In this day and age our mobile phone is becoming a necessity in everyday life, and more and more people are relying on it throughout the day, whether it be for emails, important business calls or playing games.
Many years ago, taking “good photos” was time consuming and usually expensive. You either needed access to a lot of money to afford the luxury of using film or a top of the range camera at the time which would need fancy editing software to edit the photos
Sometimes we are caught short and don’t have our camera. So, I have created a list of some of my top tips for getting the most out of your smartphone!
- See what you are shooting properly
Turn the screen brightness all the way up so you can see what you are shooting clearly.
some newer phones have “night shift” or other filters that alter the colours on the screen. Make sure you turn these off otherwise what you see on the screen won’t be as accurate as it could be.
- Clean lens, better photos
Make sure the camera lens is clean and fingerprint free. Our phones get greasy quickly and with more and more smartphones having cameras that stick out slightly from the body of the phone it is more important that you take good care and make sure the lens is clean.
likewise if you are shooting through glass insure that you try to shoot through clean glass.
- Set your phone to the highest quality
If you take a really nice picture it may look great on a small phone screen but will quickly pixelate and drop in quality when you enlarge it.
- Use gridlines
Most smartphones allow for you to use “gridlines” and give a good visual representation for balancing and framing the shot. This is one of the easiest ways to make the photos you take more visually appealing as it uses rule of thirds which is photographic composition principle that says the image should be broken down into 9 equal parts.
According to this theory if you place points of interest on the cross-sections or along these lines your photo will be more level and balanced. This allows the viewers to interact with the image easier and also draws them into the image as it appears more visually appealing.
IPhone: go to “Settings” select “Photos and Camera” and turn “Grid Lines” on
Samsung: open the “Camera” app and press “Settings” scroll down and choose “grid lines” you may have a few options depending on different phone models.
- Find different perspectives
A lot of the time we all fall into the common mistake of shooting everything at eye level. Be different and make the photos you take stand out by shooting from different angles. This will give your photos a different feel.
- Find support
Steady surfaces to rest your phone on will make photos you take sharper and reduce blur. Most modern smartphones have image stabilisation but it’s always good to find a stable surface to maximise the quality.
- Use the volume keys
Some phones allow you to use the volume button or have a dedicated camera button. Make use of these and be sure to use them when available to reduce unwanted blur from the screen being tapped. Headphones with audio controls can be used to control the phones camera shutter. This can be useful for taking group shots with the phone on a table or something.
- Light is your friend
Make the most of the natural light, when the sun is shining shoot away from the sun to avoid unwanted lens flares. Try not to shoot towards the light if you can help it as can be tricky to get the exposure right and usually the subject ends up too dark because the camera will compensate for the lighter area.
- Change the focus
Try a different point of focus, by tapping the screen you should be able to choose a point to focus on. Some phones also let you track movement, so if you are trying to photograph a moving object this can be very helpful.
- Ditch the flash
Let’s cut to the point, the flash on most phones is usually disgusting, normally leaving a horrible yellow/orange tone. Try to use natural lighting where possible, but if there is no other option then use the flash, you can make some changes to improve the photo in post-production later (more about that later)
- Crop, don’t zoom
Don’t use the zoom on the phone, you compromise quality for the sake of a few steps closer to the subject. There may be situations where moving closer isn’t an option. Instead of zooming in, try cropping the photo after
- Edit don’t add filters
Don’t try to add fancy in camera filters, take the photo and edit it after. All filters do is add pre-set settings to the image. Get creative and edit the photo yourself. You can make it more personal
- Be creative
sometimes it’s good to try something different! Don’t be afraid to try new things and go against the grain. It’s all about trial and error.
I hope some of these tips help you to become a better photographer when you only have access to a smartphone.
Are there any tips that you feel I should have covered? Let me know below!
Don’t forget to share with a friend who could benefit from this!