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Ask An OC Expert: How To Take Better Pictures With Your Phone

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(credit: shutterstock)

Today, everyone has the capability to be a photographer without using professional equipment. Smart phones have paved the way to help put professional photography in the hands of every individual. In order to unlock the features of your phone, it may take some trial and error to become more acquainted with your phone and its camera. Local filmmaker, Mahyar Alahyari has these five tips that will help you best capture any moment from your phone.

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(credit: Mahyar Alahyari)

Mahyar Alahyari
ndependent filmmaker
Orange County, CA

Mahyar's exposure to the world of film-making is thanks to his cinematographer father. When he was given an 8mm camera, he began to see the world through the lens. His work in cinematography and directing was awarded at the Cannes Film Festival for the short film "Preciosa," and his directorial accolades were acknowledged in 2005 at the Telly Awards as a finalist for the music video "A Forest."

(credit: JW)

Tip 1: Natural Lighting

"I always try to encourage people to use natural lighting." Make sure that you find the source of your light when taking a photo and mind how it makes your subject matter look. Remember not to move your subject, but rather move yourself to get better lighting. Also, lighting sets that mood for your story in the photo, so choose wisely.

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(credit: shutterstock)

Tip 2: Rule of Thirds

Whenever taking a photo, one must take into account the rule of thirds. The guidelines suggests the photo be divided into 9 equal squares with important parts of the photo to be placed along the dividing lines; it is crucial when it comes to photography. Everyone, at some point, will need to learn this technique and understand that sometimes the best photo does not mean the subject has to be centered in the frame. For those with no photography skills, practice by challenging the eye to see things differently. You will be able to master the story by using this technique.

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(credit: JW)

Tip 3: Different Angles, Different Perspectives

"I challenged myself to see differently when I first started using Instagram." Before you snap a photo, remember to take a step back and see how many different angles you can use to tell your story. You are telling the story of your subject and it is always a good idea to try something different. Different is good and will lead to a great photo that will be unique.

Related: Best Photographers For Kids In Orange County

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(credit: shutterstock)

Tip 4: Capture Moments

Some of the best photos are those that are not staged. Try doing documentary-style photography where you capture moments and expressions. Snapping photos when someone least suspects it can lead to the ideal photo. Take as many rapid fire photos as you can and you will be surprised with the results.

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(credit: shutterstock)

Tip 5: Explore Applications

Different "apps" will add different techniques and style to your photo. So have fun and explore all the ones that are available to find the ones that are right for you. "I use VSCO to edit a lot of my photos," Alahyari says. He also uses Hipstamatic to enjoy the surprise factor of shooting with different lenses and negatives. Apple editing app is a great tool that he notes people don't use to its full potential. Stay away from applying too many filters and effects. It will take away from the simple art of the photo.

Related: Best Artistic Photographers In Orange County

Elle Toussi is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on


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