“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.” - Paul Caponigro
These days everyone with a smartphone is a photographer, but this doesn’t mean that they are any good. Having said that cellphone photography is so advanced that some phones even have more than one camera.
Whether you are any good or not, phone photography gives just about everyone access to express themselves through the wonderful art of photography. In fact, most photographs taken these days are the result of phone photography!
So while you may have the tools, knowing how to use them is easier said than done. Technical issues like white balance, shutter speed and aperture are all aspects that need to be learnt to take the perfect photo.
Whether you take a group class, find a private smartphone photography tutor, or pick up tips through articles like this, there are definitely techniques to improve your cell phone photography snaps, it just depends on how far you want to go!
So if you are searching photography with smartphone or wondering how to take better photos with your phone, then here are 10 tips worth remembering:
1: Avoid Backlighting
Unless you are specifically trying to create a silhouette, avoid backlit photos that are devoid of detail. This can be tricky to navigate through phone photography as your phone probably doesn’t have a light metre. The best way to avoid backlighting is to make sure that your subject is front-lit.
2: Clean the Lens
It may sound obvious, one of the habits you will need if you want to know how to take better photos with your phone is to always remember to clean your lens regularly. If your images are blurry after cleaning the lens, your lens may have something on it.
Remember that your phone is with you wherever you go and is therefore exposed to lots of dust and grit, but if you intend to achieve good mobile photography, a clean lens is your first basic step.
3: Use Accessories
“I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” - Gilles Peress
Even phone photography experts forget how useful camera accessories for their mobile photography can be. Fortunately, there are many devices and accessories that can be clipped onto your device to take cell phone photography to another level.
Typical accessories for phone photography include fish-eye, telephoto and wide-angle lenses for popular makes and models. You would be very surprised to find out just how professional these extra accessories can make cell phone photography.
Find the best smartphone camera and upgrade the quality of your mobile photography.
4: Edit Your Photos Afterwards
If you’re searching photography with smartphone, bear in mind that editing will need to become part of your phone photography skills too. Having said this, smartphones are so advanced that expensive editing software is not always necessary and much of the editing tools are built into your device.
Remember that every image can be improved in some way even if it is simply using a sharpening tool, adding a filter or removing an imperfection. All of these neat tricks are easily achieved when you understand camera modes for mobile photography.
5: Consider the Purpose of Your Image Before You Shoot
The great thing about mobile photography is that it is mobile! One drawback associated with this convenience is that we tend to shoot before we think. This can result in disappointing images unless you take a second to consider why you took your phone out in the first place.
Questions to ask could include, is this scene worthy of a photo? Will I be publishing this anywhere?
Often, if you are a cell phone photography fanatic, you are also a fan of Instagram. If so, remember to either take the image in the app or use the built-in square photo mode that is built into your phone’s camera.
6: Take Several Photos
One of the great benefits of digital photography is that whether you are practicing SLR or cell phone photography, by taking a few images at once, you have the option of getting it just right. Amazingly there is no extra cost associated with taking several photographs, the only drawback is that by overshooting you may run out of space on your phone.
7: Avoid Using the Zoom
“We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.” - Ralph Hattersley
It’s so tempting to use the zoom function, however, when it comes to cell phone photography there is one main reason to avoid it. Unfortunately, when you use zoom it will pixelate your image. Rather try to get closer to your subject to achieve the detail that you want without creating unwanted blur.
8: Don’t Rush
Remember that just because mobile photography lends itself to quick and nimble results, there is no rush to get the right pic. Pause, take your time and rather get a good quality shot.
Things to consider before you shoot include checking what the light is doing and looking at each of the four corners of your frame for any unwanted bits and pieces. Also, stabilising your device is as important with cell phone photography as it is with other cameras.
Take your time, study your subject and consider your image before you shoot.
9: Use HDR Mode
When possible, attempt to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) Mode. This approach can improve the exposure and the lighting of photos by taking several images at once and then compiling them into one photo.
When it comes to how to take better photos with your phone, HDR is highly recommended because the selection of images allows your camera to choose the right lighting for each part of the photo. What it can’t do is correct chronic blur, so remember to stay as still as you can to avoid camera shake.
10: Avoid Using Flash
One of the first things you will learn in a professional photography course is to avoid using your camera’s built-in flash. The same is true for cell phone photography. Of course, if you are looking for how to take better photos with your phone, before you are tempted to use your flash, think, and adapt to your surroundings. Remember that natural light is always better over camera flash unless you are trying to create a specific effect.
As well as ensuring that you use the right camera settings, focal length, aperture and white balance, consider the photograph’s composition and use the rule of thirds. You’ll be surprised at how much shouldn’t be in your pic if you take the time to think about it. Even selfies can make great pictures if you take a moment before you hit the shutter.
If you find the right resources from your photography with smartphone resources, it won’t take you long to see that phone photography is more creative and less complicated than you imagined.
Willing to give it a try?
Bonus Tip: Get Help From a Professional Photographer
If you'd like expert assistance with your mobile photography, there are many capable and experienced private tutors on Superprof who'd be eager to help you. There are three overall types of tutorials to choose from depending on your preferred style of learning as well as your budget.
Group tutorials are usually the most cost-effective option for students who are on a budget. This is because students are sharing the cost of the tutor’s time and experience. The downside of this method is that you will receive less individual attention from your tutor and lessons will not be tailored to your personal preference.
Online tutorials are inclined to be slightly more expensive than group classes because lessons are just between you and your tutor. It means that you will benefit from being able to tailor how to take better photos with your phone. You will also enjoy the undivided attention of your tutor. The only downside is that the hands-on aspects of your course could be slightly more challenging.
Finally, in-person tutorials have the benefits of both types of lessons already mentioned, and none of the drawbacks. Not only will you have the tutor fully focused on you, but you will also be able to personalise your mobile photography lessons to suit your preferred style. For instance, if you are particularly interested in landscapes, you can concentrate on those instead of social images or portraiture.
There’s no doubt that one-on-one private tuition is the most effective way to fast-track progress. And even though it has a reputation for being expensive, you will find that Superprof tutors can be surprisingly affordable.
Besides this, there are many other advantages to choosing Superprof tutors. These include the possibility of receiving your first lesson for free, as well as the peace of mind of knowing that all Superprof tutors are credentials-verified. So what’s stopping you? If you’re done with endless hours of searching photography with smartphone, why not try one platform that offers thousands of tutors from around the country (and overseas) to help you figure out how to take better photos with your phone.
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