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July 17, 2014

Toni Pavliš: My top Lumia 1020 tips: Part 2

Love your Lumia? Then you’ll love Toni’s top 1020 tips.

If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably already enjoyed Toni’s Pavliš first batch of helpful tips in his Top 10 Lumia 1020 Tips: Part 1. Now we’re going to share the rest and we suspect that you’ll enjoy these just as much as the first lot. So, grab your Lumia and let’s get to it, jumping in at Tip #6 where we left off last time.

6. Portraits & kids

Photography portraits are all around us, be it a selfie, a friend, street or studio portrait– they are everywhere. And that is exactly why it’s so hard to shoot portraits, they must be special and allow the viewer to relate to the person in the shot. We must capture the spirit, emotions and the looks of the person, and to present it to the viewer.

Some of the tips would be: if it’s possible, get to know the person you are shooting so that they are comfortable and relaxed with you. Get as close as you can to the person so that you get the shallow depth of field for that naturally blurred background, eliminating the unwanted background that will distract viewer from the model. Keep the background as simple as possible for a clean look, and focus on the model. Experiment with different angles to find the one that best suits the model.

Kids are extra hard to shoot because they are moving and playing all the time. If they try to strike a pose, it often doesn’t look natural, so they need to be extra familiar and relaxed with you. You can always delete the photos that are not good, so shoot a lot of them. Get the kids in their natural surroundings, get them to play, and try to capture them at their best. It’s always a good idea to get low to their level–that way the photos will look more natural than when taken from strange angles.

Extra general tip: Make interesting titles for your photos. They should tell a story and explain your view of the shot. It might even get somebody thinking more than the photo itself.

The next photo is called “Fight or die“ and for the full story read my instagram caption.


7. Creating scenes

Sometimes in small towns like mine there’s not much going on, so one must create a scene for himself. I’ve asked my friend to act like he was homeless and we found an old goods shed and set the scene for the photo. We made it look like it was his house had been destroyed.

Try change your position to search for the best dramatic angle, move around, get low, get high, in one word experiment. You should always experiment with different ideas, and you might be surprised what you come up with. With time, you will learn what angles are best for certain situations.


8. Landscapes

It’s always a good idea to get up early and go to the place you want to shoot, because that time of day gives you smooth light and shadows (and you can also enjoy the sunrise). The same thing goes for shooting in the late afternoon and during sunsets, this is the time of the day that will give you the most interesting results for shooting landscapes. The middle of the day will give you strong shadows and direct light, but you will have to spend more time planning where to stand and figuring out where the light coming from. You can still get pretty interesting results, as you can see in my example here. The sun is high, the clouds are dramatic, and the scene with the canal as the main subject is taking your view right to that distant place on the hills. There is also symmetry in the scene and it’s always a good idea to find symmetric places to shoot, especially in architecture shots where you can further experiment with composition.


9. Black and white and rule of the thirds

Most aesthetically pleasing images are those in which the subjects are aligned with the one-third of the frame. You can set up your Lumia to display rule of thirds frame grid on the viewfinder, which can help you to compose your shots better. And it’s good to sometimes move your subject to the side. Black and white photography is a whole different world–it can produce some amazing results and has that special something that color photography simply doesn’t have. In contrast to color photography, BW photography has some moments where it can deliver deeper and more sincere emotions, in a way that’s almost magical. But it shouldn’t be used everywhere, and there are certain types of photos where color does a better job and BW just doesn’t fit in. You can never go wrong with black and white portraits and to display drama in scenes. The next shot displays the use of rule of the thirds and black and white photography combined.

Extra tip: Lumia owners are also familiar with the colour pop option in Nokia Creative studio where colour and BW are mixed together for the best of both worlds. Again, you can experiment with different setups. A great idea to make photos really pop is to choose one vibrant color in the scene as the main theme and to make everything else black and white.


10. Creativity

Where to find ideas, what to shoot? Well, there is no real answer to that question I guess. There is a whole world around you. You can search for creativity in the macro world where the most ordinary things can look amazing, things people usually never notice. Get down, search for those little creatures, ants, bees… Take a closer look at the flowers, texture on the wood, anything really, just study the world around you. When you go for a walk, look around, stop where everyone else is walking, visit the zoo, shoot people on the streets, take photo trips where your main target will be to shoot some awesome photography and nothing else. In the next shot you can see how something so ordinary can look great when you combine some ideas with the angle of shooting.

This is an ordinary plastic water bottle that I drilled a hole in the cap of the bottle, and my friend poured water in a steady stream. The shot was taken from a very low angle so I could get the sky as the background. I used fast shutter speed to catch the movement of the bottle and water.


11. Low light

One of the basic tools for low light photography is the tripod, so you should have one if you are trying to experiment with low light photography. I strongly advise you to “get the grip“ for the Lumia 1020. It has a mount for the tripod and an additional battery built in. Anyway, your tripod should be portable in order for you to move easier from place to place and also enable you to get low to the ground, helping you to shoot some nice puddlegrams. As for the tips on low light photography, I highly recommend that you keep the ISO levels at lowest possible values (for Lumia, that value is 100) in order to get the lowest possible levels of noise. My second tip would be focus, you can use the spot light to measure the exact point of the focus or you could simply set the focus to infinity in manual settings of the Nokia Camera (mind that the objects near the phone will be out of focus). White balance should be set to bulb and the shutter speed will differ depending on what you are shooting. If you are catching light trails of the car, anything from 2sec will be good if you are shooting on well-lit roads to 4sec in lower light conditions. You can also make some light painting shots or steel wool shots. Or you can make an experiment like on my next shot. I’ve set the shutter speed to 4sec and set the timer to 5sec, asked my friend to pose for me, pressed the shutter, and ran behind him to shine some light from behind with a simple battery lamp. I think the result is pretty impressive.

Extra tip: Always use delay timer because it will help your Lumia be as steady as possible before taking the shot.


Final tip: When you learn all the rules and get comfortable with using them, just forget everything. Rules are there to be broken, so break the rules and you will end up with the most amazing results!

And there we have it! A bundle of fantastic tips from Toni Pavliš, a man who clearly knows his way around a Lumia 1020. Now we’d love to hear from you–which of Toni’s tips do you find most useful and which of your tips would you like to share.