Simple Tips for Great Mobile Photography
Gone are the days when the best photos could be taken from high-end mobile phones and DSLRs only. The average phone camera has only become better and better every passing day. The quality of the photo and the popularity of smartphones has even eroded huge chunks of revenue from traditional camera makers such as Canon and Nikon.
With the recent rise of computational photography using powerful processors, high-end mobile phones from Apple, Samsung and Google can take breathtaking photos very easily. But most people can’t afford and have to live with the budget and mid-range phones.
These budget and mid-range phones are not that bad either, and there are few basic techniques, if followed properly, that can bring the best out of these devices. It is possible to take great shots for your Instagram, and other social media feeds. I have been using these tips and tricks myself to take great photos for my social media.
Lighting is the most important and fundamental concept in photography. Apart from determining the brightness and darkness, it also sets the mood, atmosphere, and tone. Therefore it is the most important trick to extract every last bit of performance out of your mobile phone. Despite the recent trend of using bigger sensors in mobile phones, it is still tiny and fraction in size compared to the high-end DSLRs.
The smaller the sensor, the more light it requires to produce a good quality photo. All the flagship phones from Apple, Google, and other manufacturers use machine learning and AI to create beautiful stunning images. Just look at any night mode images from the iPhone and pixel phones to get an idea, but unfortunately, it is restricted to these flagship phones only.
If you are using a budget or mid-range phone, then the best thing to do is lighting up the scene as much as possible.
Light up the room, open the windows, move to the balcony or to the backyard. Move the subject closer to the window, balcony, or the source of light. For the subject, try to avoid the backlit and always prefer the lit from the front. Do whatever is possible to ensure the subject receives as much light as possible.
If you are in a place like a dimly lit nightclub where you can’t do much, there are always multiple ways to increase the light on the subject. A few seconds of analyzing your surroundings is usually all that is required to find the perfect spot with good lighting.
2. Steady hand
A steady camera is another critical component of a good and sharp photo. Most phones nowadays come with the optical image stabilization feature that uses mechanical methods to compensate for the camera shake and drag. It has its own limitations when the light is dropping.
Therefore it is always recommended to hold your phone as steady as possible. If you can’t hold your phone steady, rest your elbows on a surface or rest the phone itself on the steady surface to get a good shot. An unsteady hand/phone will lead to a blurry shot, so it is worth the effort to ensure you get the sharpest shot possible.
This is the most unused but important feature of a mobile phone camera and so much so that many people do not even know that it exists. When you are taking a picture from your phone, it always attempts to find what the subject is automatically and focuses on it while setting the brightness accordingly. But it is not perfect always and is prone to error from time to time depending on the device you are using.
Leaving the decision on your phone can result in poor focus or a badly lit image, especially if the background is complex. Tapping on the screen precisely tells your phone, which is the subject of the image, so it can reliably work on the focus and brightness of the subject. Tap to focus is even more important when you are trying to take photos of inanimate objects, as phones are a little better at identifying human faces.
4. Avoid using flash
Yes, your phone camera needs light and lots of it as much as possible. But phone flash is the worst kind of light your phone actually needs. Mobile phone flashes are a strong burst of light that, more often than not, bathe the subject with too much light and glow.
Therefore if you are not someone who needs to take a photo without regard for the aesthetics, keep your phone flash off. It would be best if you always preferred to use natural illumination and artificial light from sources like bulbs.
5. Clean the camera lens
Yes, we know the phone camera lenses are tiny compared to the DSLR camera. But unlike a DSLR, your phone doesn’t come with a lens cap. Phone camera lenses have all the lint from our pockets and fingerprint smudges. The buildup of all this on your camera lens can lead to hazy images that no editing software can fix quickly.
We can use a lens cloth along with some liquid cleaner, and even wiping the lens with any soft cloth is better than doing nothing.
The composition is a very vast subject, and it may vary greatly depending on the object you are shooting. But there are few basic rules that matter, and if applied, it results in great shots taken from your phone. Firstly turn the camera grid lines, which are available on almost all the phones. If it is not available, then check the camera settings, or a simple google search would do it.
These 3 x 3 grid lines are essential and do the two most important things. First, it helps you to follow the “rule of thirds” to take images. Now without going much into the intricacies of it, remember to place the most important aspects of the image at the intersections of these imaginary lines. Secondly, these grid lines also help to align your frame neatly. Always ensure the lines in your image are parallel to the grid lines to get a more aesthetically pleasing image.
If you are shooting humans, then make sure they are not too far from the camera and therefore appear too small in the frame. Applying the rule of thirds may also result in an unbalanced image due to an empty scene in the picture. In that case, it is always best to balance the image by including another object to fill the space.
7. Edit the photos
All the phones nowadays have an inbuilt phone editor ranging from basic to advanced depending on what phone you are using. But it is always worth editing your photos by using excellent and simple photo editing software like Superenhance.ai
Try and tune up the contrast and saturation while fiddling with the white balance to enhance the image. Try not to go too far with the editing so that the photo does not look realistic at all because it is very easy to make things look overprocessed. Remember to use the real-life scene as your benchmark while editing the photos.
These are just some of the primary and essential methods to keep in mind when using a camera phone. I am sure there are other tips and tricks as well that you might have found useful while using your phone cameras.
There are dozens of templates available on superenahnce.ai that uses Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to enhance your images to perfection in just a click.
8. Break the rules
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist”
~ Pablo Picasso.
Photography is an art, not a science. There are no strict guidelines about what to follow and not follow. What we have discussed till now are well just guidelines.
Follow them to see the difference it makes to your photography while at the same time, keep on experimenting with your own ideas. If something doesn’t work for you for the scene you are shooting, ignore it, and experiment.