Photos are fantastic; They enable us to capture memories and people we might forget. Or are something in a book that brings the family together to get nostalgic. For some, taking photos from holiday snaps to one for your portfolio can be tricky. Learning to Get the lighting right, finding a suitable composition can be challenging for some people to understand. For an absolute beginner saying the words ‘Rule of thirds’ is enough to make your head explode!
Today, I’m providing you with advice that will quickly take your photography skills from 0-100.
1. Rule of thirds
If anyone reading this has taken a photography class, then you know this one. It’s the first thing you learn. The rule of thirds states that the plans of a photo are split into three vertically and horizontally, which will then separate the image into a grid of nine.
And then, you place the subject of the image where the grid lines are. For specific points of interest, such as a portrait, you might want to go where the corners of the middle square are.
The ‘Rule of thirds’ is excellent for composition in photography and is one of the most straightforward steps to practice in your photography.
2. Use HDR
If you’ve ever looked at the settings on your phone, you’ve seen one that says HDR. Now, for those of us who are the average Joe, just use the flash and hope for the best.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. The setting makes darks darker and lights lighter and is suitable for landscape photography or when many contrasting lights are in the shot.
3. Avoid zooming in
When taking a photo on the phone, sometimes you want to zoom in on a detail and change the composition of a shot. However, don’t digitally zoom in using the phone zoom in feature; move closer. This is because digital zoom options will lower the photo’s resolution and make it pixelated or grainy, which never looks good on an image.
4. Capture more than one shot
Whenever you take a photo, you take more than one shot. We do this all the time, even when not on a smartphone. We do this as it gives us more options to choose from and enables us to improve the image with the extra pictures we take.
Smartphones have more options to take multiple photos these days, such as the burst option on iPhone or the Panorama option on a Google, Pixel. However, that’s better for when you move the phone across the subject area like a wedding.
5. Mess about with the settings
Sometimes we struggle to get the potential out of our smartphone’s camera not because we’re rubbish at taking photos, it’s because we haven’t explored what settings are on the phone or messed with them. When you get a chance, see what options your camera has, what type of flash, and the HDR quality. For example, on a google pixel 4a, it has the panorama option and uses the ‘sphere’ option, enabling you to take a 3D panorama shot and (optionally) share it on Google Maps. However, it doesn’t have a burst setting as the iPhone does.
See what setting or camera options work for you and your photography.
6. Natural light is your friend!
While smartphones have the flash setting that can add to how much light it picks up, sometimes it doesn’t look good on the final product. Even with bright light from a bulb, the camera on your smartphone struggles to pick it up. And can add to the grainy effect you can see in photos sometimes. Using natural light looks nicer and is more potent. Meaning the phones camera and its sensors can pick it up. Use natural light where you can.
7. Perspective is a beautiful thing.
When we take photos, there are two ways we position ourselves and the camera. The first is to keep the phone above the waist as if we’re taking a selfie, and the second is close to our chest. Whilst it looks nice now, and then it is pleasant to change it up. Sometimes that positioning doesn’t fit the image. Try crouching down. Or get a photo from above or moving the subject close to the camera to get an abstract shot. It’ll add a nice variety to your images and give you more angels to utilise.
8. Clean the lens of the camera
Everybody forgets to do this. But if there are random streaks on your phone’s camera or the image in the camera looks blurry, get a cloth and wipe the lens a bit. It’ll stop the blurry effect and enable the lens to keep the subject matter in focus more easily.
Those were my eight tips to take your smartphone photography to the next level. I hope capturing memories or dynamic action shots get easier.
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