Traditional digital cameras have become less common over the years as we have gradually swapped them for our smartphones. This is because smartphones let you do more than just take pictures, but also editing and posting on social media, they’re light weight and a bunch of other reasons. Here are a few tips and tricks in how to take better smartphone photos.
Not so long ago, taking pictures on your smartphone was a comprise because they quality of smartphone cameras were poor. But now, we have smartphone cameras with triple camera systems and up to 48-megapixels which are sometimes better than entry level digital cameras. But this doesn’t mean every photo taken by smartphones are great, some you need a little tweak here and there to shoot something close to perfection.
1. A good camera phone
Now this should be obvious but if you are using an older phone, there is very little you can do to make a significant difference in the quality of your photos. Both hardware and software have evolved over the years in smartphones to make it more capable to taking great photos. Any high-end device like the Google Pixel 3, OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy S10 will be great for photos. However, there are other mid range devices with great cameras such as the Redmi K20 Pro and Galaxy A50.
2. Know your Camera’s features
Software on smartphones have added more sophistication to the cameras with different shooting modes. Some smartphones are capable of Bokeh mode (blurring the background) or Live Focus, night mode, taking continuous shots, panorama mode and even slow motion.
Also, selecting the maximum resolution your phone can shoot in is also a good idea. This is always an options in the settings menu of the camera app. Setting your camera at HDR makes for better quality photos although capturing might take about half a second longer. Bottom line is, it is important you know what your phone can do, so you know your options.
3. Keep your lens clean
This is always under looked but the lens is like the “camera’s eye” and should be kept clean for obvious reasons. Taking a picture with a dirty lens may make the images look a little cloudy. Getting in the habit of wiping your lens before taking pictures will help you take better smartphone photos.
4. Take a ton of pictures
The difference between a really great shot and a bad one might just be the number of photos taken. It sometimes takes more than one trial to get a perfect picture, so hit the shutter button a few times to give yourself more options to choose from.
5. Third party apps
Third party apps here refer to both Camera and editing apps. While your phone’s Camera app may be good and reliable, it can sometimes have only the basic options. Downloading a third party camera app gives you a bunch of other features to play with. The same goes for editing apps which for instance, can provide more filters than you default gallery app would have. These third party apps help you take Better smartphone photos.
6. Turn on your grid
This stems from the “rule of thirds”, a rule on painting or photography which helps give your image a good composition. The gist of it is that photos look batter and more professional when their subjects align with imaginary lines that divide the picture in thirds, both vertically and horizontally. This helps place the focus of the image in the center in order to capture the viewer’s attention.
7. Try and Add-On lens
Smartphone cameras have evolved over the years into something special but they are still far from perfect when it comes to their cameras. An add-on lens can add zoom capability on your phone as well as macro shots. The good news is that some of them are very affordable and can convert your phone lens to more advanced pieces of kit. Some even have built-in sensors that provide better image quality. Here are a couple of options with different price ranges.
8. Do not use digital zoom
Avoid the digital zoom function on your smartphone (at least for most phones). When you use a camera with optical zoom, the lens adjusts its inner optical elements, enabling it to increase or decrease its focal length. Sadly, the cameras on smartphones do not work the same way. The zoom function on most smartphones basically just crop in the photo to make the image appear closer, which also leads to a loss in image quality. So, unless you’re using phone with optical zoom such as Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom, OnePlus 7 Pro and a few others, you may want to stay away from using the zoom function.
9. Get some lighting
Light is one of the most important factors in a photo. Smartphones have very bright lenses but the sensors are much smaller, which gives them a disadvantage when it comes to taking photos in dim lighting. To get the best shots, make sure your environment is well lit so your sensor can shine. If you’re indoors, ensure some light in falling on your subject. Also, it is a better idea to get some good lighting (window light perhaps) instead of your under powered LED flash. This wil help you take Better smartphone photos.
10. Edit your photos
One of the main advantages of a smartphone over a traditional digital camera is the ability to edit. Your phone offers you computing power to edit photos like you would on a PC, so make use of it! You have dozens of filters in your default camera app or third party apps like PicsArt, that could totally transform your pictures. You can add filters, tweak colors, straighten images, and more.