“Taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is.” - Anonymous

Today’s smartphones are used more for mobile phone photography more than any other function that they are capable of. In fact, phone camera settings have become so sophisticated that it is not all that easy to work out what does what. Not only that but device manufacturers are rushing to market to make mobile phone camera features more cutting edge with every new model that is released.

If you are looking for phone photography tips, in this article we take a look at some of the most common modes and settings for taking images with a smartphone.

The best Photography tutors available
Jessica lee
5
5 (8 review/s)
Jessica lee
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jessica
Jessica
R499
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Heidi
Heidi
R295
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Noela
Noela
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dikgang
5
5 (4 review/s)
Dikgang
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Micha kaitlin
Micha kaitlin
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dallas
5
5 (1 review/s)
Dallas
R299
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Talicia
Talicia
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jessica lee
5
5 (8 review/s)
Jessica lee
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jessica
Jessica
R499
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Heidi
Heidi
R295
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Noela
Noela
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dikgang
5
5 (4 review/s)
Dikgang
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Micha kaitlin
Micha kaitlin
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dallas
5
5 (1 review/s)
Dallas
R299
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Talicia
Talicia
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

Default Mode

The default mode is what the camera will automatically offer you when you open your phone. It is the general shooting mode to suit most conditions. It’s a versatile and easy mode for landscapes, portraits if you are trying to take a fairly good image. This is the mode that the more serious mobile photographer will want to ultimately leave behind by using more specific phone camera settings

Selfie Mode

By now, you have probably taken a selfie or two, especially if you have a phone with a front-facing camera. Selfies have become highly fashionable, but why?

Well firstly, unlike the old days of self-portraits where you had to set up a tripod, set the self-timer, and make a dash into your position, the selfie mode actually allows you to see what you are taking a photograph of while you are taking a photo of yourself.

More recently, front-facing cameras used for the selfie mode have become as important as the cameras on the back of a phone. If your aim is to develop photography with phone setting knowledge, the selfie mode is hugely important.

Night Mode

people using smartphone cameras in the dark
Don't forget to use Night Mode when taking photos after dark. (Source: Unsplash)

When it comes to phone camera settings, the Night Mode has become increasingly popular. Bear in mind that our smartphones go everywhere with us and it is becoming increasingly common to desire to take pictures in low light conditions. So whether it is indeed nighttime, or whether you are in a place that has bad lighting, when you are developing your photography with phone skills this is one to certainly try out.

In fact, manufacturers have paid specific attention to this mode and now smartphones with quality cameras usually have an advanced night mode. While other modes may simply subdue dark areas and leave you with just ambient light, night mode can do much more.

Some mobile phone camera features even offer ‘Super Low Light’ mode that alters the sensor’s sensitivity, increases the aperture, and reduces camera shake.

HDR Mode

When it comes to improving your photography with phone quality, if you want to avoid washed-out photos, subdued colours, and white skies, this can be achieved using HDR (High Dynamic Range) Mode. It is not unlike the default mode, but if you’re looking for phone photography tips to take your images to the next level then use HDR to improve overall clarity.

How?

HDR photography with a phone means that the camera will take several images in quick succession. Each section is given the right exposure and results are blended for best results.

Using HDR means that you no longer have to use photo editing software after your shoot. It’s both ingenious and practical, just remember not to move too much.

The best Photography tutors available
Jessica lee
5
5 (8 review/s)
Jessica lee
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jessica
Jessica
R499
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Heidi
Heidi
R295
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Noela
Noela
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dikgang
5
5 (4 review/s)
Dikgang
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Micha kaitlin
Micha kaitlin
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dallas
5
5 (1 review/s)
Dallas
R299
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Talicia
Talicia
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jessica lee
5
5 (8 review/s)
Jessica lee
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Jessica
Jessica
R499
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Heidi
Heidi
R295
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Noela
Noela
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dikgang
5
5 (4 review/s)
Dikgang
R250
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Micha kaitlin
Micha kaitlin
R180
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Dallas
5
5 (1 review/s)
Dallas
R299
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Talicia
Talicia
R100
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go!

Portrait Mode

No article on phone photography tips is complete without a discussion regarding portrait mode. This is a mode that can quickly eliminate that amateur photography with phone look. It has the ability to focus on the subject, blur the background and create outstanding portraits.

Not bad, is it?

Remember that not all mobile phone camera features are created equal, so some phones perform better using this function than others. Generally, if the subject of your photograph is a single person then this is the mode to use. If you are shooting a group of people, ensure that you don’t use this mode as the people on the edge of the group will become blurred.

The three main ways that technology has improved upon this mode include the following:

  • The use of two sensors or cameras allows the phone to calculate the distance between the background and subject to effectively blur the former.
  • One sensor uses an algorithm to blur the background which is not as effective as the first method but still works well.
  • Using a ToF (Time of Flight) sensor the camera uses a light signal to calculate the distances described above. This fairly new technology has significantly advanced portraiture photography with phone.

Need more phone photography tips?

Panorama Mode

woman photographing sunset over the ocean with smartphone camera
Activate panorama mode to capture incredible landscapes. (Source: Unsplash)

When it comes to the convenience of mobile phone photography, it is certainly demonstrated in panorama mode which is used for compositions with ultra-wide or ultra-tall subjects and inspirational landscapes. The reason why it is one of the most popular of all phone camera settings is that you will not need a wide-angle lens. You simply move your phone smoothly from one side to another and images are stitched together for you.

This is one of those mobile phone camera features that exist in even basic smartphones and the results can be truly stunning.

Square Mode

Not all phone camera settings include this mode but it has become popular for mobile phone photography because of social media networks like Instagram.

Obviously, you don’t have to post these images online, however, if you like a square format you can thank Instagram for the existence of this mode.

Check out some of the best smartphone cameras here.

How do you take better Instagram photos?
Taking photos in square photo mode will ensure that they're ready to be uploaded straight to social media sites like Instagram. (Source: Pexels)

Video Mode

The subject of mobile phone photography includes video recording. Almost all phone camera settings include the ability to record video for seconds or minutes. Of course, if you have a good quality phone, the better the quality of your video. In addition, the amount of memory you have stored on your phone will make a vital contribution to the amount and quality of your film.

When it comes to mobile phone camera features, the video function is right up there with many filmmakers using smartphones for their productions.

Check out photography courses here.

Slow and Fast Motion

Other mobile phone camera features worth mentioning are the slow and fast motion modes. Whether it’s an Android or Apple smartphone, you can find fast motion and slow-motion modes on particular models. In some cases, these are used for fun, but they have the power to tell incredible stories with footage.

Once again, when using these phone camera settings, the phone does it all for you. Simply film something and use the setting to either slow it down or speed it up.

As you can tell, these days there are many cutting-edge mobile phone camera features, it’s all about finding the ones that work for you to make the most out of your photography.

Of course, there is surprisingly much more to know about mobile phone photography than simply choosing the right modes. You’ll need to know which phone camera settings to use to achieve professional-looking shots.

When it comes to photography, there are many other technical skills to master like understanding focal length, shutter speed, aperture, clarity, and white balance.

Photography Lessons to Suit You

If you'd like extra help with photography, there are many experienced and talented tutors available on Superprof. There are three main tutorial types depending on your preferred learning style and budget.

Which is the most common photo mode?
When you open the photo mode, you'll be met with the default mode. (Source: Pexels)

Group tutorials are popular because of their affordability which is made possible when students share the cost of the tutor’s time. The downside here is that you will get less individual attention from the tutor and lessons won’t be tailored to your exact taste.

Online tutorials can be more expensive than group tutorials if they are just between you and a private teacher. However, the benefit is that you tailor your programme and make the most of the tutor’s undivided attention. However, without the teacher’s physical presence it can make certain technical aspects of learning photography slightly trickier.

Finally, in-person tutorials have all the benefits of the previous tutorial types without the disadvantages of the tutor not being present or the annoyance of needing to sit through questions asked by other students on matters that you have already grasped. One-on-one, in-person tutorials are obviously more expensive depending on the background and experience of the tutor. Having said that with such a diverse bunch of professionals to choose from, you may be pleasantly surprised by the affordable options on the site. The key to tutoring success is to choose a teacher who is suited not only to your personality but also to your ability, goals, and budget.

So why not take advantage of the many Superprof tutors who offer their first lesson for free and interview your potential teacher to see if they are right for you?

>

The platform that connects private tutors and students

1st lesson free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating!

5.00 (1 rating/s)
Loading...

Niki

Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.