The best camera is the one you have with you ~ Chase Jarvis
In today’s day and age, everyone is holding on to a smartphone with a camera way more advanced than the first digital cameras which were expensive, bulky and difficult to use. No longer can we give excuses about not having the right tools to get started on photography. We must instead take active steps to hone our craft and use what we’ve got to get better and better at capturing light, whether it is just for leisure, to keep precious memories or perhaps working toward an eventual career in photography one day. Here are 9 tips to help you up your mobile phone photography game!
- Use Natural Light
Lighting is one of the best ingredients to get a great photo and it’s also one of the easiest ways to add another dimension to your photo. Take advantage of the natural or artificial light sources you can find, even after dark. This gives you a chance to play with shadows or create a silhouette with other ambient sources of light, like street lamps and surrounding buildings. Low-light setting can trickier to shoot with a smartphone but the results can be just as breathtaking.
- Focus On One Subject
Many of the best photos come out from focusing on just one, interesting subject. But be sure to tap the screen of your smartphone to focus on your subject. It’ll help to ensure that the subject is sharp and the lighting is optimised. Doing this might also help to create an interesting out of focus background (bokeh). Also, be aware of your camera’s shutter lag time if any, and don’t move your phone immediately after. For extra control, place your elbows on the table or a steady structure that you can lean on.
- Clean Your Phone Lens
Your phone is usually in your pocket or your bag when you’re out of the house. All the while, the device’s camera lens is collecting all kinds of dust and even your fingerprints. Be sure to clean this lens with a soft handkerchief before taking a photo.
- Prop Your Phone
Another way to reduce camera shake is to prop your phone on a steady base for extra stability. This could be a table, a wall or the ground. Another option is a tripod, and you can find many different types created specifically for mobile phone use. Mobile tripods give you the freedom to mount your smartphone for quick hands-free shots without lugging any heavy equipment with you. Most mobile tripods are barely bigger than your mobile devices, and can be adjusted to many angles. Depending on the genre of photography, tripods can be a versatile and beneficial support. They will help you by providing more stability, slowing you down when taking pictures and facilitating minimal movement when framing and capturing your shots.
- Don’t Zoom, Crop It
When you take a photo of something far away, it’s tempting to zoom in but it’s actually better not to. Using the zoom will result in an ugly, pixelated image, unless you have the latest smartphones with multiple lenses. If you want to get a close-up, it’s better to take the photo without the zoom and crop later with an app. Do ensure that the subject is focused and exposed correctly. Zooming in can also make camera shake/motion blur more pronounced- a recipe for disaster.
- Set Your Camera’s app Exposure Manually
The exposure is one of the most critical elements of a successful image. This is more important than you might think. Most people just point the phone at the subject. Tap the focus, and hit the shutter. Manual exposure gives you the freedom to paint the picture based on your creativity: creating a silhouetted image of a person against the skyline or making the subject brighter than the rest of the image. Having full control of your settings can help you get better photos without the need of a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
- Learn To Edit
Learn to edit your pictures. Learn about brightness, contrast, and saturation. There are plenty of photo editing apps that can help you to make better images – Adobe Photoshop Express, Lumina Creative Studio, Adobe Lightroom Mobile, Snapseed,and VSCO. You’ll be surprised at the difference a simple adjustment of saturation/contrast can do to your image. Learning how to edit will also greatly improve your shooting as you’ll learn from your mistakes and explore new ways to shoot.
8. Symmetry And Pattern
Understanding Symmetry is knowing how to work with leading lines. Knowing how to work leading lines will also help you add depth to your photos. We are surrounded by symmetry and patterns, both natural and man-made. They can make for very eye-catching compositions, particularly in situations where they are not expected. Another great way to use them is to break the symmetry or pattern in some way, introducing tension and a focal point within the scene.
Mirrors are everywhere: glasses, puddles, smooth and shining surfaces. Use these to your advantage and discover other perspectives to shoot from. Symmetry is one of the most powerful tools in reflection photography. Reflection are incredibly beautiful and once you start looking for them, you’ll be surprised to discover that they are all around us.