photography but don’t have the finances to blow a bunch of money on it, check out these quick tips to shooting great stuff with what you have.

The Capture.

What’s in your hand?

The amount of out-of-the-box and easy to use pocket cameras with free, readily available editing software and instant access to online platforms is quite historically un-real.

It’s no surprise you can’t walk five minutes down a city street without seeing somebody whip out their phone to take a photograph and capture what’s going on.

So find what you have, and utilise it. You may not have the best camera, but the increasing demand for professional quality camera features in smart phones means that you can basically walk around with real camera features in your pocket.

Quick Tip:

Remember when taking a photo or video, try and keep your shot as level as possible. This has a huge impact on how the photo turns out.

The Subject.

What do you enjoy?

Find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s going out with friends, hiking, bike riding or just walking through the streets.

If you find something you enjoy doing, it will be a lot easier to take a better photo. You will naturally enjoy taking the photo and this will spark creativity to delve deeper into bringing life to your subject through the lens.

For those that enjoy the pool or the beach, there are copious amounts of underwater attachments for phones these days. I have seen amazing quality images of the ocean using waterproof cases specifically designed for action sports and underwater ventures.

Quick Tip:

Always let as much light in as possible. Pick a subject or object to focus on, and move around until you find the best balance between lighting, framing and making sure your subject is still the point of focus.

From Exploration to the Edit.

Always explore. Literally and figuratively.

Exploration will increase the amount of photos you take on your journeys. The aim is not to just shoot randomly and hope there’s a good one in the bunch, but to carefully think about the one shot you’re taking right now.

Over time your skills will begin to develop and you will be able to see what you want and get it straight away.

When it comes to editing, apps such as VSCO Cam, Afterlight and Luminance, as well as computer software like iPhoto are quick, easy, affordable (mostly free or a couple of bucks) and make it very easy to get great results.

Quick Tip:

When editing, don’t be afraid to explore crazy colour temperatures and tones. Just remember that most of the time, less is more. You don’t want your edit to be the feature piece, you want your edit to bring your photo to life and make it pop.

The Platform.

Expose your work.

Now, while I’ll admit some projects are best kept as learning experiences and for the creator’s eyes only, sometimes it can be very rewarding putting your work on an online platform. It allows you to get visual feedback and find consistencies in your work.

Sites like Instagram and VSCO Grid boast impressive amounts of iPhone creatives and social communities. So get on it, type notes and always learn from others.

Now bear in mind, smartphone photography is exactly what it is. It’s smartphone photography. There is no way an iPhone quality image is going to make the front cover of any high-end magazines anytime soon.

However, it is fun. And these tips still apply to real photography and pro cameras, so if you’re thinking of one day making the jump to pro from no-pro, start on your phone and you’ll never know where it may take you!


Always remember: your best camera is the one that you have with you.

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