So the holidays are coming up and one of the favorite staples of the season is capturing memories by photograph. Of course not all images require that professional photographer, many an image we seek to capture is but a snap shot of time. But that doesn't mean that cell phone photo can't pop and wow your friends and family-- because of course it will be shared on some social site ;)
So how can you make those photos taken on a cell phone pop? There are quite a few ways actually, far beyond the generic 'filters' that can be applied using the ever popular Instagram.
Composition will always be key whether you are a true blue photographer or just capturing your special moments with your phone or point and shoot camera. A compelling image always has an interesting composition-- rule or thirds is commonly used by photographers but a direct centered image is typical of common snap shots.
Crop instead of zooming in on your images. Especially when using a cell phone to take the image. Cropping preserves more image integrity than zooming does which if you pay careful enough attention to your device when zooming you can see the degradation live on screen.
Edit your photos vs applying a filter. Filters are great do not get me wrong, I even use them when sharing a quick image on Instagram, but editing, it can enhance an image far more than a filter ever will.
Creative Lighting-- aka ditching the flash. Flash on a cell phone tends to blow the lighting, over expose, and cause 'demon' eyes. Mostly it just isn't flattering for anyone, there are a variety of ways to take cute images that are wowing without using artificial light from a flash. Using the lights from the christmas tree, or a low lit lamp, or even the glow of a computer screen, anything can add light without subtracting from a cool image,
BUT sometimes to get that must have shot you may have to use flash and that is ok-- but remember editing can be more effective than hiding with a filter!
Be creative but don't over do things. Sun flares are incredibly awesome, look cool, and can make an image compelling but having a sun flare in every image you share over does it and bores your fans (or family and friends!) Trends are great but don't be afraid to make trends or break them!
Remember photography is about preserving a memory and a moment. It isn't exact and doesn't have to perfectly reflect how your eyes see it. A feeling, emotion, or a mere moment of utter beauty can make a perfect image even if it is abstract, a landscape, or someone staring into space lost in their own thoughts. Evoke response, look for a moment, and of course be present.
Happy shooting! :)