These days, photos are an important part of how we communicate with other people. If you need proof, then look no further than your social media feed. Images dominate the current social media landscape. We share many things via photos, from important life events to something as mundane as what we eat. And often, we capture those photos using our smartphones.
But if you want your photos to stand out among the millions of others on the Internet, then you better step up your game. Here are 7 essential mobile photography tips to get you started:
Let’s start with the simplest thing you can do: wipe those specks of dirt from your smartphone’s lens. Phones usually spend a lot of time either in your pocket or inside your bag. This exposes it to plenty of dust, dirt, and grease.
Since the camera’s lens is small, these particles will show up as dark blobs in your image, making your image look muddier or even out of focus. A quick wipe is the first step towards ensuring higher quality photos.
In an effective photograph, viewers know exactly what to look at. Whether it’s an interesting feature in the foreground, or a wide sweeping vista that dominates the background, your image’s subject should be in clear focus.
The invention of autofocus has made this task much easier. Nowadays, all you have to is to ensure that your main subject appears in sharp focus. For smartphones (and now even some digital cameras with touchscreens), you can easily set the focus point by tapping on the part of the image you want to emphasize. This lets you pinpoint and highlight the best parts of your image.
In layman’s terms, exposure is simply how bright or how dark an image appears. In photography’s early days, pioneers had to properly compute how much light to let in through their lenses or risk ruining an image. Thankfully, automated light meters made this into a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, standard smartphone cameras have been following the standards set by older cameras – concentrating too much on finding the medium exposure for each image taken. This makes photos taken at night to be a bit too bright, with photos taken in the day being slightly dull.
Most smartphones allow users to override this function via a quick trip to the camera’s settings. Some allow you to adjust only the brightness itself. Meanwhile, others allow you to adjust exposure time to allow the camera to take in more light. Take advantage of these features to guarantee that each shot comes out the way you want it.
Real cameras can zoom in without adversely affecting an image’s quality. This is due to its complex series of glass lenses that bend light. However, smaller smartphone cameras don’t have the same capacity to compensate for the loss of quality.
Instead, most are only capable of digital zoom, which sidesteps the limitation by merely cropping the image, giving the illusion of a zoomed image at the cost of quality. A closely cropped image from a smartphone can look grainy and faces might come across as pixelated.
A much better alternative to using your phone’s digital zoom is to simply walk closer to your subject. This avoids the drop in quality, while also giving you more opportunities to scout out other angles and perspectives.
Composition is important with any form of art. Elements in their perfect place are what make images eye-catching. If you’ve been taking photographs for a while, you’ve probably heard of the rule of thirds. It’s a useful composition technique that equally divides your frame with two horizontal and two vertical lines.
Dividing your frame into thirds creates a 3 x 3 grid to help you line up your shot. You’ve probably already seen guides like this while taking photos in Instagram. Line up the parts of your image along these lines, with your key elements either occupying 2/3 of the space, or the very middle part. This gives your photo structure, balance, and form.
Not everyone appreciates a photobomber, but it’s not just pranksters who photobomb. Unnecessary and unflattering elements in your background can also end up distracting your audience.
To work around this, you can change the angle and obscure distracting objects. You can also use our earlier tip of getting closer to your subject for a tighter shot. Avoiding clutter isn’t just a way to avoid confusing people, though. It also adds a spice of minimalism and classiness to any image. As they say, photography is sometimes more about what you leave out than what you put in.
If you need want to step up your game further, but don’t want to get a new phone, then consider some nifty add-ons and accessories. Aside from flash units, tripods, and remotes, you can also get snap-on lenses that add zoom or filters to your shots.
But if you want to go bigger, then maybe a specialized device might be the ticket. For example, a Sony Cyber-Shot Style Lens is more than just your usual snap-on. It’s a device in itself that can attach to the back of your device and connect via Wi-Fi or mobile tethering. This converts your device into a feature-packed camera.