Tips For Taking Better Photos With Your Smartphone

Many people will dismiss a photo right away if they knew it was taken from a smartphone. But a good photo is a good photo, regardless of the gear used to take it. “Camera phones have some inherent strengths and weaknesses, and by emphasizing the good and downplaying the bad, you can take silence naysayers before they can get to the enter key.”

Here are some tips!

Get Close

Image: A flattened pellet from an air rifle after having hit a metal target. Shot in flat light, you can see the impressive amount of detail the camera phone lens can pull out of something so small.

The small sensor provides a relatively wide depth of field  so you can get entire objects in focus where cameras with bigger sensors and longer lenses would have trouble. When you get close, you usually have more control over the lighting of your subject. Small detail shots can be quite effective if done right.

Crop, Don’t Zoom

Image: This image of a mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has been cropped to about half its size. If I had zoomed to get this perspective, much of the fine tree detail would’ve been lost. It was shot through a car window, so the distortion visible in the frame would also have been augmented.

You are best served by pretending that the digital zoom feature on your smartphone doesn’t exist; they do nothing but degrade the image. When you’re cropping, however, you’re actually just sampling pixel info that was actually recorded. With most smartphone’s 8-megapixel camera, you can crop substantially and still have plenty of resolution left for display on the web.

Edit, Don’t Filter

Image: A screen grab from inside the SnapSeed app. It gives you actual image editing options rather than trying to cover up flaws with heavy vignetting or unnatural midtone contrast.

Pre-determined “retro” washes are played out. If you want your images to be unique, use reasonable adjustments like sharpness, contrast and temperature. Image-editing apps such as SnapSeed, Photoshop Express, and iPhoto work best.

Ditch the Flash

Image: Yellow skin, demon eyes, and motion blur. Check, check, and check.

Many smartphones don’t actually give a flash, it’s just a glorified LED flashlight. They are bright, but the color temperature is bad and they don’t freeze the action in the frame as desired. The flash duration is too long causing your image to be blurry, as well as giving the subject demon eyes. If it’s dark, your best bet is to seek out another light source.

Other tips include: not adding fake blur, picking a better camera app, keeping your lens clean, watching the lens flare, making your own prints, and above all else – not forgetting the rules of photography!

I think these are some great tips to follow, sometimes even the best of us forget the most simple and logical elements used to make an image extraordinary.



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