Today I'm excited to share one super easy, super quick tip that will change the way you take photos on your phone! Mobile Photography is essentially micro photography, so thinking about it in that sense you will want to use common photo equipment in a portable, micro form. For example, you can use a small flashlight to add extra lighting to a dark image without using the dreaded flash. The flashlight would take the place of a bulky lighting kit. Even better than that, there is one genius thing that you can do that will solve a common photography problem and make your images look more appealing.
Keep a piece of white paper with you and use it as a source to create fill light! Often times when you are taking photos there can be either extreme highlights or harsh shadows. You can get rid of them by holding a piece of white paper next to the object being photographed and the light will reflect off of the paper back onto the object and "fill" in the dark/light areas. This is actually a photography technique, but is usually achieved by using Board Reflectors. They're quite large though, and who is going to carry one of these boards around with them all of the time? If you just make sure that you always have a piece of white paper with you, you can achieve the same result. Lets take a look at this in action. As a note, I didn't apply filters to these images, they were taken straight from my phone so that you can see the raw image with only the help of the fill light.
This image was taken without fill light from the piece of paper-
See how dark the image is, especially around the top and middle? It needs a more even distribution of light, and the shadow on the mug is just gross.
This image was taken with fill light from a piece of paper held up on the left side.
The image is brighter overall and the shadows have decreased! The mug looks so much better and you can see more of the pencil.
Here are the same images side by side-
This is my setup to achieve the shot-
Super easy! A rule of thumb is to hold the paper up across from the light source, so if the sun is shining in from the right, hold the paper up on the left. Depending on your light source and the look that you want to achieve, you may want to move the paper to a different location, so just play around with it until you get the results that you want!
Bonus Tip: You can use another piece of paper on the other side of the object to create fill light from both sides. This will brighten up the image even more and may require less post-photo edits which is what I'm all about! How will this decrease post-photo edits you ask? The light will be more evenly distributed across the scene which means you won't have to adjust highlights and shadows as much, just the overall exposure and contrast if needed.
Extra Bonus Tip: Don't have a piece of white paper handy? You can use a thick napkin or any other white object as long as it is large enough to bounce light off of.
I hope this tip will be useful for you and your mobile photography! If you liked this tip, tweet it out!