That camera you have in your pocket - you know, the one attached to your phone?
That little guy is a powerful tool that you can use to practice all sorts of photography pursuits.
As I've mentioned in the past, your smartphone, though not nearly as functional or feature-packed as a "traditional" camera, is nonetheless an excellent tool for you to learn the ins and outs of photography.
That includes taking portraits, photographing landscapes, using it for travel photography, and documenting everyday life.
The ease with which you can use a smartphone and the convenience they provide as a result of their small stature and simple controls means that you can take photos just about anywhere and anytime.
What better way to hone your photography skills than by taking a LOT of photos? And what better tool to do that than a smartphone?
Though there's a lot to consider when creating a photo - composition, lighting, and post-processing just to name a few - there's something else to think about that has a tremendous impact on your photos.
That factor is the subject matter.
Let's take a look at a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Since your smartphone is so easily maneuverable, you can use it to take portraits that defy traditional convention.
That means you can get ultra low to the ground to take a portrait like the one above, in which your subject is actually the reflection of your subject.
When you create a photo like this, it helps to add some structure to the shot. Otherwise, all you really have is a murky puddle occupying the frame.
In this case, the linear lines created by the bricks in the path add depth and dimension to the shot. That depth is only enhanced by the low-slung point of view.
Another atypical portrait to try with your smartphone is like the one above.
Sure, it's a selfie, but it's atypical in that it's a group portrait shot from the top-down.
This perspective is great for group close-ups that has a more playful and lively vibe, something that's certainly helped by the vivid colors in the photo above.
Again, this type of shot is possible because of the maneuverability of your smartphone - it's simply easier to take a shot like this with your phone than it is with a DSLR or even a mirrorless camera.
When taking portraits with your smartphone, you can improve the quality of the images you take by using a high-quality add-on lens.
Sirui makes a 60mm portrait lens that, when paired with your phone, will give you enhanced capabilities for framing stunning portraits.
Unlike many add-on smartphone lenses, the Sirui portrait lens has minimal distortion and vignetting. What's more, this lens helps you get closer to your subject by about 2x, but without sacrificing image quality.
That means you can get creative with your smartphone portrait photography, bring your subjects to life, and do so with an easy-to-use lens from Sirui.
One of the most interesting ways to photograph landscapes these days (if you ask me, anyway), is from the air.
I see a lot of surprisingly good photos taken with smartphones from the window seat of an airplane, like the one above.
Your phone is ideally suited for this type of landscape photography because you can easily contort your body into shooting position in your cramped airline seat.
What's more, since the built-in lens has a wide field of view, you can get that nice frame within a frame effect that's seen above that gives some depth to the shot.
Another aerial photography option that's all the rage these days is drone photography.
Though many drones come with their own cameras, some allow you to use your smartphone as the camera, assuming you're comfortable with your phone flying around.
But as you can see in the image above, the possibilities for getting a jaw-dropping landscape shot are virtually endless when photographing the landscape from above. Talk about a seldom scene perspective!
Of course, a taking a good old-fashioned landscape photo with your smartphone is totally in the realm of possibility too...
In that case, a Sirui 18mm wide-angle smartphone lens allows you to get more of the scene in the shot than you can with your phone's built-in lens.
And like the portrait lens discussed above, you don't have to worry about vignetting, distortion, or reduced image quality.
Instead, what you get is a lens that has 4K professional imaging quality that offers you clear, precise results.
That means all you have to do is undertake an adventure finding the ideal landscape, pop your Sirui lens onto your phone, and start shooting!
When it comes to traveling, there are tons of possibilities for subject matter with your smartphone.
Again, with such a small device, you can find interesting perspectives on the scenery around you and during the activities that you undertake.
I'm guessing that you're like me, and if you're kayaking in the ocean, you aren't going to want to hang your Sony a7R II over the edge of the boat, let alone take it out on the water.
But, you can easily throw your phone in a waterproof case and document your day on the water with ease.
Another travel-related application for your smartphone is getting shots of busy locations.
Whether it's traveling through an airport, visiting a local market, or walking the streets of a busy city, your smartphone is an ideal camera because it's discreet and you can easily snap photos, even in a crowded environment.
And, like mentioned above, adding a lens only helps you get improved photos.
When traveling, take along a Sirui portrait lens and a Sirui wide-angle lens, that way you can play with the perspective and angle of view of the images you create. See the full lineup of Sirui lenses in action in the video below by techandTOOLS:
Putting It All Together
As noted in the introduction, there are plenty of elements that go into a high-quality photo.
The compositional choices you make certainly influence how viewers receive your image. The technical qualities of the image are important too, like having the subject in focus and the shot framed in a pleasing manner.
But as you can see in the sample images above, a lot of the impact of your photos simply has to do with the subject matter and how you portray it.
It doesn't get much easier than shooting with a camera phone and a well-crafted smartphone lens. Take the opportunities that open up to you by being able to take photos quickly and easily, experiment with the subject matter, the framing, the composition, and the like, and you'll be surprised at the quality of the photos you can create.