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10 Tips for Taking Better Photographs with Your Smartphone

taking better photographs

Welcome to the world of the pocket paparazzi!

Smartphones, their built-in cameras and social media’s demand for image-rich content have made us all amateur photographers. Instagram and Snapchat are built around the reign of the image. And a quick glance at your social media analytics will quickly show you that Facebook and Twitter posts with images get more impressions, more engagement and more clicks.

But just because a camera is literally at your fingertips more hours than not doesn’t mean that you’re automatically an old hand at capturing great photographs. It also doesn’t mean you have to look like an amateur.

Here are just a few quick tips to help you take better photographs with your smartphone. So wipe off that wee lens and let’s jump in.

Take multiple pictures.

Film was pricey. Pics today just take up room. So if you see a great photo-catching moment, don’t be stingy and just take one photograph.

Chances of that first image being the best one you’re going to get are low. People are caught off-guard or don’t smile, the light is not right, or you may have forgotten to survey the background.  

Overcome first shot jitters and try different angles or distances to see what image is better. And then take a look at what you captured and make adjustments.

Also, make sure you think about whether you should be taking a photograph in landscape or portrait orientation. For example, if you are taking a photo of a group, landscape will work much better. (And it’s more social media friendly.)

Crop, don’t zoom.

Most phones offer a zoom function, but you are better off not using it. The images degrade quickly when you try to zoom in. So get close!

Fill the whole frame with the subjects. If you want a good photo, don’t be afraid to get close to get a better, closer shot.

Turn off the flash.

The flash on mobile phones is an LED light, which can create weird hues on photos and mess with the color temperature. Using flash can also make the images blurry and terribly lit sometimes.

When you can, try shooting photographs in natural lighting. Grab your subject and position him or her to the side of the window. Just be sure they’re not backlit, by a window or a PowerPoint presentation.

Can’t find the light? Grab your friend’s phone and use their phone’s flashlight as a light source. It gives you better control over the shadows. See, you’re feeling like a pro already.

rule of thirds

Follow the rule of thirds. 

The rule of thirds is a photography composition principle where an image should be broken down into thirds both horizontally and vertically. If you place the points of interests in the intersections, or along the lines, the photo will be more balanced.

Most smartphones have a grid feature available for the camera that you can turn on in your settings, which can help you follow the rule of thirds. Using the rule of thirds can help you capture more eye-catching and balanced photographs. The off-center composition creates a better shot.

Keep your camera steady, especially in low light or at night.

The phone will use a slower shutter speeds in these conditions to allow more light in, but any movement will create a blurry image. To keep your camera steady, it may help to use both hands or set your phone on a solid surface.

Know your equipment and be prepared.

Make sure your phone is charged and you have space on your phone if you plan on taking many photographs. Before you leave for an event or outing upload your photos to your computer and delete them off your phone if you need more space. Also, bring a charger with you just in case.

Don’t forget to clean your lens.

If your lens is not clean, photographs may turn out blurry and the quality will not be as good. Always make sure you clean it with a nonabrasive cloth to get the clearest picture possible.

cell phone photographyKeep your photo simple.

Too many details can be distracting. The key is to keep it clutter-free because cellphones cannot auto focus on the foreground.

Do not use filters or effects.

Keep your future options open. Filters can always keep your future options open. Filters can always be added later. It is much better to add a filter on photo-editing software.

Find an interesting angle.

Channel your inner director and try photographing your subject from various angles.

Shooting from ground level, for example, can create a unique view, or a bird's eye view can also be interesting.

What are your go-to tips for capturing better photographs?

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