Using a phone camera is great! You don’t have to worry about camera settings, you can edit your images without transferring them externally and you can immediately load or post your image right from your phone to your social media accounts. This is an enormous benefit when trying to stay in the moment and share bits of your life with your audience.

BUT (that’s a big but) phone cameras do have their limitations and I recommend that every image you post has some basic editing applied before you share it. I touched on this briefly in my post 5 tips for the perfect flat lay. In this post, I’ll go into more detail on why you should consider editing your images before you share them.

Here are my top three reasons:

1. Exposure

Cameras (even DSLR’s) want to balance out all the bright and dark parts of a scene to make the overall image an average grey. You may have noticed this when taking photos on white backgrounds that they come out grey, or when taking photos of a dark scene it brightens everything and makes the image grainy. You can control these settings when you are using a professional camera in manual mode but your control is severely limited when using auto or your phone. (Note that there are apps that will allow you to manipulate the settings on your phone in a similar way to a DSLR. This blog is about making photography easy though and I don’t want to wallow in the tech speak of f/stops, ISO etc. If you want to know more about that then drop me a message! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.)

When using your iPhone you can override this average exposure when you are taking the shot (I’m sure you can do this on non-iPhone devices too but as I don’t have one I can’t be sure of the steps! My sincere apologies to my non-Apple readers.) Tap on the screen to see a little sun displayed with a line extending above and below it. Simply slide your finger up to make your image brighter or slide it down to decrease the exposure.

Ok, so this post is about why you need to edit and here I am telling you how to do it when you take the shot. You’ll notice though that in the image on the right (where I have increased the exposure) a section of the bedspread has become completely white and the candle blends into that section. When I edit the image after I have taken it using the cameras auto exposure, I can keep this detail whilst enhancing the overall brightness.

2. Zoom/Crop

If you have tried to zoom on your phone you may have noticed the image start to get grainy and pixellated. Ergh, I hate it. So I don’t zoom. This means I am restricted in what I can and can’t include in the image composition. (Composition is how all the elements and objects are positioned in your frame. I will write a post in the coming weeks about compositional techniques but there are some more tips in this post 5 ways to style your flat lay).

Here’s where cropping can help. I compose my shot, knowing I will crop out some of the things in it that I don’t want or that I find distracting. If you crop out the majority of your image and only keep a small portion, you will lose some image quality, so keep that in mind. In the scenes below I was limited to how close I could get to my subjects (railing, road). Rather than zoom to get rid of the cars in the bridge photo or the air conditioning unit in the window shot I cropped them out after I had taken the image.

In the process of cropping, you can straighten up any lines that should be horizontal or vertical  (think sloping horizons – one of my pet hates!).

3. Brand Style

An important consideration when you are posting photos is your brand. Does the image boost your brand story or let it down? Here editing can help you stay cohesive. Consider the two examples below. These are a collection of recent images from my personal Instagram account (heyhey_itsaj). The first grid has the raw images (straight out of the camera or SOOC) and the other grid as I posted them on Instagram, edited in a consistent look. While the composition of each image is the same, the overall cohesiveness isn’t as effective. As a grid, it isn’t as impressive as the edited versions. It also doesn’t represent my brand.

I hope these reasons have you thinking more about how you edit your images; to be stronger as individual posts and overall to help with your branding. If you need to know where to start I’ve shared my favourite apps and what I use them for here.

Do you edit your images? Or do you snap and share?

If you want to learn more about phone photography, register your interest for the next Photography and Social Media Masterclass. It’s coming up and spots are limited. Dates will be announced to those on the email list first so get in.