Photography 101

November 20, 2019

Photography 101

Photography 101 with Michael Amico


  • The Rule of Thirds is the basic visual guideline for Photography - take your frame and divide into thirds horizontally and vertically
  • You can turn this grid on your phone.  1. Go into phone settings 2. Scroll down to camera 3. Turn grid on
  • Try to line up the middle of your subject’s eyes (the person you’re taking a picture of) on the top line
  • Quickly scan all 4 corners of the frame before you take a picture to make sure nothing is out of place/anything is weird
  • Remember that “we see” in a 3 dimensional world but cameras are only 2 dimensions so they can’t see everything we see.  You can cover 1 eye to see in 2 dimensions (what your camera is seeing) to see if anything is off


  • The normal lens on a phone defaults to a wide lens which often will make people/subjects look a little weird, so zoom in a bit to bring the background closer to create a flatter (better) image
  • Don’t zoom in more than 50% - just start with a minimal zoom and play with it a bit
  • People tend to stand super close to the background (and far away from the camera) but they should stand at least 2 feet away from background for optimal depth


  • Remember that our eyes balance colors well but the camera doesn’t
  • Try not to mix different color lights.  We tend to think more lights are always better but if they are different colors/tones they won’t mix well
  • At night, use orange lights because that most resembles night light 
  • During the day, use the white light because that most resembles daylight
  • Key to good portrait lighting is a big soft light source
  • Direct sunlight isn’t great for pictures - just lots to think about with too much light and/or shadows - so if you can, take pictures outside during the beginning and end of day


  • Adds good lighting for a halo effect - especially for hair
  • When using a backlight, match the color of the ring light


  • Download Snapseed to use for your editing tool
  • When you are editing pictures put the brightness on your phone all the way up to make sure you can see everything just right
  • Adjust your phone settings to make sure your brightness is not adjusted automatically.  1. Go to phone settings 2. Go to Display and Brightness 3. Make sure automatic is turned off
  • Play with Snapseed Tools and Looks for different edits
  • When playing with different Tools you can slide/adjust.  Best is to play with them to get a sense of how it changes the images but here are some of the basics:
    • Saturation - How much color is in the image
    • Brightness - Goes between bright and dark
    • Highlights - Can show imperfections but try not to remove all of them because it just looks fake
    • Warmth - Goes between orange (warm) and blue (cool)
    • Tint - Goes between Green and Magenta
  • Grainy films - People like for Instagram Filters
  • When editing images, your eyes will get used to the changes so sometimes it’s good to take a break and go back to it - especially because we tend to over-edit
  • Michael created an Ammo filter that works perfectly in our Photo Station so come and find us to download it


Here are links to the lights and photo tools we purchased for the Photo Station all from Amazon: