Cover Your Tracks

Photos and photo blogs are sometimes even more effective than articles as you pictures can inspire, engage, shock, and educate.

Text of the video below

You don’t need a professional camera to take great photos. In fact, a lot of times your phone can deliver some amazing pictures.

  1. Try to hold your camera lengthwise (called landscape mode) for group shots, events, places, etc. it means you can fill more of a website page with your photo. Portrait shots (taller rather than longer) are good for well, as it says in the name – portraits.
  2. As a FGM focused website is dealing with a lot of sensitive issues, there are some cases where photos might not be appropriate. Or someone might not want to be featured in a shot. Always ask for subject’s permission and if possible, have it in writing somewhere (even a FB message) that that person is ok with you using their image on a website. If in doubt, don’t use it.
  3. However if there is a great group shot you’d like to use and you don’t get permission from one or two people, you can use free apps like PhotoEditor to blur out faces to ensure people’s privacy is protected.
  4. The Rule of Thirds: Trust us, this works! Have you ever seen a photo on a website and thought -that just looks professional? It might be the camera and the lighting but a lot of it has to do with how you line up your shots. All the Rule of Thirds means is that you divide your phone screen in to thirds when taking a photo (either horizontally or vertically). Instead of having say, a person directly in the middle of the phone’s screen, try framing them so they’re standing along one of the three lines in the grid. It will make for more interesting shots. Try lining up shots by the rule of thirds and before long, your eye will adjust to what makes for good composition and what doesn’t.
  5. Light is your friend! Professional photographers and cinematographers know how much of an impact good lighting makes on an image. Sun shining directly from behind someone? That’s going to be a blurred image. But if you start to develop a good eye for good lighting, your photos will look amazing.  If possible, avoid shooting outside on overcast days (in Britain this might be a challenge!) as it tends to make images look flat and a bit dull. The same goes for indoor fluorescent light (you know, the type that’s always in your home room at college). As a rule, look for light that has direction and colour – i.e. light at sunset coming at an angle. If this is hard to come by you can have fun playing around with artificial light. If you’re doing a portrait shot and have a lamp nearby, adjust it so it’s flattering to the subject. Also, you can sneakily use a piece of white paper to “bounce” light off and on to a person’s face like so: It’s subtle but it makes for a better photo.
  6. Try to look for interesting angles or ways to line up the shot.
  7. If you’re taking pictures of people and have a chance, take the time for a brief chat and get them comfortable with your presence. You’d feel better having a friend snap a photo of you than a complete stranger so be friendly, unobtrusive and let people adjust to your presence before you whip out your camera and start taking photos.
  8. Finally, if you’re using photos that you didn’t take but are perfect for a blog, listical, etc, always make sure that you mention the photographer somewhere on the page. Typically, when photos are used for website publication, the editor might write “Courtesy of Photographer Bob, 2015 right under the image. The Youth Moderator will help you with this but just to make sure you don’t get in trouble, always use this rule.
  9. Having said that if you want to protect your own pictures, you can always add something called a watermark. A watermark is a little stamp, often your name, which you can add to a photo once you download it to a computer. These programs are free and let you add a watermark so that no one uses your photos without your permission or if they do, it’s clear who took them.
  10. As clichéd as it sounds, practice makes perfect. The great thing about smart phones or digital cameras is you can take as any photos as you want and just delete the bad ones. After a little while of snapping away you’ll find that you start to develop a good eye for what works, what doesn’t, and what makes for an interesting photo. The more photos you take; the more of a portfolio or collection of images you can build which is a great way to show your work to people.
  11. Accessories: there are tons of accessories you can buy for your Smartphone if you want to get fancy like lenses and tripods. If you’re starting to get REALLY in to your photography thought it might be worth thinking about getting your own camera like a Canon DSLR or Nikon. They’re pricey but usually come with a basic lens and you can upgrade bits and pieces of your kit over time. But remember you can always find shortcuts – wedge your phone in an empty cup if you want to keep it steady during a shot for example or make your own selfie stick here. Finding cool hacks for photo taking is part of the fun.
  12. Use sites like Flicker, Imgur,  Picasa Web Albums, Smugmug, Photobucket and more to store and share photos


Great Apps for Taking Good Photos

  • ProCamera 8: Offers more control over photos including fully-manual exposure control, adjustable shooting grids, an innovative HDR mode, image stabilization, and in-app editing tools
  • Manual: Gives control over settings such as exposure compensation, manual focus and white balance ISO and shutter speed.
  • Camera Awesome: Camera replacement and in-app editing tools, easy to use, features several composition line filters (rule of thirds, etc) in camera.
  • Camera+: Set exposure and focus individually, set image quality, image stabilization, and ISO information.
  • VSCO Cam: Popular photo editing app that features adjustable filters, editing tools for adjusting exposure, sharpening the image, adjusting colour and more, includes a powerful in-app camera with controls and shooting grids.
  • GorillaCam: Timer, photo burst, and time-lapse options.
  • MoreLomo: emphasizes casual, snapshot photography; it applies large amounts of distortion at the edges of the image whilst keeping the center sharp.
  • Top Camera: HDR option, timer, slow shutter, in-app photo editing and more.
  • Camu:Adjust clarity and depth of field, includes auto-mode and in-app editing.
  • Zitrr Camera: Different shooting grids and shooting modes, timer, burst.
  • Hipstamatic Camera: Adjust clarity, exposure, highlights, depth of field, grain, and more, plus in-app editing


Photo Editing Software

  • TADAA – HD Pro Camera: Customizable tools and filters, professional, HD quality.
  • Picasa: Organize photos and apply a range of non-destructive image effects and adjustments.
  • Fotor: Easy to use tools, adjustments and effects, work with layers and more.
  • Serif PhotoPlus Starter Edition: Restore and retouch your photos, crop them into new shapes and sizes, add a range of photo effects and more.
  • Pixlr Editor: Filters and many of the tools available in Photoshop, good for computers with limited memory space like Chromebooks


Accessories for Phones and Basic Cameras