Step 1: Never use the Kelvin filter.
Whether they’re holiday snaps or your millionth selfie, your photos need to look good. Not for anyone else. Just because having photos on your phone that are poorly-lit and blurry as heck doesn’t make for great memories.
Now, I’m feeling benevolent and also someone asked me to write this article so I’m going to tell you how to make the photos on your phone look good.
1. Come on, get appy
OK, sure. You can use the standard filters on Instagram if you really want. (Except Kelvin. I forbid it.) OR you could experiment with the other options Instagram offers, and fiddle around with elements such as exposure, saturation and sharpness.
A lot of these apps will have the same basic functions – filters, ability to edit aspects of images, etc. But each one has a different aesthetic that may or may not suit you. For example, VSCO is more natural, and A Color Story is great if you are prone to living inside a rainbow.
Some of them may cost a dollar or so (the HORROR!). But if you pony up and maybe buy the three-pack of chicken nuggets instead of the six-pack next time, you should be fine. Just a suggestion. Not telling you how to live your life.
2. Stop being such a head case
Your phone case can look pretty AND help your selfie game. Or it can just help your selfie game. Phone case beauty is subjective, I know.
Just don’t go into some dank pond to take photos because no one really wants to see what it’s like under the surface. Not even you. Especially not you.
3. Lens go
Macro, fish-eye, wide-angle – you can get plenty of little lenses to clip straight onto your phone. Go for something cheap and cheerful like the ones at Cotton On or go all-out and stop by your local camera/tech store to have a browse.
Sure, those ones are bound to be more expensive but they may just be worth the dough and someone who is trained in the dark art of making photos look great will be able to give you some personal help.
4. Shoot first, ask questions later
Take a million photos. Pick your favourites. Edit them. Show the world. I mean, yes, your storage space may suffer from all the photos on your phone but I’m not here to teach you how to manage that part of your life. I’m here to make your photos look better.
The take-500-photos technique (official terminology, FYI), is something I use all the time with a DSLR. You can get a bunch of different angles and then just crop them later to suit your needs.
Taking that many photos gives you options. Your photos may look damn spiffy while you’re taking them, but there’s nothing worse than realising later that there’s some weird reflection going on in your breakfast shot, especially if it would’ve disappeared at a slightly different angle.
5. Pick up the phone
Sometimes you just have to embrace the terrible quality of photos on your phone. Sometimes that’s all you CAN do until you upgrade to something a bit better, especially if you’re still riding out the freedom of buying top-up credit for your iPhone 3GS.
I get it. I really do. But phone cameras have upgraded since 2009 and maybe it’s time you do too. Apple, Samsung and Google have all acknowledged that smartphones are being used more for photos than calls these days, and they’re creating products to match.
Or you could just buy an actual camera and keep your old phone until the eventual apocalypse and/or nuclear winter strikes. That is also a valid choice.