“You don't take a photograph, you make it.” - Ansel Adams
Taking great photos is within everyone’s reach. 95% of people in the UK own a mobile phone and an increasing number of them are smartphones meaning that anyone can now take photos whenever they want.
This allows them to express their creativity as long as they understand the depth of field, framing, zoom, editing, and how to perfectly capture their subjects.
So how can you take great photos with your smartphones? How can you carefully take aesthetically-pleasing photos?
In this article, we’re going to take a quick look at how to get the most out of your smartphone when it comes to photography.
The Smartphones with the Best Camera
Smartphones are quickly becoming everyone’s best friends, especially when it comes to taking great photos. Of course, if you want to take great photos, your smartphone will have to have a great camera. When it comes to taking photos with a smartphone, you need to choose the right one.
You need to work out which smartphones have the best cameras on them. You can shoot photos with your smartphone using the flash or just natural light.
Here are some smartphones with good cameras:
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro, a smartphone with a professional-grade camera built-in.
- Huawei P30 Pro, a versatile smartphone that takes great photos both during the day and at night.
- Google Pixel 4 XL, a good smartphone with a great portrait mode.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, a great phone with 4 cameras that take sharp pictures.
- Google Pixel 3A/3A XL, great value for money and a good smartphone for those wanting to start with photography.
- Xiaomi Mi Note 10, with 5 cameras, this smartphone will produce fantastic photos.
Any of these phones will take decent photos if you know how to use them correctly.
What Are the Modes on Smartphone Cameras?
“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” - Edward Steichen
Have you found the perfect smartphone? Are you ready to get some great photos?
Perfect! Now you need to get to know your smartphone.
A smartphone camera will have different modes with different uses and functions and you’ll need to get to know them if you want to get the most out of your photography. While each smartphone won’t have the same modes, a lot of them are commonly found on most models.
- Classic camera mode. This is usually the mode that’s active when you turn on your smartphone’s camera.
- Selfie mode. Since most smartphones have a selfie or front-facing camera, selfie mode allows you to take a photo of yourself while looking at the screen.
- Night mode. This mode is designed for low-light and increased contrast in the dark.
- HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode. This mode allows you to improve the overall quality of a photo by taking a few snaps to make into a single photo.
- Portrait mode. Whether you’re in the default mode or selfie mode, this mode is designed to take better pictures of people.
- Square mode. This mode allows you to take square photos, which is particularly useful for social networks like Instagram.
- Panoramic mode. This mode allows you to take super-wide or super-tall photos of landscapes, for example.
- Video mode. While not a photo mode, this mode will be found in the camera settings.
- Slow-motion or fast-motion mode. This is another video mode that alters the playback speed of recorded footage.
As you’ll have understood, if you want to take good photos, you’ll need to use the right tools and modes on your smartphone’s camera. The different modes on smartphone cameras are also a great place for aspiring photographers to start. Whether you’re taking close-ups or entire landscapes, smartphone cameras are often more versatile than they look on the surface.
Most smartphones have a good digital camera lens and settings that you can alter to change the shutter speed, white balance, or focal length.
Which Are the Best Smartphone Filters?
After you’ve picked the right mode and taken your photo, you can go a step further by changing the style of your photo in just a few clicks.
With filters, most smartphone cameras can make your holiday snaps or portraits more colourful or beautiful.
There are a few filters on smartphones you can apply to photos. These include:
- Black and white filter. This will add a greyscale filter to your photos.
- Sepia filter. This can give photos a dated look.
- Warm filter. This will increase warm colours like reds, yellows, and oranges.
- Cold filter. This will increase cold colours like greens and blues.
- High contrast filter. This will increase the saturation and contrast of the photos, making the colours more vibrant.
- Colour filters. These filters tend to be more for fun and apply a single colour over your photo.
Depending on the brand and model of your smartphone, you may have more or fewer filters. These allow you to create great photos with little effort.
10 Tips for Taking Nice Photos with Your Smartphone
In addition to filters, we have even more advice for taking great photos with your smartphone. These tips are useful for most brands and models and can help you to take better photos.
Here’s how to take better snaps!
Click for photography courses here.
Firstly, avoid backlighting. Similarly, make sure that the lens is clean as it means you’ll have less to clean up once you’ve taken the photo.
To take better photos, you can get clip-ons and accessories like fish-eye or wide-angle lenses. Similarly, it’s better to use accessories to get the desired effect when you take the photo rather than add it later.
Focus on the sharpness and tones when taking your photos so you won’t have to add them in Photoshop later. You need to think carefully when taking your photos. Think about what you’re using your photos for as photos for your albums won’t be the same as your photos for social media.
Of course, since it doesn’t cost anything to take photos with your smartphone, take as many photos as you like and just delete the ones you aren’t going to use. This will give you plenty of good photos to choose from.
Avoid using the zoom as this can pixelate the image. Similarly, try not to rush your photos. Many subjects won’t be going anywhere quickly, especially if you’re taking pictures of landscapes.
Make use of the HDR mode. While moving as little as possible, your smartphone will take several photos and combine them into a single photo with the best possible lighting.
Finally, avoid using the flash when possible if you want natural-looking photos. If the lighting isn’t ideal, try using night mode or just taking the photo the next day.
With just a few tips and tricks, you’ll see the quality of your smartphone photos greatly increase. The rest is up to you!
If you'd like more help with photography, there are many talented and experienced tutors on Superprof who'd be willing to help you. There are three main types of tutorial and you can choose the one which best suits your preferred learning style and your budget.
Group tutorials tend to be the cheapest and best for those on a budget as all the students in the tutorial are sharing the cost of the tutor's time and expertise. However, this does mean you'll get less one-on-one time with your tutor and the lessons won't be tailored to just you and what you want to learn.
Online tutorials tend to be slightly more expensive than group tutorials but are just between you and your tutor. This means you can benefit from tailored lessons and learning programmes as well as enjoying the tutor's undivided attention throughout your tutorials. However, without the tutor physically being there with you, it can make certain hands-on aspects of learning a little bit more difficult.
Finally, face-to-face tutorials have the benefits of the previous two types of tutorials without the drawbacks of the tutor not being there or there being other students in the tutorial vying for your tutor's attention. If you want to learn with these types of tutorials, however, you will have to pay more than the other two types as you'll be paying for your tutor's expertise, travel costs, and all the time they put in outside of your tutorials to ensure that they're tailored to you and exactly what you want to learn about.
Think carefully about which type is best for you and discuss all this with any potential tutors before hiring them!