These days, you can count on smartphone to have high-resolution sensors (12 megapixels or more) to provide sharp cropped or enlarged prints. They have optical image stabilisers to help minimise blurriness from a shaky hand. And they can capture spur-of-the-moment video with high-definition clarity.
Many new phones also now include two rear-mounted cameras in addition to the selfie camera on the front. One camera handles most shots while the other works either as a zoom or wide-angle lens. Some phones use both cameras together to generate stylish effects like a blurred background, what photographers call bokeh.
Most of us keep our phones with us all the time, which means most of us have a camera with us all the time too. Because of the advances in smartphone design, that camera completes a pretty decent job! Excellent shots are promptly within your reach. You can efficiently practice your ability and add to your visual record every single day.
Smartphone cameras are nowhere near as high as DSLRs, and even some point-and-shoots. The megapixel count is low, and they lack the manual controls that permit you to complete shallow depth of field and super-crisp shots of subjects in action. The editing apps are nothing compared to programs like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Here are eight tips that are especially useful when you are taking shots with your phone. These tips will help you capture best photos using your phone:
KNOW YOUR AUTO MODE
Knowing how the automatic capturing mode on your smartphone camera works can significantly help you capture excellent photos. Take the time to learn when it uses high ISOs when it uses long shutter speeds. It especially helps to know when the auto mode struggles, as you can subsequently decide to override the default settings where appropriate.
TAKE MULTIPLE SHOTS
There is plenty of storage on your smartphone, so for every shot that you want to nail, it’s worth taking several photos in quick succession. When photographing dynamic or fast-moving objects – like people, pets, cars, etc. – capturing multiple images will allow you to choose the best shot later. Without disturbing about getting that one perfect image on the first take.
CAPTURE IN RAW
Capturing RAW photos ties in with the early tip on editing. For years now DSLR users have been capturing in RAW to help with the editing process and get the most out of their shots. Today, a small handful of smartphones support RAW capture. If you’re serious about editing, considering switching to RAW instead of primary JPG capture. RAW is an image format that captures unprocessed (raw) data from the camera. When you capture using JPG, features such as white balance are baked into the last shot and detail is lost in the concentration process. The RAW format catches everything, before white balance and other parameters are set, and without lossy compression. Editing using RAW images specifies the most detail and allows you to change elements like white balance and exposure with far less quality loss relative to JPG. While RAW is best for editing, photos captured used in this format are typically 3 to 5 times more substantial than their JPG counterpart. If storage space is a concern, RAW is not for you.
LIGHT IT RIGHT
Small sensors typically found in phones are not always capable when the lighting gets lower, so it’s always great to ensure your subject is well lit when catching a shot. If you can get your camera shooting at ISO 200 or under, you’ll see less grain in the final picture, and photos will look brighter and more powerful.
EXPERIMENT WITH THIRD PARTY CAMERA APPS
The built-in camera apps on phones are okay, but there are more efficient ones out there. These apps are incredibly helpful in editing your work. While you can’t correct problems like bad lighting, you can improve other details to make a subject look acne-free, sharpen specific aspects of an image. Also, you can add interesting text or other effects over the photo.
CROP, DON’T ZOOM
Many smartphone cameras offer a digital zoom function, but you’re almost always best served by pretending it doesn’t exist. Even in the live-view preview, you’ll be able to see how noticeably your images degrade the second you start to zoom.
When you’re cropping, actually just sampling pixel info that was recorded. Many smartphones have 8-megapixels of resolution and sometimes more. That means you can crop substantially and still have plenty of resolution left for display on the web.
KEEP LENS CLEAN
Your pocket is not a clean place, and the dirt that lives within loves to glom onto your smartphone camera lens. The result is blurry, dark images that won’t look good no matter how many retro filters you slap on them. The lenses are now remarkably tough, so giving them a quick wipe with a soft cloth can’t hurt. Once in a while, it’s worth the effort to break out the lens cleaning solution and get the grime off of it. It may not look dirty, and you might not even notice it in your images, but often a deep clean will make a variation.
DON’T FORGET THE RULES OF PHOTOGRAPHY
This is by far the most valuable suggestion of all. The rules for taking the best picture don’t change when you switch between cameras. Because the camera can also make calls, doesn’t mean you should ignore everything you know about steady rhythm and expressive lighting. If you need to keep the rule of thirds or golden ratio layover on your screen at all times to help remind you, certainly turn it on.