CHRISTMAS is all about spending quality time with family, opening presents – and taking those perfect Instagram photos.
If you feel like your Insta game could use some work, you’re in luck: An expert has shared her top tips for capturing the perfect festival photos.
Speaking to The Sun, snapper expert Charlotte Graham recommends keeping the flash on and asking subjects NOT to smile to get the best shots.
Charlotte – who has more than 30 years of experience in television, film and photography – also urges Christmas lovers not to touch the screen to focus.
Avoid using flash
When it comes to flash, less is more in most cases.
That’s because smartphones these days are so good in low light, which means your flash is more likely to ruin a photo than to save it.
Firstly, the LED flash is useless at a distance, and using it up close can often result in light being reflected back to the lens.
Charlotte, 57, says: “Be very careful when using flash. “Use it too close to your subject and you might blow it away [overexpose] shot, shot.”
“It’s usually not necessary as most modern phones work well in low light.”
If your subject is in complete darkness and you’re a few feet away from them, of course flash can help, adds Charlotte.
The Sheffield-born photographer says it’s also good if you enjoy experimenting with light using creative flash.
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Do not ask the subject to smile
It sounds counter-intuitive, but try to avoid asking your subject to smile for a more realistic shot.
Asking for a cheesy smile, says Charlotte, can send people “falling into a strange space, mentally,” which can lead to awkward poses.
Instead, just let people interact with the camera the way they want so they can get a more realistic expression.
Of course, you or your subject may prefer a beautiful smirk in photos – that’s really up to you to decide.
Try continuous mode
A common technique used by photographers – specifically wildlife and paparazzi – is to use “burst mode”.
Also known as “burst mode”, the feature allows you to take multiple photos continuously in a fraction of a second.
You can then choose the best from dozens of photos, instead of relying on just a single photo, Hail Mary.
In the business, this is called “taking them down,” according to Charlotte, because the camera’s rapidly closing shutter sounds like the sound of a machine gun.
Burst mode is especially useful if your subject is moving, which makes it more difficult to compose a perfect shot.
On iPhone, you can enable burst mode by going to Settings > Camera > Use Volume Up for Continuous.
Next time you’re in the camera viewfinder, hold down your iPhone’s volume up button to take a burst of photos.
Avoid touch to focus
Tapping your phone’s screen to focus on something in the viewfinder is a common mistake.
While focusing on something in the frame can enhance the image, your phone may already be focusing on what it needs.
That’s because it has an autofocus engine that picks out what’s most important in the image long before you can.
As a result, manual focus is more likely to ruin your image than it is to improve the end result.
“In general, don’t touch to focus,” said Charlotte. “Let your phone’s camera do its thing, because autofocus is so good these days.”
Rule of thirds
A trick that every photographer knows is the “rule of thirds” – a technique that is sure to take your Instagram to the next level.
It’s the rule of photo composition that divides the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically, leaving you with nine segments.
Placing your subject along the dividing lines helps you to frame the photo in a way that is easy to see.
For example, your subject might take up 2/3 of the frame, leaving 1/3 blank.
Alternatively, the subject can fill one-third of the frame and leave two-thirds empty.
“In an ideal world, divide your photo in thirds to create a balanced photo,” says Charlotte.
Most smartphone cameras have the option to add a grid of lines to the viewfinder to help you with this.
To do that in iOS, go to Settings > Camera > Components > Grid.
Instagram also automatically places a grid in the app’s photo editing tool.
Be careful when zooming
Many modern smartphone cameras have powerful lenses that can magnify images using computer tricks.
While it may seem like a handy feature, it’s really better not to use zoom on a smartphone – or any digital camera for that matter.
That’s because instead of actually zooming in on anything, your camera’s digital zoom is effectively cropping the image, reducing image quality.
If you have no choice but to use it, Charlotte recommends keeping your device very still to get the best shot.
“Be sure to keep your phone very still, or the photo will be blurred or you will lose the subject,” she says.
“If possible, use a tripod to keep your device steady.”
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https://www.thesun.co.uk/tech/17002042/pro-photographer-tips-instagram-snaps-christmas/ Top tips for taking the perfect Instagram photos this Christmas – and common mistakes to avoid