7 tips for awesome smartphone photography

With advances in camera technology, smartphone photography has really taken off. We’re now starting to see more and more fantastically framed and perfectly exposed photographs that have been taken on none other than a gadget that fits into your pocket.  More and more we’re doing away with digital cameras and SLRs, so why not make the most of our little smartphone geniuses and get them to take something decent, rather than just a plethora or blurry, posed shots.

Here’s some really simple tips for taking some awesome photos with your smartphone – but be warned, these are only just the tip of the surface and don’t even start to cover things like editing apps and such.

 

Smartphone functions

A lot of smartphones have a number of great functions including panorama capability and HDR (High Dynamic Range) functions. Whilst panorama is pretty self explanatory, HDR probably not so much.  In HDR mode your smartphone takes multiple shots instead of just one, then splicing together the same image at different exposures to hopefully get the best of all of them.

Smartphone still photo with HDR on

Smartphone still photo taken with HDR on and off (image from here)

It’s good in theory but not always effective and HDR can be susceptible to blurring your shots so use it with static pics like landscapes. It can be a little tricky to work on some phones but it’s worth having a play with it to see the differences in your pics.

Crop don’t zoom

If you’re trying to make an image larger within your photo, you’re better off working the crop function rather than zooming it. Most smartphones have a zoom function but once you start using it, there’s a noticeable degradation of the quality of your photograph. On the other hand, many smartphones are 8 megapixels or more so cropping a little here and there means you’ll still have a decent level of resolution to retain a quality photo. Just be mindful not to overcrop and lose the original focus of your photo or risk crowding your picture.

The rule of thirds

This is one of the very basics of photography and applies regardless of whether you’re shooting with a smartphone or traditional camera. The rule of thirds means you imagine a grid of lines on your smartphone display and divide the screen into thirds both vertically and horizontally.

Rule of thirds smartphone photography

Rule of thirds
Image from here

Some smartphones will come with the option to actually display the grid for you. To make your photo more appealing, try lining up your object of focus at the cross section of any of those lines.

 

Lighting

Regardless of whether you’re using a smartphone or traditional camera, you’re going to need a source of light. Just how much light you need will depend on what effect you’re looking for. Good light will give your photo depth and character which usually means if you’re shooting indoors on a cloudy day you’re going to struggle to get a good pic.

iphone photo sunrise

This photo was taken by Eric Teske with an iPhone. He tapped on the brightest part of sky within his screen to balance the light.

Try not to shoot directly into backlit situations and try to have the light falling on your object of focus. If you’re in a low light situation, think twice before using your phones camera flash. This type of flash can have harsh effects and leave people looking white and ghostly. If you really need to use the flash if you place a light coloured sticker or tissue paper over your flash when you use it, it will soften the light.

Don’t forget to focus

Your smartphone is clever but it can’t read minds so you’re going to have to show it what you want it to focus on. Many smartphones have a tap to focus feature which allows you to tap on the object you want to focus on and others have a two-stage shutter button to auto focus your camera. Whichever way your camera focuses, use this function to ensure you capture what you’re planning to.

Clean your lens

It may seem really simple but even the tiniest speck of dust or grit on your smartphone lens can affect the quality of your photo. Considering for most of us our phones are stuck in our pockets or handbags for most of the day, chances are they’re going to get dirty. Take a moment to give the lens a clean before you capture your next memory.

Print and display

With digital technology the way it is, it’s so easy to point and capture hundreds of photos in the blink of an eye. After capturing your masterpieces, don’t forget to take a moment to select your favourite photos to print and display rather than just hide them away on your smartphone or your computer.

 

If you’re looking for a fabulous portable wifi photo printer that lets you print straight from your smartphone, look no further than the Pringo digital printer - only $149.

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