Keeping up with the Tips&Tricks mania here on our blog, today we’re focused on improving one of the most important parts of all our lives, phone photography, with these brilliant smartphone photography tips!
Because we’ve all got smartphones and we’re constantly posting photos here and there on social media, or maybe, just maybe, we’re tired of dragging 5 to 10 pounds of weight with us everywhere (aka the big ass DSLR camera).
Do you struggle to take impressive Instagram photos? Are you constantly scrolling down social media in awe of how gorgeous some photos look and when you find out they are taken with a phone camera your jaw just drops? Yeah? Well, today we’re showing you exactly how you can take mobile photos from the “blah”:
And you won’t need a super expensive smartphone to do it!
This list is inspired by my beloved Andy, and his constant quarrel with me, every time we go out. You see, as a photographer, I, being Maya, am always dragging at least my camera with me, in my bag, or just around my neck. That’s if I don’t take my other lenses, the external flash, and the tripod… and end up looking like a grunge robot out to kill. Hey! I must be prepared for anything, right?
Now, having gone through some photography courses that have helped me evolve as a photographer, didn’t make it so much easier to handle mobile phone photography, because this is a little bit different, but it helped me understand the process behind an artistic photo.
And because we really believe that a photographer should do a good job, regardless of the tools he or she has at hand, and really because I suck(ed) at taking photos with my (not so smart) phone, this list was born.
But enough with the chit-chatting! Let’s get to it!
20 Brilliant Smartphone Photography tips that you need to know NOW
1. Keep your Lens clean
Having your lens cleaned before a shoot is crucial, it doesn’t matter if they are attached to your DSLR or your phone. It’s true, keeping your phone clean can be a little harder, but it’s the first important step! So try not to skip it.
An easy way to clean them is by using a microfiber cloth and rub it gently on the lens. If the lens is still dirty, one drop of lens cleaner on the microfiber (never directly on the lens, people!) will do wonders.
Related: How to clean your tech
2. Don’t you ever, ever Zoom
The biggest enemy to a stunning photo took by phone is that damn zoom. Instead of zooming in and turning a photo into an unimaginably ugly one that looks like it was taken with a potato, just get closer to the subject.
Another way to put your subject in evidence is through cropping the photo in the post-processing phase, but that can also damage your photo, so use it with caution.
3. Learn to use your phone’s camera
We know that you’re exactly like my Andy here, and when you buy anything new, you just ignore the manual. In order to take really good photos with the camera of your phone, you should read what that damn book says! It’s not the Encyclopedia. Get over yourself. You’ll finish it in 15 minutes, tops!
4. No Flash
Sorry Flash, you won’t be needed here! Now run away and join the Justice League. On a more serious note, the flash on your camera is another one of the enemies that try to damage your photo.
When you’re taking photos with your phone, always keep in mind that you should only use the lighting that you already have, or if you notice that your phone takes “noisy” and blurry photos when it’s darker, try to take them only during the day or turn on some lights!
5. Keep both hands on the phone
If you want to shoot better photos, that are not blurry, moved or look like a painting that’s melting, simply having both your hands on the phone and using the volume buttons as the shutter.
6. Get a better Camera App
This is a trick that surprised me when I found out about it! you know ho they say “there’s an app for that”? Well, in this case, there are several apps that help you take and even edit photos, that are waaay better than the camera app that’s already on your phone.
Use natural daylight light as much as possible, to avoid the “noise”, aka those dots that look like fleas on a picture taken in the dark. Go outside, explore! And if you MUST stay in, switch those lights from the yellow ones that give you the “orange” effect on everything, to some natural light bulbs.
With the light comes the shadow. Embrace the shadow! Don’t be afraid to use them to create something unique and interesting.
9. Focus points
Granted, it’s harder to focus on a single point and make it stand out when you’re using your phone and not the conventional camera, but it can be done. Also, don’t forget, NEVER zoom in, move your ass closer to the subject.
10. Color vs Black & White
What do you think is more impressive? A color photograph or a Black & White? Explore your phone’s camera features, and don’t be afraid of editing a photo. I tend to shoot in color most of the time and go black & white in post processing, just to add a more dramatic look to a photo.
Don’t be afraid to change your point of view and think outside the box. Have a unique perspective on a boring matter. I always try to position myself in different places than the conventional ones or to go a little crazy in post-processing.
12. Tell the Story
Try to channel your inner artist, and try to tell a story with every photo you’re taking. I like to keep everything as natural as possible and let my subjects or the colors tell the story for me. That’s why most of my photos are outside, in nature.
If and when I’m inside, I always focus on shooting near windows, and I try to keep it as simple as it can be.
13. Learn how to shoot on other than AUTO mode
This is similar to shooting with a DSLR camera. In Auto mode, it does the job, but it’s like “Meh…” not impressive. But once you step out of that safe zone called Auto mode, you’ll automatically see change.
Experiment, experiment, experiment.
14. Take a ton of pictures
Or just be like a normal person. But why would you be? If you want to improve your cell phone photography skills it’s just like with any other skill. You need practice. Taking lots of photos is the key, so shoot, shoot, shoot anything and everything you find interesting, for any reason.
15. Don’t be afraid to be different
Like I’ve said before, it’s okay to think outside the box. To be you and not blend in with all the others.
16. Don’t overthink it
When you’re in the right place at the right time, just take it! Don’t stress about it, because the moment might pass.
17. Always be prepared!
Charge your phone before going out or have a battery charger with you if you’re traveling, and keep the camera app open (or easily accessible) on your phone at all times. Don’t want to miss those moments!
18. Learn basic photo editing
From mobile apps that help you edit photos easily before posting them all over Instagram, to Canva, one of the easiest tools available out there, to Photoshop Lightroom for the tech-savvy, anything goes. What’s important is to learn the basics of editing: Color contrast, lights etc.
19. Keep it simple
When it comes to photography, no matter if it is for the blog, for fun, for clients, the best way to success is simplicity. The photos should not be overcrowded in any circumstance, and the overall process should be a great experience.
20. Have fun!
This is probably one of the most important and oh, so complicated things to achieve! Can it be done? Seriously now, try not to get frustrated if something doesn’t come as perfect as you imagined it. Just go with it!
We hope you enjoyed our smartphone photography tips and tricks for today, and if you did, don’t be shy! Share them, tweet them, Pin them!
Our question for you is: How does your latest smartphone photo look like? Feel free to share it with us in the comments!