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Peek Inside: Carolyn Mara Borlenghi for AGLOW Magazine

Peek Inside: Carolyn Mara Borlenghi for AGLOW Magazine

Carolyn's Guide to Strengthening your Creative Mind


The iPhone camera is an incredibly powerful tool. After learning a few basics, you can start practicing your own skills with what I like to call a “creative exercise régime.” First of all, l always hold my phone horizontally with two hands. I form a "C" with my left thumb and forefinger and tuck the phone into it so it rests on my hand with my middle finger holding it up along the back. Then with my right hand I form a similar backwards C with the phone against the palm of my hand and use my right thumb to take the picture. By having a steady hold on the phone, I eliminate shake. The result is a sharper image.

Secondly, finding good natural light is key to shooting with the iPhone, so if you are inside try to find a spot where there is light coming in the window to light your subject. When you are outside, choose either sun or shade. Spotty light is harder for the camera to read. The iPhone has a wonderful little box to help you control the exposure as well. Just tap on the screen where your subject is to focus, and then when you see the sun appear on the right of the box, you can slide your finger up and down next to it in order to brighten or darken the image.

Finally, never ever use the forward facing camera for your photography. It is perfect for facetime, and that is it. The forward facing camera is only 1.2 megapixels, while the camera on the back of the camera is 8 megapixels. It makes a big difference in terms of the quality of your image.

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Once you have the basics down, you need to shoot, shoot, shoot. Like with anything, the more you practice the better you become. That said, there are a few things I like to keep close by in order to facilitate my image making. I have a GorillaPod iPhone tripod, a Muku Shuttr remote control, blue painters tape, and white poster board from CVS. The tripod is awesome because it keeps the camera super steady, and the GorillaPod has bendable legs that can grab onto things, giving you lots of flexibility. I use the Shuttr remote, but there are many out there. If you don’t want to invest in a remote, then use the camera timer on the phone. I use my blue painters tape all the time to tape my phone to the ceiling in order to get shots from above. When you want a white background, white poster board does the trick. It is awesome to lay things on and photograph. After you use it a while, you can toss it and grab another one.

Figuring out your creative exercise regime is integral to getting in the right mind frame. There are so many prompts out there today that can help you focus your mind and give you direction. My favorites includes “jjcommunity,” which gives a new prompt each morning, “its_my_week,” which gives one prompt that lasts a week, and “nothingisordinary” that gives prompts each day. For the last year though I find I use Instagram’s WHP (weekend hashtag project) as my means of creative exercise. I take it very seriously!

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Every Friday Instagram announces their weekend hashtag project and you have until Sunday night to submit images within the theme. This is my creative exercise, and it is with great anticipation that I wait to see what theme they announce! I spend time brainstorming ideas. Sometimes they happen almost instantaneously, and other times I sit on it and think overnight. I have driven an hour for a location or spent an hour or two baking a cake or making a blanket for the theme. For example, when the theme #WHPfuturistic was announced I immediately thought of looking for aliens, foil, and maybe an old TV antenna. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the antenna, but I grabbed some gold leggings and a pasta strainer for my son’s head. We went

on an adventure to a spot I love by the everglades. I brought my iPhone tripod and Shuttr remote so we could both be in the shots. It was a truly wonderful adventure with my little guy. When the theme #WHPhandmade was announced, I decided I wanted to make a knit blanket. I grabbed blue painters tape and a ladder. I taped my phone and my husband’s to the ceiling. Then I made a timelapse video for the hour and a half that I sat and made the blanket. With the other iPhone, I took a few images with a remote. Coming up with ideas is more than half

the battle. The more you push yourself for ideas, the more easily they will begin to emerge. Find an Instagram community to join and follow their prompts. You can also write prompts on a little piece of paper for yourself, and pull one out of a hat each day. Choose whatever works for you as your creative exercise, and then stick to it!

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