Basic Smartphone Photography Tips

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Struggling to get to grips with your camera phone? Here are some basic smartphone photography tips to help you on your way.

Focus

As well as leaving the phone’s autofocus to its own devices, you can intervene and tell the camera where to focus by tapping onto the screen.

Exposure

Exposure equates to brightness.  An underexposed picture will be too dark and an overexposed picture will be too bright.  You can control exposure and get it just right by tapping onto darker or lighter areas of the image before taking the picture.

Camera shake

The enemy of sharp shots! Camera shake is really only a problem when shooting in low light.  Try to hold the phone as steadily as you can and avoid jolting it when taking the shot. Steady the phone by resting your elbows on a table or wall if necessary.

HDR mode

If your phone’s camera has an HDR mode, you can use this setting to help it capture a wider range of brightness levels in scenes with very contrasty lighting. For example, a sunset against a darkening hillside.

Burst Mode

For fast moving action shots, you can keep your finger down on the trigger for a second or so.  The camera will shoot several frames in rapid succession.  You can then select the best shot(s) to keep.

Flash

Switch off the flash.  Food (your dinner!), pets, and people often look pretty awful on phone shots taken using flash.  Try switching it off and you’ll see how much more natural things look.  Just remember to be careful to hold steady if you want to avoid camera shake.

basic smartphone photography tips

The arty stuff (Composition)

Keep it simple

Try not to fit too much in – get in close and fill the frame with your subject.  Pinch to zoom if necessary.

Elevation

When photographing small children and animals, crouch or even lie down, so you’re not looking down at them from above.

Lines

When shooting scenes, try to find a diagonal line like a road or footpath to lead the viewer’s eye from the bottom corner of the frame to your subject.

Symmetry

Symmetry can look great when shooting with the camera in the upright (portrait) orientation, for example, If shooting a headshot.  However, if shooting in the landscape orientation, try offsetting your subject to one side.  Newsreaders on TV are an example of this.

Rule of thirds

Try offsetting your subject to one third in from the side, and one third in from the top or bottom of the frame. The grid on your phone’s screen will help with this.

Orientation

Photograph tall things with the camera upright, and wide things with it horizontally!

…And when shooting video ALWAYS HORIZONTALLY!

Level horizons

Need I say more?

basic smartphone photography tips

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