Smartphones revolutionized the way we snap photos: quickly, spontaneously, and on the fly. No real preparations are needed, but by following these simple guidelines, your amateur photos can look ten times better.
Here’s the Wix Blog’s Smartphone photography guide: From Joe to Pro.
1. Check Your Photo Settings
All Smartphones today can take pictures in different resolutions, so we can change the size of the file (for sending a photo through an MMS or email, for example).
Be sure to take your photos in the highest-quality available, to minimize the limitations of your Smartphone camera.
2. Hold the Smartphone like a Camera
One of the reasons that professional cameras take such beautiful, sharp pictures is their weight, which serves as a stabilizer. Since smartphones are getting smaller & lighter by the day it’s important to compensate for this lack of stability by “anchoring” your phone correctly – hold your smartphone as close as possible to your body, instead of holding it with your arms stretched (after all, you are taking pictures, not dancing tango).
3. Use the Timer to Avoid Blurry Pictures
Because not all smartphones were designed to be photographer-friendly (duh!), the actual act of taking a picture can be a little tricky. Even if you’re one of few lucky people who have a dedicated shutter-button, the ergonomics are just not there yet. So instead of doing finger-yoga, try to use the timer feature. This way, you can press the shutter first and then you have time to hold the phone correctly.
4. Zoom with Your Legs
Since the lenses on a smartphone are very small, it’s hard to find a phone camera with good zooming capabilities (at least not yet). Instead of counting on your camera’s limited zoom, try walking and closing the gap between you and your “object”.
5. Use the Best Apps Available
Most smartphones you can buy right now have an OK-but-not-great photo app. But there are much better alternatives, for iPhones and Androids. Apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic or 360Camera are the most common ones, but you can find alternatives for specific types of photography (like HDR, Panoramas or Macro photography).
6. Have a Shortcut for a Quick Start
Photography (especially on a smartphone) is all about timing. Since you already have a camera with you at all times, make sure you’re prepared and ready to use it at a moment’s notice!
7. Diffuse Your Flash
Your smartphone’s camera flash is really strong (to compensate for its small size). This is something that affects every camera that comes with an on board light (like the popup flash on your DSLR).
The solution is simple and effective, and one that MacGyver would be proud of: just put a small piece of transparent tape over your camera flash! It will act as a diffuser, spreading your light over bigger area and avoiding that harsh deer-in-the-headlights look that normal flash photos have.
8. Use Your Flash Even During the Day
This one may sound strange, but it’s actually one of the most useful tips in photography. By using your camera’s flash during the day, you can handle difficult conditions, like when shooting towards the sun or when your model has that hard shadow under their eyes).
9. Try Different Positions
Kamasutra jokes aside, the good thing about having a small camera in your pocket is the fact that you can take a picture in some really cool angles, something that you can’t really do with a full-size camera. Try getting really low on the ground, or putting your phone inside other objects for a different point-of-view.
10. Shoot, don’t talk!
There is a rule about photography that says that “the best picture is the one you take”, meaning that it doesn’t really matter what kind of camera or lenses you are using, the important thing is for you to have your camera with you.
The best thing about digital photography is that after you get a camera, taking pictures is free! There’s no revelation/processing costs, so go ahead and get crazy with your shutter finger! If you think you have a good potential picture, take 10 photos of the scene, trying each and every angle that is possible. And when it’s time to select the winning photo (and deleting the bad ones), do it on your computer; because the screen is so small on the phone, you can miss some cool detail, something that actually looks good once you see it at full-size :)
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