Disclaimer:  I am not going to be talking about any filters, apps or any settings on your phone. I am going to impart some knowledge that you can use on a Sanyo SCP-5300, the first American phone that had a built in camera. 

Sanyo-5300

Over and over people have said it’s not the equipment but the user behind the device, and when it comes to video and photography it’s absolutely true. It’s like running:  you can buy a super-fly pair of running shoes and those jogging shorts that feel they were made by a Greek goddess with the ability to weave air, but all that can’t make you run.

You may have a $9000 camera, but without knowing how to create a solid image you’re still just a chump with a camera that I want.

Look at that crisp .3 megapixel image!

But fear not.  With these simple tricks I promise people will be calling you the MacGyver of the Image; a sweet, sweet Richard Dean Anderson of the megapixel.

1. The Chicken Neck Trick
No, actual chickens will be needed when doing this trick, unless you’re eating chicken, then in which case…can I have some?  I’m hungry.

Chicken-neck-trick

 

Brendan, our Social Media Coordinator putting his neck on the line.

The trick is to move your face towards the camera while keeping your shoulders and spine in the same position. It may look funky when you are snap chatting to somebody in public but if anybody asks just tell them “movie magic” then throw glitter at them.

You only need an extra inch or so, so trying to mimic the water thing from Abyss is going too far.

 

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Actually if you can do this, please take a picture and send it to me.

By doing this you accomplish a few things; Your face is bigger in the image, bringing out a more connected and intimate feeling. You stretch out the skin in your neck, removing any double-chin or the wrinkles so many people hate to see.

And lastly, you are able to define your jaw line better, framing your face. You may already do this subconsciously by filming super high up or what the internet has deemed ‘the angle’ which leads to my next tip…

 

2. Know your angles
This seems like a simple concept but many people miss the point when finding how high or how low they want to shoot. Getting a good shot is nice for the ego but being able to show a story is what makes an image a thousand times better. When figuring out your angle always have these rules in mind:

Eye level: you, natural, on the level
Camera is higher than face: smaller, weaker, more vulnerable
Camera is lower than face: Larger, powerful, more in control

The angle could just be a matter of an inch, and the effects will still work on the psychology of the image.

 

Angles-Trick

Left: Watch me invest in some risky stocks; Right: Wanna watch The Notebook?

These angles have been ingrained in our minds since the beginning of the image.  From propaganda films to comic books, every media uses angles to either sell a product, enhance an idea, or add new dimension to a subject. Remember that the angles come from what you want to show the viewer, but also what you want to tell them.

Looking at the rules poses a few questions. What if you want to look smaller but still seem powerful? It’s simple…

3. Be Genuine
We humans are masters at spotting fake smiles or somebody who feels awkward in front of the camera, so the best trick is a simple one – Be happy with yourself. When taking a picture remember that you are trillions of atoms of AMAZING, taking a picture from a hand held computer that connects you to millions of people, all in seconds by way of invisible signals traveling through space. That’s pretty freaking awesome and so are you for doing it.

Happiness is something that breaks all self image issues. Look at a picture of a Happy overweight person and you don’t think about their body you see their smile. You go from being insecure to owning your body and telling the world to go take a long walk off a short pier.

 

Stuart_Smalley

And Gosh Darn it, People Like you!

So many times we hide behind self image issues and in turn neglect to take pictures with family and loved ones we care for. It’s heart-breaking when that friend moves on, or that family member passes away, and then you don’t have a picture with them to remember the good times (Sorry for dropping an A-Bomb of depressing thoughts on your shoulders).

So go out there, you captain of the picture taking industry!  Go and document your life and your passions. Don’t hide in the digital shadows, let your greatness be known!!!!!