Want to take better photos with your smartphone? Great! We have some incredible tips for making the most of your mobile phone’s camera.
Taking a photo using your smartphone is easy but it takes a more skilled photographer to create a truly great image. To create take incredible photos with a smartphone you need to follow some important guidelines on focus, exposure, composition and photo editing.
So, let’s get started with everything you need to know for taking amazing photos using your smartphone.
1. Clean The Lens
Your smartphone spends a lot of time in your pocket, a bag or in your hand, and as a result it will get dirty. Dirt, dust, grease and fingerprints on your lens will have a big effect on the quality of your photos.
A clean lens will ensure you get sharp, clear images with your smartphone. So better clean the lens each time you take it out to take a photo. Use a soft lens cloth when doing this as any abrasive cleaners will scratch the glass over the lens and this will result in poorer image quality.
2. Set The Focus
The most important thing to look out for when taking a photo is to make sure that your subject is in sharp focus. To set the focus on the smartphone camera you simply tap the screen where your subject is in the frame. A small yellow square will appear to confirm the focus point.
If your subject is moving around, make sure you tap the screen just before you take the shot to ensure that they are in focus.
Once you’re happy that you have gotten a sharp photo of your subject, you can draw more attention to them if you wish by using one of the many apps available to blur the background as part of your editing process.
3. Adjust Exposure Manually
Exposure simply refers to how bright or dark the image is. When you tap on the subject to focus on them, the camera will also use the focus point to set the exposure in the shot.
To get professional quality photos from your smartphone, you need set the exposure manually as done in DSLR.
Find and select manual exposure mode option in your smartphone’s camera. First set the focus by tapping the screen and then change White balance, ISO, Shutter Speed and exposure compensation values based on you requirement.
If you want to keep it simple, just change exposure compensation (EV) values which will brighten/darken the image.
4. Avoid Zoom Function.
The smartphone has a zoom function which you can access by pinching or stretching two fingers on the screen. This brings up a zoom slider which you can slide with your finger to zoom in and get a closer view of your subject. With Zoom function there will be a noticeable loss in image quality.
If you want to take a photo of a far away subject, don’t use the zoom. Walk closer instead and use the camera as normal without any zoom. You’ll end up with a far better quality shot.
Alternatively you can crop the image yourself in the editing process to bring the viewer closer to your subject. Cropping afterwards gives you more control over how much of the image you want to remove.
5. Keep Your Camera Steady
Keeping your camera still is particularly important when taking photos in low light or at night. Any movement of the camera will result in a blurred image.
To avoid blurry smartphone photos you should hold the phone with both hands or rest it on a solid surface to keep it steady. You could also use a tripod. There are a number of tripods designed specifically for the smartphone.
When using a tripod, you can be extra careful by using the timer button on the left-hand side of the camera screen. Place the camera on the tripod and set the timer to 3 seconds or more.
6. Use Good Composition
Getting focus and exposure right is crucial in photography, but composition is equally important. Without good composition, your photo isn’t likely to be very eye-catching.
Good composition will make your photos more compelling, lending them a natural balance, drawing attention to the important parts of the scene, or leading the viewer’s eye through the image.
Below video explains 9 important photo composition tips with the help of Steve McCurry’s incredible photographs.
Once you are familiar with these composition tips, you’ll be surprised at just how universal most of them are. You’ll spot them everywhere, and you’ll find it easy to see why some photos “work” while others feel like simple snapshots
Learn to compose your shots using these rules, then once you’re happy with it, try breaking it on purpose sometimes to create a different impact in your image. As always with photography, don’t be afraid to experiment. You might be surprised with the results.
7. Shoot From Different Perspectives
You should always look at alternative points of view when taking your photos at any location. Most beginners will take shots from a standing position, but the beauty of the smartphone is that it’s so small and light it can be used in places that a bigger camera wouldn’t work.
You can consider getting down low and shooting from ground level. This technique is great for creating a unique view of your scene that people normally wouldn’t see from standing height. You could also try shooting from high up to get a bird’s eye view of your subject.
Take as many shots from as many different perspectives as you wish and then just delete the ones that didn’t work.
8.Think about your background
A camera phone isn’t able to isolate the subject from the background.
You have two options to deal with this. You can either go with less clutter, and make sure your subject is in front of a simple background, or simply fill the image with your subject. This is particularly important when it comes to portraits. There are other times you can throw this rule right out the window.
9. Take Multiple Shots
If you see something that catches your eye, don’t just take one shot and hope for the best. The chances of getting a good photo with your first shot are very slim. You should take shots from various angles and distances.
Keep reviewing your photos as you go to get an idea of what is and what isn’t working. If you find an angle or point of view you like then take multiple shots from that position. This helps ensure that you get a well composed shot that is in sharp focus.
The beauty of digital photography is that you can delete all the photos that didn’t work.
10. Post Processing Your Photos
Finally, you should resist the urge to use too many apps or overly strong effects when editing your photos. A lot of beginners make the mistake of thinking that using photo editing apps will turn a bad photo into a good one. It won’t. I know from experience. I have tried it enough over the years!
Before using any apps you should concentrate on getting a sharp, well composed shot. Apps can work well to enhance a good photo, but not a bad one.
The most common mistake is the overuse of HDR apps. HDR can be useful for bringing out lost detail in dark photos but it needs to be used with restraint.
So edit your smartphone photos with restraint. Only apply effects that will enhance the natural beauty of the photo. Watch out for the appearance of grain and overly saturated colors when you’re adjusting exposure and color settings. Dial back the settings if you think you’ve gone overboard.
These tips should help you on your way to taking much better photos with your smartphone. Some of the tips, such as using leading lines and the rule of thirds, will be useful no matter what type of camera you use. The most important thing to remember is to keep taking photos and have fun!