While I personally believe having a digital camera is worth the money to get better quality photos, not everyone carries their camera around with them everywhere. If the perfect picture moment comes up and all you have is your cell phone, you can still get a decent shot if you follow some of these tips.
Photography is a craft one must master whether your weapon of choice is an expensive DSLR or the newest smartphone. From selfies to a great travel shot, smartphone cameras have potential once you figure out all the photographic dos and don’ts.
Composition, Composition, Composition
There is a concept in photography known as the Rule of Thirds. It means breaking a shot down into a grid. Some smartphone cameras even offer a grid overlay for the display, but you can do it mentally too. Your job is to place the interesting aspects of your picture at intersecting points on the grid to center your shot.
A grid also helps straighten the picture, which is a critical aspect when working with a smartphone. For example, if shooting a landscape, keep horizon parallel to the grid lines.
Don’t Fear the Angle
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles. That is one advantage to using a smartphone as your primary camera. You don’t necessarily have to plan a shot. Pull out your phone while walking up steps or as you are looking at friends from the hotel window. Spontaneity is a photographer’s friend.
Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom
Zoom on a smartphone is different from optical zoom on a DSLR. The camera lens doesn’t change. Instead, the phone just expands the image to fit the display. This cuts down on the resolution and lowers the quality of your shot. Instead of zooming, take the phone closer to get your picture.
Avoid the Shake
This is a common problem with smartphones. The key is to treat your phone like a camera. Grab it with two hands when taking a picture – one to stabilize the device and one to press the button. When possible, level your elbows on a ledge or press them against your sides for stabilization.
Investigate Available Apps
There are some nice apps out there to enhance images taken with a phone. For example, high dynamic range applications adjust the contrast to lighten up dark areas naturally without losing the detail. Panoramic gadgets stitch together a series of photos to create amazing 360 views.
So whether your an amature who just wants to snap a few vacation photos, or a pro who wants to improve the quality of their cell phone pics, snap away and experiment with the results.