10 simple tips for taking photos on your smartphone
Photography has come a long way in recent years. It wasn’t that long ago that we all used stand alone cameras which also included a film roll.
The film captured the images clicked by the user, without being able to see what was taken until you developed the film. Once the roll was used up, it had to be taken to a studio for processing. Studios were physical brick-and-mortar locations which, amongst other things, processed images into photographs and returned them to the user – in some instances, this could take about 2 days!
Today, it’s commonplace to see people with their mobile phones taking photos. Users can instantly see what they’ve taken and then decide whether to keep, delete or edit – all instantly.
The Coming Of Smartphone Photography
The camera is one of those instruments that has been completely disrupted by the mobile phone. The bulky camera has given way to the sleeker smartphone, which can fit into any pocket. The film has been replaced by a storage card (or phone storage if you have a iPhone) – which means you can take as many shots as you like, to get to that perfect mobile phone photo. Your mobile phone photo becomes instantly available on the display, unlike that trip to the studio and the wait times to process the film into a photograph. All these conveniences have ensured that smartphone photography is here to stay, and is expected only to get better. People these days no longer purchase a standalone camera, because their smartphone camera simply gets the job done.
Below are a few mobile photography tips we use that can also help you to improve your smartphone photography skills.
Keep Your Lens Clean
This is one of those smartphone photography tips that is very easy to accomplish, but which is very easily forgotten by most people. Fingerprints, dust particles, smudges are all common on smartphone camera lenses due to its extensive usage. They simply get carried over onto your mobile phone photo if you don’t clean your lens. A soft cloth or even your shirt can do the trick.
Auto vs Manual Focus
Because of the differing depths (distance between objects and camera) in your scene, your camera’s auto-focus will not always focus on the object you actually wish to focus on. In this case, you should do a manual focus. Smartphone photography makes this super easy. Simply clicking on the object on the screen should change the focus to that object. This is one of those phone photography tips that can produce stunning photos that blur the background. The latest iPhone model also has a great portrait mode, which when used correctly, can ‘blur’ out backgrounds and enhance the subject matter, which is one of a number of features we love about these phones.
The essence of photography is light. But too much of it results in very bright photos (overexposure) and too little of it results in very dark photos (underexposure). You need just the right amount of light for that perfect click. Clicking on the screen gives you the option to change exposure levels. Simply swipe the “sun” you see on the screen Up or Down to get that perfect mobile phone photo.
You will often encounter contrasting areas in your scenes. For example, a scene that has a brighter sky in the background and a darker object in the foreground. This high-contrast can confuse the camera’s auto-focus, resulting in a complete hash of the picture. The HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode in your mobile phone helps you capture high-contrast images perfectly. Simply go to Camera Settings and turn HDR On.
Capturing Fast-action Scenes
Fast action scenes like sports races or wildlife chases have always been extremely challenging to capture with a regular camera, even for the professional photographer. Mobile photography has made this really simple. Burst Mode allows you to capture images in quick succession by simply keeping the Shutter button pressed. You can then delete the images you don’t want.
One of the basic smartphone photography tips that any professional will give you is to keep your hands steady while shooting. A lightweight phone, as opposed to a heavier camera, can actually make this more challenging. If your hand moves while composing a shot, especially under low light conditions, your photos will turn out blurred. So practice, practice, practice to keep those hands steady.
The Rule Of Thirds
This is an incredibly powerful composition technique and one of those mobile photography tips that can separate a good mobile phone photo from a great mobile phone photo. But it takes a while to master. The technique is simple though – use the phone Grid which divides your screen into 9 frames (the screen is then divided into a third, horizontally and vertically). Try to place the important objects from your scene on the lines or at their intersection for spectacular captures.
This is another one of those phone photography tips for creating great photos. Leading Lines are lines (like a road or a bridge) in your scene that can be made use of to create depth in your photo. This requires lots of practice, but results can be well worth it.
Most mobile photography users take photos keeping the camera at their chest level. But the smartphone is an easy device to experiment on – you can try clicking from close to the ground, or from directly above the object, or even by tilting the phone at 45 degrees. Different perspectives often produce interesting results.
Keep It Simple
This is the last, but not the simplest, of our mobile photography tips. It requires skill which comes with practice. Sometimes the simplest of images can be the most powerful ones. Try to focus on only one object, or try and see that the background is uncluttered, or whether you can eliminate the background completely. Your photo could turn out to be a winner.
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