SMARTPHONE SPECIAL Picture This
Today's smartphones come equipped with great cameras, and these tips will help you get the perfect shot every time
Taking great photos with your smartphone requires the same thing as taking great photos with any camera an eye for creating a scene, good lighting, and an understanding of photographic depth. But there are a few tips that are especially useful when you're taking shots with your phone.These ten tips will help take your phone pictures from “blah“ to “fantastic“ in no time.
Take an Extra Second
Now that smartphone cameras can take pictures that are just as clear and crisp and a regular camera, there's no excuse for hastily snapped, bad pictures. So take an extra second make sure your composition is good, include interesting subjects, see if you can improve the lighting or the angle, and figure out where your viewer is going to be looking. A lot of these are basic checks for good photography, but many people aren't used to applying them to smartphone pictures. It only takes a few seconds to drastically improve your photos.
Use Principles of Composition
A lot of the things that come intuitively when you're trying to compose a scene actually don't make for great photographs. Putting the horizon in the middle of a scene, for example, creates a strangely unbalanced photo, where the viewer isn't sure whether to look at the ground or the sky first. Learning a few basic rules of composition can make a huge difference.
If you only take away one thing from that article, let it be the rule of thirds: place important items in your photos about a third of the way in from one of the sides (top, bottom, left, or right) of your picture. It will drastically improve your pictures immediately. Also, remember that cropping can improve your composition; if you have a photo that has poor composition, a simple crop can turn it into a masterpiece.
One of the biggest problems with smartphones is that they don't provide optical zoom, which means that anytime you zoom with them, you're going to get a lot of distortion and noise in your photo. You can crop later, but the less cropping and editing you do, the better your photo is going to look. This means you're going to need to get close to your subject.
Getting close to an object applies to just about anything you can zero in on your subject in a landscape, fill the frame with your friend's face, or just get close to something that looks cool. A great way to practice this is to find small things and take a picture from where you would normally take it, and then to take a few steps closer. You'll see the difference in quality right away.
Ditch the Flash
The light that comes from a camera flash, even from your phone, can be really harsh it creates weird highlights and shadows, affects the colours, and can mess up your photo with reflections.Unless the flash is the only way that you're going to be able to capture anything at all, turn it off.
Instead, try to find a good place where you can take advantage of natural light, or at least something softer than your flash.It'll lead to more even lighting and get you a better photo overall.
Use a Different Camera App
The standard camera app that came with your phone is fine, but if you want to get great shots, you're going to want an upgrade.Third-party apps generally offer more settings, like allowing you to set the focus and the exposure separately, take burst shots, use different flash options, and more.
There are lots of third-party camera apps out there, but some of the biggest names are Camera+, Manual, ProCamera, Camera ZOOM FX, and Camera 360.You'll probably need to pay to get one of these apps, but the improvement in your photos will be absolutely worth it.
Learn the Settings
One of the biggest benefits of a third-party app is that it will allow you to tweak the settings to better fit the scene. Adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will let you get exactly the picture you want, whether you're looking for a shallow depth of field, motion blur, tack-sharp clarity, or just an allaround good photo.
Some of the apps are fairly complicated, so it might pay off to watch a tutorial on YouTube or at least read the instructions on the developer's website. And if you're not sure which settings you should be changing, try messing around with an online camera simulator that will help you learn what the different settings do.
Use HDR, in Moderation
High dynamic range (HDR) is a polarising topic on one hand, it helps you get a balanced exposure in a photo that contains a lot of highlights and shadows. On the other, it can be overused and create photos that look a little... off.If you don't go overboard with it, though, it can be really useful.
Because your phone will take multiple pictures at different exposures and blend them together, you can usually fall back on picking out one of the photos if the HDR blend goes badly, too. In general, I recommend leaving HDR on Auto. You can turn it off if you want to practice getting good exposures, or you could use an app entirely dedicated to the creation of HDR photos.
Easy on the Filters
Instagram popularised the idea of filters, but there are tons of apps that will let you apply a specific combination of effects to get a new look for your photo. But you don't need to filter every photo.
Instead, take a moment to think when you're lining up your photo what sort of look would best fit the mood you're trying to set? You might be able to use a film grain filter to make a portrait look old-fashioned, for example, or a highly saturated filter to get the most out of a fall leaves photo.And don't be afraid to let your photos speak for themselves the hashtag #nofilter can be irritating, but if you took a good picture, show it off!
Learn to Edit
The idea of learning to edit photos can be daunting, but learning to make quick, small adjustments through an app on your phone is actually pretty easy, and it's a lot of fun. You'll get photos that look better than standard Instagramfiltered ones.
VSCO is a great way to edit photos for free, and Snapseed is another good mobile option. I found that slightly increasing the saturation and warmth of my photos makes a big difference.Explore saturation, contrast, fill light, tint and grain to see which improve your photos the most.
Keep Your Lens Clean
Because your phone is going in and out of your pocket or purse all day, there's the potential for getting the lens really dirty. Wipe off your lens on a regular basis! If you really want to up your smartphone photography game, carry a lens cloth with you and use it on a regular basis, not just when you clean the screen.