Are you an aspiring photographer who has joined modern times with modern technology, ditching the heavy and clunky camera for your always-handy smartphone cam? Or are you after the best way to get your favorite moments in life posted online with perfect pictures and celebrity-status selfies?
Taking pictures is a fun pastime no matter what reason you have. Once you take enough, you might start to doubt your skills or notice problems with your pictures that keep them from being truly postable. If you want to improve your posts, online or offline, use these three simple steps to make sure you get the best picture every time.
How to do Better Photography with a Phone?
Framing Every Pixel
Phone cameras now aren’t what phone cameras were way back when phone cameras first existed. The idea of a blurry, hardly recognizable picture is more in line with the cheapest grade of commercial cameras out there now.
Phone cameras have led the charge in terms of digital fidelity by finding every way to get as much detail as possible within their limited pixel count. Now phones can shoot pictures in 4K and UHD, making them on par with the cameras that pros use in the field. And that’s just one feature smartphones come with.
When you find something that you need to take a picture of, make sure you get all of it in the frame. It might sound easy, just aim until the screen is full, but just how full should it really be? You don’t want too much detail on the sides and not enough in the middle, right? When framing a perfect shot, try to use some built-in proportions.
The “rule of thirds” states that every picture should be composed of equal parts on the borders and the middle and that the main focus of the picture should take up two-thirds, or two sections, with negative space – unfocused, underlit area – taking up the remaining third to make it more striking.
Learning how to frame is step one of taking good photos. A picture is all about a moment of time taken from your point of view. You can also experiment, use the rule of thirds in reverse, and use the emptiness of a frame to make what you’re interested in stand out even more.
Finding the Light
The best lighting is essential because, without light, you can’t see. And neither can your camera. Don’t even think about using cheap or gaudy night-vision filters, those just turn things green. What you want is to balance natural lighting with direct lighting when taking a stellar picture.
Natural lighting is whatever is around and part of the environment. The biggest and most useful natural light is, obviously, the sun – but there are other kinds of natural light to be aware of. Soft light through windows, candles, or firelight, even the dimmer moonlight and starlight can provide a perfect backdrop to take a picture of.
Unless you have flash. But flash only works for one thing, it’s meant to brighten something already bright and put the focus squarely on what the light hits. You also can’t plan for flash, and it leaves a nasty red-eye effect.
If you want to light something up more precisely, go with direct lighting. This can be your phone’s flashlight function or a clip-on like the Auxiwa clip-on ring that fits around the camera lens and lets you shine a light on the screen side of your phone so you can take illuminating selfies.
No need to work a complicated lamp or lightbox around – unless you want to, of course. Studio lighting and self-made attempts at it are also direct light and help give contrasting shadows and focus to a subject.
Try out different lighting solutions, including different times of the day. Look for the “golden hour”, a period of the late afternoon just before sunset where the light is most intense over the horizon but darkest in the shadows. It’s nature’s natural built-in filter.
Test Every Button
Your phone is a mini-computer capable of doing thousands of different things. You can go straight from your photo album to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and post your work all over the place with just a few taps and swipes.
Then you can immediately open up a game and play it or start streaming music or videos. Your phone can do anything, and so can its camera.
If you’re not sure what UHD, HDR, shutter speed, and exposure mean, or what their functions are if you have them, just try them out. Phones have more than just filters and zoom, they have ways of capturing images built in that work with the camera itself.
You can program it to do all kinds of things automatically and easily, and each one would take a tutorial of its own.
Try taking an image you like and recreating it with new settings, then compare the differences. Take selfies in every way with combinations of settings turned on or off, adjusted in different directions, and learn what your phone can do firsthand.
You can find one mix of settings that works best for your general purposes or find one setting that you know works for this one perfect shot you just have to take, but each time you do it doesn’t look quite right.
Photography as a hobby is easier than ever, with budget technology like selfie ring lights much more accessible you can pursue your hobby at a fraction of the budget in comparison with 5 years ago.
If you have a smartphone, you have a camera and therefore you can start taking pictures. Taking them randomly can be fun, but there’s always a way to improve your work, even if it’s just for fun.
Do you want your memories to be blurry, out of focus, and kind of skewed to the side? Or do you want them to be worth sharing?