I often hear photography experts say that the best camera is the one you have on you. For proof, all you have to do is look at some of the great works of art that exist on platforms such as Instagram. Mobile phone photography has become a serious hobby and even a job for some. Today, in art galleries we see more photography exhibitions than we see paintings. Many of those photos are now taken with smartphone cameras.
Since you have decided to read this article, I believe you are passionate and eager to learn more about smartphone photography. Whether it’s your hobby or job, these tips will help you learn how to create amazing mobile photos.
9 essential mobile phone photography tips
1. Keep your lens clean, beware sharp objects
Yes, I know this seems obvious, but how often do you actually clean your mobile camera lens? We all keep our phones in pockets or bags, where they can easily get small dust particles on them. We also often leave fingerprints on the lenses without being aware of it.
Lenses are essential to the photographic process and you need to take good care of them. Give them a good wipe every now and then, and never keep them close to sharp objects such as keys. Keep your camera lens clean and you will be surprised by the effect it will have on the quality of your photos.
2. Focus! Go manual if you have to…
Make sure to keep an eye on the focus every time you take a photo of a certain subject. If your phone is having problems achieving proper focus, tap the screen where your subject is and take the photo. You will probably have to focus this way whenever you have a moving subject.
When your photos have a well focused subject, you can easily blur out the background later in the editing process. But if you take a photo that has an out of focus subject, it will be practically impossible to give it proper focus later on.
3. Forget the flash, here are some alternatives
Lighting is what makes a great photo, but certainly not the kind of lighting the flash on your phone provides. The use of flash is actually one of the biggest mistakes you can make in mobile phone photography. Smartphone flashlights are too bright, providing a really bad color temperature. They can make your photos blurry, too, because the duration of the light is too long. Another issue is the closeness of the flash to the lens, which usually makes for red eyes in your subject.
It’s always best to use the benefits of natural daylight. When this is not possible, look for other sources of indirect light. Use objects that bounce light and direct them to the subject, or just ask a friend to lighten your subject from the side, with their phone, while you are taking the photo.
4. Don’t zoom in, use your feet
Unfortunately, the digital zoom option on smartphones is nothing like the optical zoom on standalone cameras. A digital zoom always results in a significant loss of quality. The more you zoom in to get a closer view, the more your images will degrade. You will get a far better shot if you simply get physically closer to your subject.
Another good solution is to always take photos at the highest quality available and then crop them later on. Cropping will certainly give you photos with better resolution than zooming. It also gives you more control over the extent to which you are willing to sacrifice photo quality when bringing your subject closer.
5. Always keep your camera still, here’s how
Try to use both hands when taking photos with your phone, especially in low light situations. Under these conditions, the phone camera uses a slower shutter speed and even the slightest movement will blur your photo.
It’s best if you use a solid surface to put your phone on. You can use a tripod and the timer option – this way, you won’t be touching the phone while capturing the photo, avoiding any possible camera shake.
6. Explore the ISO settings, go manual
ISO determines the light sensitivity of the phone camera sensor. As you lower the ISO values, your camera will capture less light. If you increase these values, you’ll get brighter images and be able to use a faster shutter speed. Just bear in mind that a higher ISO will also make your photos appear grainier.
Experiment with these settings because they can make a really big difference in a photo. Most of today’s smartphones offer manual ISO settings. If your built-in phone app doesn’t have such settings, you can always download a camera app that does.
7. Use the benefits of panorama mode
Sometimes your phone lens cannot capture the entire scene you want to take a photo of. I am referring to situations when you have a tall building or an expansive landscape in front of you. This is where panorama mode can come really handy. It takes multiple photos as you move your phone and then stitches them together.
Select the panorama mode on your phone. Then, tap the shutter button and pan the camera slowly. As soon as you have captured the entire scene, tap the shutter button again to stop the capture. Remember to keep your camera perfectly steady and avoid any moving objects. Otherwise, your photo will be ruined.
8. Never over-process your photos
Editing is a very important step in photography in general, especially in mobile phone photography. And it can really turn an average photo into a real masterpiece. When I say editing, I don’t just mean putting your photo through several Instagram filters. Don’t get me wrong; I think Instagram is a great platform and I use it myself. However, you need to know when to stop.
The excessive use of this type of filters can make your photos appear grainy. Try various settings that will only enhance the beautiful aspects of your photo. Contrast, saturation, temperature and exposure are the things you need to keep your eye on while editing photos. Also, please don’t over-use the blur option because it gets too obvious and makes your photos look really bad.
9. Take lots of photos!
You can never rely on a single shot in mobile phone photography. What seems perfect on your smartphone display may look bad on a computer screen. The smallest of annoying details may be invisible on your phone screen, but ruin your photo on a larger display or print. Always take lots of photos from different angles, and with different settings. The more you experiment, the more successful you will become in your photography endeavors.
Today’s phones have lots of memory. Use that to your advantage and always have your phone ready to shoot – you never know when the perfect scene appears. Create a shortcut so you can access the camera as quickly as possible. Lastly, don’t forget to use the benefits of photo organizing apps like Sherish.
Sherish allows you to organize your photos into albums and sort them according to your preferences. Thanks to the unlimited storage space it provides, your photos are stored in their original quality, ready to be shared and printed. With Sherish, you can share your photo memories only with the people you want seeing them, without compromising your privacy.