Wichita, Kansas

Jeff Breault | 4 Fabulous Photography Techniques

It’s easier than ever to take glorious snapshots without investing tons of time and money into your hobby. With smartphones cameras becoming increasingly advanced and digital cameras allowing us to take literally hundreds of shots without buying tons of film, it’s actually quite an inexpensive pastime after an initial camera purchase.

“Even smartphone photographers can produce serious shots with the help of relatively inexpensive lens kits,” says Jeff Breault, travel photographer. “Some exceptional lens kits, with a macro lens, telephoto lens, and wide angle lens, are less than $100, and they can take smartphone photography to the next level.”

If you’re an amateur photographer who wants to move into professional territory, or if you just want your social media pictures to have extra polish, here are four great, frugal, and simple tips for making your snapshots shine.

Invest in smartphone lens kits.

Smartphone lens attachments are inexpensive tools for casual photographers who want their smartphone pics to look like serious art. Most kits contain a macro (close-up) and wide-angle lens, but you can find kits with fishtail lenses, telephoto lenses, tripods, and more. Tripods are especially useful. “Hands shake, even imperceptibly,” says Jeff Breault. “Using a tripod can ensure a perfectly focused shot, every time.”

Explore pinhole photography.

What is pinhole photography? Pinhole photography is essentially the use of a lens-less camera that uses a tiny hole as its aperture. This tiny hole allows an extremely narrow ray of light to pass through into the camera, creating an inverted image within using what is called a camera obscura phenomenon. If you’ve ever created a box to watch a solar eclipse safely, you’ve constructed a rudimentary camera obscura.

“Pinhole photographs are bizarre and haunting, and give the impression of having taken a picture of an alternate reality,” says Jeff Breault. Pinhole cameras can certainly be purchased, but if you’d rather save your money, and if you have a spare lens cover you’re willing to permanently modify, it’s cheaper to make your own.

Use motion blur effects in street scenes.

Adjust your shutter speed to the slowest possible, and shoot busy streets. The motion of the cars will create a swirling blur, while the stationary objects will remain in focus. It’s an especially visually arresting technique at night with the motion of car headlights.

Don’t always rely upon your viewfinder.

“Some of my favorite travel shots are when I just snap crowds in outdoor markets, street fairs, and boardwalks, without looking into the viewfinder,” said Jeff Breault. “I manage to capture a really diverse cast of characters, and I’m not standing there trying to compose a shot – I’m enjoying my surroundings.” When you’re out and about in a public place during the day, use a fast shutter speed and shoot the activity around you while looking at the scene – not the viewfinder. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you capture!