Nature Phone Photography Tip From a National Geographic Photographer

  • I asked National Geographic photographer Kiliii Yüyan how to just take improved photographs on my phone.
  • Yüyan gave me a idea on how to acquire images of purely natural landscapes that stand out from the rest.
  • Discover a foreground subject and body your shot to display the surroundings in the distance, he reported.

Nowadays, individuals are “drowning in pictures,” Nationwide Geographic photographer Kiliii Yüyan advised Insider. But there are techniques to make yours stand out — even if you’re just taking pictures on your phone.

I appreciate using photos so significantly that I went to school for it. And soon after practically a ten years of understanding and taking pictures with intricate film and electronic cameras, I perform as a journey reporter. I acquire four visits a calendar year where my do the job revolves all over documenting the destinations I am checking out although enduring them. So I imagined it was about time to master about my smallest, most nimble digital camera — my cellular phone.

Just like in college, I wanted to learn from a professional. So I turned to Yüyan, who tells visual tales about how unique cultures relate to the surroundings, from the Amazon to the Arctic seas. He gave me 4 practical ideas for having better photographs with my cellular phone, and a single of them manufactured me consider about photographing nature in a entire new way.

Put anything in the foreground

When it arrives to making telephone photos stand out, Yüyan explained all-natural landscapes are in particular difficult considering the fact that they have been photographed so considerably. His ideal assistance is to obtain a fantastic foreground issue. 

“Great backgrounds, this sort of as mountains or waterfalls, are easy to come across since we’re normally seeking for them,” Yüyan reported. “On the other hand, a very good foreground subject matter, these as blooming wildflowers or a craggy tree, can be significantly tougher to uncover in the right spot.”

Yüyan advisable browsing for a foreground topic and framing your shot so you can see the landscapes in the length. 

“It’ll give your images depth, intimacy, and make your pictures exceptional,” he explained.

National Geographic photographer phone tips example

The creator photographs a seashore in Santa Cruz, California.

Joey Hadden/Insider

I had in no way believed about foreground in this way in advance of, but his suggestion reminded me of when I photographed a seashore throughout the road from mountains in Santa Cruz, California. I started by photographing the beach front from the shore. I assumed the mountains appeared pleasant, but there was so much sand that I considered the bottom 50 % of my image seemed monotonous. 

So I took my cell phone throughout some ocean rocks and into the tide swimming pools. I believed the rocks and reflecting drinking water spruced up my foreground by providing my picture far more levels. To me, this manufactured my picture really feel extra dynamic.

I also considered about a time I took some photos on my cell phone for the duration of a hike in Prescott, Arizona. When I initial arrived at the Watson Lake parking whole lot for my hike, I believed it appeared amazing with rock formations I hadn’t seen before. So I was astonished when I discovered that photographing the scene from the whole lot did not seem to be to do it justice. 

But once I immersed myself in the landscape by mountaineering the trails, I discovered foreground topics this kind of as shrubs that better framed the lake scene. I thought the inclusion of these aspects in the next graphic gave a greater feeling of what it was really like to be there since it had far more layers exhibiting what essentially surrounds the lake.

The author photographs Prescott, Arizona, in 2022.

The creator photos Prescott, Arizona, in 2022.

Joey Hadden/Insider

Some visuals in my digicam roll previously seemed to help Yüyan’s suggestion, but the photographer served me determine what will make specific pictures more powerful than other people. I will go into my upcoming out of doors vacation emotion extra influenced to shoot from my cell phone and scout for intriguing foregrounds.