In this modern age most people almost always have a camera with them. It is both a great luxury and convenience of modern life that wasn’t available to past generations. If you’re out somewhere, and you happen to spot a unique or exceptional photo-opportunity, most of the time, and for most people in this part of the world, capturing a photo of the memory is an at-hand possibility.
The photos produced with typical smart phones, however, are rarely very good photographs — unexciting looking, plain, nondescript snapshots. Modern mobile phones are great for capturing a moment that can be used to prod and accentuate you’re mental memory of an event later on down the road. But, in most cases, the photos themselves are not likely to really wow anyone. And, of course, it would be nice if they did.
Some people think that, when it comes to photography, smart phones are really only good for doing that, and only that — capturing simple, unimpressive images that are really only good for a basic recording of an event. Lenses, on even the most expensive, top-models are very small and the optics aren’t very good when compared to pro-camera gear. So, if you really want a stunning photograph, smart phones just aren’t the right tool for the job.
Well, don’t believe it. Of course you’re never going to be able to get the full level of what a skilled photographer could get using top-of-the-line, pro-level dedicated photography gear. But, with the right technique and by putting into practice a few, simple tips for how to take better pictures with your phone, the average smart phone can be used to easily capture some truly impressive images.
How to Take Better Pictures with your Phone, Tip #1:
Become as familiar as you can with your phone’s camera system. Practice with it. Gain an in-depth understanding of your phone’s controls, how they work and why each one does what it does. Before you can know how to take better pictures with your phone you must know, as best as you can, just how to take pictures with your phone, period. The more familiar you are with the process, the more masterfully you’ll be able to control your phone and make it do exactly what you want it it do.
Take some time to really familiarize yourself with your particular phone’s photo taking capabilities. Read the instruction manual, and practice with it — exploring the different photo features your camera offers. Does your camera have zoom functionality? Focusing controls? Shutter adjustment controls? Built-in photo-effects? Figure out what your camera can do and spend time getting familiar with each of its functions.
How to Take Better Pictures with your Phone, Tip #2:
Pay attention to light! Photography is the capturing of light. So, like in all photography — no matter what sort of photography equipment you’re using — light is everything! No light = no photo. Bad light = bad photo. Learn to recognize the nature of the light available to you in your environment when you’re taking the photo. And, learn to exploit it. Look for pleasing or interesting natural light sources and use them. Position your subjects to take the best advantage of the light. Use interesting side-lighting, if its possible. Try to avoid light that is too direct — coming from directly behind you, the photographer. Look for angled light that creates a sense of depth, or might create interesting and visually pleasing shadows.
If there is enough natural light available, then make sure you turn off your phone’s flash in order to eliminate the harsh, direct light it provides. If there isn’t enough natural light available, and you need to use the flash, then diffuse that harsh flash into a softer, more visually appealing light. You can hold a piece of wax-paper in front of your phone’s flash to diffuse the light somewhat. This will provide a marked improvement in the look of your photo over just using the direct, bare flash. Just remember that by doing this, you’ll reduce the intensity of the light, as the waxed paper will absorb some of the light from your flash. So, your photo will turn out more dim. And, of course, make extra sure that none of the wax paper is in front of your camera’s lens and makes it into the photo.
How to Take Better Pictures with your Phone, Tip #3:
Watch out for camera shake! Camera shake can ruin an otherwise great photo and make your picture look horribly amateurish. Camera shake is a lurking problem with all sorts of photography equipment, but with phone photography its particularly bad.
If you watch people take photos with their phones, you’ll commonly notice that a lot of people have a tendency to hold their phone at, or near, arm’s length when taking a photo. Having your arms extended when you take a picture drastically increases how much you’ll shake. And, of course, how much of that camera shake blur will end up in your photographs. Instead, hold your phone in close to you. Rest both elbows firmly against your torso, and grip the wrist, or hand (whichever feels more comfortable to you) of the arm that’s holding the camera with your other arm. This will minimize the amount of camera shake you’ll experience.
Of course, for truly camera-shakeless images, there’s no rule against using a tripod when doing smart phone photography, either!
How to Take Better Pictures with your Phone, Tip #4:
Remember that photography is photography, is photography. And, pretty much all of the same rules about how to capture great, stunning photographs with any other type of camera also apply to capturing images with your phone. So, read and learn about basic photography techniques, like composition and how to use and exploit natural light.
Here are a few great primers from right here at PhotographyGiveaways.Com to get you started:
- Tips for understanding how to use natural light.
- Basic rule of photography and composition.
- Digital photography tips for beginners.
- Creativity exercises for photographers.
Remember that when it comes to capturing great and interesting images, composition and creativity is close to everything. This holds true just as much with cell phone photography as it does with any other type of photography. So, learn about composition and get creative.
How to Take Better Pictures with your Phone, Tip #5:
Use apps! There’s a host of great apps you can download for your phone that can be used to improve the final look of your images. There’s even some pretty great free ones. There’s no reason not to use them. And, some of them are pretty darned powerful. Look for phone apps that give you more control over your camera’s shutter speed, or let you play around with the depth-of-field. These sorts of apps can allow you much more creativity in getting your images. Image stabilization apps and rapid-fire photography aps can also be highly useful and help in creating unique and interesting photos with your phone.
Experiment and have fun. And, as is always some great advice for any type of photography: Get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot! There just is no substitute for real-world practice. The more you shoot, the better your photos will get. The more pictures you take, the more you’ll see and learn what works and what doesn’t, and why.
Here’s an awesome bit of wisdom that someone once told me: “If you want to be good at something, do it every day.” What they meant was: If you want to be a writer — a good writer — then spend time writing every day. If you do, then eventually you’ll be a good writer. If you want to be good at playing an instrument, then play that instrument every day. If you do, then eventually you WILL be good at it. It’s the same with everything. So, if you want to take great photos with your phone, then do it every day. Devote some time, every single day, to taking photos with your phone — and, in doing, experiment and try to improve the look of your photos. If you do this every day, then one day you’ll notice that your photos just look awesome. If you practice every day, eventually It’ll just happen.