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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How I Get The Perfect iPhone Photo: SITS Photography Challenge Days 1 and 2

For my birthday this year I bought myself a Nikon D3300. I've wanted a DSLR since high school but never really had the money saved to get one. Moving to Japan was expensive and moving around Japan was expensive and living in Japan is expensive. So it took me this long to buy one. Since I've gotten it I have tried my best to practice with it. Taking it to Vietnam and Cambodia, exploring around Sapporo, taking trips to surrounding villages. Mostly I just fiddle with the settings until it looks halfway decent and polish it in Photoshop.

Last week I got an email about the SITS blogging photography challenge and decided to give it a try. My time difference makes it a bit difficult to participate as I would like, since the challenges are usually posted right as I get to bed, but I am trying my best!

Day 1 was about composition, something I am familiar with thanks to the photography class I had in high school which spawned my desire to get a DSLR. And day 2 deals with phone photography, an area I am definitely lacking in thanks to only having an iPhone 4 (did I mention it took me six years to save for a DSLR? Yeah I ain't got money for new iPhones all the time). Thankfully I'll be getting the newest iPhone this September when I move back to America. You don't know how much I am looking forward to getting it! I can't get iOS 8 on this, which means many apps I want I can't have (VSCOcam being one that many people use to edit photos). Not to mention it's just small and slow. It's been a great phone but four years is definitely the most it will last.

I had some free time at work today (which really isn't anything new... Six days left!!!) and decided to try and play with my phone a bit. Japanese phones actually have permanent shutter noises thanks to all the perverts but I downloaded a manner camera which silences it, though it's a bit slow and I think the photo quality lessens. Another reason I don't use my phone much!

I started by setting up what I wanted to shoot. I decided on a colorful image of my pens with some Sailor Moon stuff thrown in because... I like Sailor Moon.

The background was a bit boring so I tinkered it a bit, then decided to work on the angles that I was using.

I really liked going from nearly a top down point of view, but the background was too cluttered for that.

I decided to change the angle to more of a sideview, and began snapping away.

I didn't really like the reflection of the lights on the table, so I tried to get some without them in it.

Which proved difficult when trying to get a somewhat decent composition going... 

So I ended up dealing with them and changing the background to be a bit darker, and this is my final image! 

You can see a higher quality image by clicking on the photo!

 As you can see, it takes a lot of different shots to get the "perfect" picture. When you watch shows like Top Model and the contestants have like 100 frames to get one good image this point is really drilled home. So many little details go into making a great picture, and you really can only learn what those details are by practicing. Phone cameras are a great way of playing with different angles and backgrounds, as the limited settings narrow your focus down a lot. You're no so concerned with ISOs and f-stops and apertures and just really focused on the image you're taking a picture of. I think great photography comes from the ability to understand what you're taking a picture of, and not using fancy settings and editing to mask what flaws it may have.

What is your photo taking process like? Do you pay attention to these little details like I do? How many pictures do you usually take before you find the right one? Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear about it!!

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