In the age of the smartphone, everyone has become an amateur photographer, with an interest in creating quality photos for their friends to enjoy on social media. Smartphone photography has made huge strides in a short time. Camera hardware and software are both very powerful and allow us to edit and distribute our images in an extremely efficient way. The quality of the images a smartphone can produce are high enough quality images for commercial stock applications if you know how to use your camera correctly.
The tricks to better smartphone photos are very similar to those for SLR or any other kind of photography. Here are some tips for taking better smartphone photos:
1. Know your tools
Read the smartphone literature and smartphone photography blogs in order to get to know the capabilities and limitations of your hone’s camera. Typically, smartphone cameras have a limited shutter-speed range and a fixed aperture.
2. Know the apps
There is an endless number of apps that can help you overcome a camera’s limitations and enhance photos.
Camera+™ and Camera Awesome™ (Apple® iOS only) have a number of editing tools (grid, levels, editing, exposure and focus adjustment).
Professional editing apps like Adobe® Photoshop® Express, Photoforge and NIK® Software’s SnapSeed (iOS / Android) are all available in smartphone versions.
Slow Shutter creates ethereal long-exposure effects.
Make sure to save your images at the highest resolution before applying filters or editing.
Exposure is always best when taken into consideration during shooting and not afterwards, even with all the great editing apps and filters available. Small sensor cameras (like the one in your phone) need light! Play around with the conditions you’re in: see the sun, get in the shade, use a piece of paper to bounce light, try a few different angles, etc.
Using a smartphone’s flash is the worst of all possible options.
Good composition, a concept inherited from classical painting, will result in better looking photos. Here are a few tips:
A. Make sure that horizons and dominant lines are level and straight in a photo.
B. Use the rule of thirds. The center is not always the best spot for a subject.
C. Be conscious of positive and negative space.
D. Take shots based on color patterns and contrasts.
E. Watch out for cluttered backgrounds. Nobody wants to see messy backgrounds taking away the focus form a good subject. Be conscious of electric poles and buildings in the distance.
F. Interfere. Arrange the frame and subjects the way you want them.
5. Framing shots
Use objects in the foreground to frame the main subject and give depth to your shots. Don’t be afraid to shoot through windows, doors or from unusual angles. Get up on the ladder!
Frame a shot from a few angles before deciding which one looks best. Lay down on the floor, climb a a few steps or do anything that can bring interesting perspective to your shot. Additionally, get close and focus on the small details, or go wide and give more context and sense of place.
When colors or lighting in an otherwise great image don’t satisfy you, contemplate using a black & white composition. B&W can also save a noisy or poorly-exposed image.
When in doubt – always shoot wider than you need and crop the image later. However, be careful of overdoing it as cropping a photo too close will reveal pixelation and make photo sharpness suffer.
Think about investing in smartphone camera accessories like a tripod or attachable lenses to take your photos to the next level.
10. Take more photos
The most amazing and overlooked aspect of digital photography is the fact that you can take an unlimited number of shots in order to get a perfect one – this wasn’t true in the days when people paid for film and film developing! So, just keep shooting!