Take Great Pictures without a DSLR Camera or Photoshop

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This is actually a repost from my blog on my graphic design site, but I thought it might be helpful for all of those naturals taking photo-journals of their hair or that are aspiring to have a blog of their own, but picture quality is an issue.  If you guys would like more posts on the subject of photography, just let me know and I will be happy to share more information that might help you go from average to great. :)

As a photographer, people often exclaim about my photos and how did I get them to look so great.  My usual answer is great equipment, a great eye and a little Photoshop magic.  Occasionally, however, my reply is “I just shot these with my iPhone camera.”  Queue the “oooh’s and ahh’s.”  Although I feel the best photos can be captured with a DSLR or SLR camera and the right lens combo, I do believe that good images can also be achieved using some of the smartphones that are on the market today and even some point and shoot cameras.

Most people think that you have to have Adobe Photoshop to edit and manipulate digital photos in a way that will make them awesome, but that is not always the case.  The first rule to taking a good picture is just that…take a good picture.  Make sure that the lighting is good (using natural sunlight will give you some of the best photos when using a point in shoot camera or smartphone) and try to keep the camera still.  This will keep little Billy from looking like he was streaking by as fast as lightning when he was really standing still.  Also, you want to fill the frame. Photos shot from far away are hard to see and very uninteresting.  I know you really like the shoes that Aunt Martha had on, but shooting her entire body, will make for a very boring photo.  Perhaps you can shoot her from the hips up and then take a separate shot of a close up of her shoes to collage together later.

If you follow all of the above suggestions, you will end up with some really great selections to start from.  Next you will need to go through and narrow down the ones you really, really like.  Trust me, most photographers, even myself included, do not give clients every photo we shoot.  I really don’t think you want to see six shots of the same picture of your uncle Joe with slightly different angles of his head turned.  Throw away the ones you do not like or are too much like another photo.

Next you can start the editing process.  If you took your photos on a point and shoot, you can use a free program online called Gimp at www.gimp.org to edit your photos.  If you shot your photos on a smartphone, you can find a ton of apps in the Google Play store or the Apple App Store to edit your photos and output them to sites like Shutterfly, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook and others.  On my iPhone, I actually use an app called ProCamera to take and edit my photos.  The last I checked, it was $0.99 in the app store and I can not only take great photos by controlling the white balance and where the focus point is, but I can also edit the photos within the app and set a self timer to take pictures of myself.

Here are a couple examples:





With the advent of tablets, such as the iPad, you can now take your photo editing from the small screen of your point and shoot camera or smartphone to the larger screen of your tablet device.  Most Android tablets have USB ports or SD card ports to add a memory card that is loaded with images.  On the iPad, I had to buy an additional device to connect into my charging port to allow me to insert my camera’s SD card.

These tips are not only great for someone who is looking for an alternative to a pricey DSLR or Photoshop, but wants great images, but also for someone like myself that doesn’t want to carry around a lot of gadgets when shooting on location or just on vacation.  I shot my whole four day trip to Miami with just my iPhone and often times having my iPad handing when shooting an event has been a great way to show guests their photos on the fly.

Let me know if you would like more tips on taking better pictures!





Freelance Graphic Designer, Lifestyle Blogger, Natural Hair Enthusiast and Fitness Convert...yeah, I wear a lot of hats. :)

  • http://www.fleurdecurl.com Kimba

    Just when I thought I had too many apps, I just downloaded ProCamera. LOL. I really love these types of posts!

    • http://www.naturalartmaven.com NaturalArtMaven

      Lol, yes, one can never have too many apps! I try to give out tips, tricks and apps for business, marketing and photography on my design blog. If there is an interest in those types of things, I will do a few reposts here.