Before the days of smartphones and social media, a good photograph required an expensive camera and high-end editing software. But thanks to continued modern technological advances with our mobile devices, a good photo and the ability to share instantly are all just a click away.
This is not to say that snapshots from your phone should replace professional top-quality photos for your website but there are certainly more photo opportunities than you might think with your mobile device.
While taking a photo with your phone doesn’t require loads of equipment or time, it does require a bit more than just pointing and shooting. So, what’s the secret to taking good pictures with your smartphone? Here are a few tips and tricks that can help make your photos stand out and you look like a professional photographer.
Maybe you’re good at composing the shot but not quite sure about the technical pieces that make a good photo. These are a few simple tips to consider before pushing the button.
- Don’t zoom in! Number one mistake people make on their phones is zooming in to capture a photo from a distance. Zooming in degrades the quality of the photo by making the photo appear grainy, pixelated, or blurry. Either try to move closer to your subject or crop your photo during post-processing to “zoom” in on your subject.
- Get in focus. Nothing ruins an image more than a subject that is out of focus. Since it isn’t always obvious to your phone what the subject is, you need to set your phone’s focus manually. Simply open your camera app and tap the screen where you want to focus.
- Know when to use your flash. Most might think that the best time to use your flash is when the scene is dark but rarely is this the case. Because dark scenes reveal a sharper contrast against the flash, it can make your image look like you used flash. On the other hand, in an already well-light scene, a flash can help fill in and soften dark shadows that can creep in behind or beneath your subject. Test it out and see for yourself.
Composing a shot can often be the most difficult part. Being able to recognize a good photo opportunity can be half the battle. Luckily there are a few tips for what to consider when composing a photograph.
- Determine your subject. Every good photo should have the main subject of focus. Most professional photographers will say the subject shouldn’t fill up the entire frame and that two-thirds of the photo should be negative space. There is no absolute rule to this. So, use it more as a guideline. But always try to have a main point of focus when composing your shot.
- Create different perspectives. It is natural to just point and shoot with what is directly in front of you but if you move around, look up, look down, you will find a completely different image from each angle. This is one of the best composition tips to play around with. If you don’t like the image, simply delete and try it from another perspective.
- Use leading lines. When you feel drawn to a certain part of a photo it is often because there is a line that pulls your eye towards that point; this is called a leading line. This line can often be a bridge, a staircase, a river, or stream. Leading lines help to create a sense of depth in an image by adding dimension.
- Look for patterns. Repetitive patterns can be very pleasing to the eye such as a tiled floor, set of stairs, or a wallpaper pattern. These patterns can be found in the smallest of details or on a larger scale, but the important tip is to keep your eye for them.
Most photos (unless the lighting was perfect) requires a bit of editing when shot directly from your phone. There are many photo editing apps that allow for quick and easy editing right from your phone. It can be as simple as, take the photo, upload to an app, select a few filters, and be ready to post your amazing photo.
A few photo editing apps that are simple to use and have high-quality editing tools built in are Snapseed, Foodie, and Pho.to.
Three key things to think about when editing:
- Exposure. Is the photo too dark or too light? Most editing tools will allow you to adjust the lightness or darkness of a scene with a sliding scale.
- Contrast. Does the photo look dull? Add some contrast to make colors and shapes pop.
- Crop. Cropping can make all the difference in the world. Look at your photo, if you see someone’s finger in the corner or maybe there’s an object you don’t want in the picture, crop the image. You will be amazed at the transformation by simply cropping your photo.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to what photos you can create right from your phone. These images are great for social media, blogs, and email. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get good images, you just need to know a few simple tips to help get you started. Now get out there and have fun shooting!
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