A Quick Overview of Cell Phone Photography
We all love to use our phone cameras to capture everyday moments – we pretty much always have our phones with us, and it’s so easy to just pull out and snap photos with! And while the quality of the photos will never be on par with our DSLRs, the photos they do take are pretty darn good, and for a camera that size, you really can’t complain!
Even though phone cameras are easy to use, there’s always room for improvement. There are also several things you can do to make sure your photos are your very best and have pictures that you’ll actually want to print and not keep stored away on your phone.
Remember, this article is a brief overview of cell phone photography. To gain a full understanding of using a DSLR camera, definitely be sure to check out the rest of our posts and videos, which can be found HERE.
So here are our top 10 tips for taking great cell phone photos:
1. Use Natural Light Although phone cameras adapt pretty easily to different light settings, natural light is still always best! Natural light will give you the truest colors and the brighter light will help make your photos a little more sharp. It’s worth it to step outside or move near a window to capture the best shot. But make sure you don't overdo it! Too much light can actually be a bad thing and cause you to lose important details of your subject.
2. Clean Your Lens This makes such a big difference! Try to remember to do this anytime before you shoot pictures, just a quick wipe with a clean cloth (a soft shirt will work) over the camera lens is all you need. This is especially helpful if you have kids who play with your phone...you know, lots of sticky fingers!
3. Move Around Most of us just grab our cameras and shoot what’s right in front of us. Try changing your angle/view to give your photo a more unique look. Get lower to the ground, or try holding your camera up above whatever you’re shooting. And maybe try a few different angles while you’re at it...that’s the beauty of digital photos, being able to take unlimited shots!
4. Don’t Zoom Using the camera’s zoom function generally never helps with photo quality. Your photo will look a lot better if you take the picture as is, and then use photo editing software (or the basic photo editor that comes on your phone) to crop the photo later.
5. Keep Your Phone Steady Camera movement blurs photos, so you’ll want to hold your phone as steady as possible. Use both hands when you can (or even lean your arms on something stable) and stay perfectly still while taking the photo, don’t move (yourself or the phone) until after your finger is off the “shutter” button.
6. Focus Your phone camera has the ability to focus on different things...tap the screen where you want the focus of the picture to be. Your camera will probably automatically adjust the light settings to that spot, and you can even adjust the exposure manually by dragging your finger up and down the screen once you’ve tapped the screen (we’ve only used iPhones, so we’re not sure if this function is available on every phone!). Remember not to move once you’ve selected where you want the focus to be!
7. Rule of Thirds This is a general photography composition rule and helps to give you visually appealing and interesting shots. The rule of thirds divides the image into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, so you have 9 parts. With this “grid”, place your points of interest along the lines of the grid, instead of directly centered. This is also a technique you can use while editing and cropping your photos. It’s not something you need to use for every photo, we like nicely centered photos too, but it helps to give your photos some variety and keeps them visually interesting.
8. Pay Attention to Backgrounds We all tend to be a little snap happy with our phone cameras because they’re just so convenient and it’s easy to take photos at the spur of the moment. It’s great to capture all those fun moments, but remember to pay attention to all the elements in your photo, a busy background distracts from your main focus. Look for solid, neutral backgrounds to make your point of interest stand out. Also, the more you pull your subject away from the background, the more bokeh (background blur) you will create. This is something many professional photographers strive to achieve.
9. Editing & Filters There’s a lot of great photo editing apps out there, so you’ll have plenty to choose from...most phones even come with basic editing tools right in the camera app. A lot of the apps also have filters built in, which are fun to use sometimes, but you don’t want to use filters on every single photo. Take time to learn the different settings, but be sure not to overdo it.
10. Print Phone cameras are great because you always have a camera right in your pocket so you can capture so many different moments. But don’t just keep those memories stored away on your phone...remember to print some of those images! Make sure you check out our post on Printing Images to find the best place for all your photo projects and prints!
Need more of a visual? Check out the video below where I explain a little more about posing your subject for a simple cell phone shot.
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