From the very first cave dwellers who gathered around the campfire to impress each other with wall paintings, to modern-day social media and the need to capture a moment, add a filter, and post it online, humans and imagery have always gone hand in hand.
We’ve all got an innate eye for detail. That’s why ever since the first photograph was taken in the 1820s era in Paris, we’ve developed a love affair with photography that isn’t going anywhere. Photography puts the power of making art right in our hands.
You don’t need to be able to draw. You don’t need any special training to get basic results. And there are no requirements on where or when to do it. Just choose a subject, point, click and repeat as desired. What could be easier?
But as with all things that seem easy, getting photography right (to a professional level) takes practice. And seeing as the only camera most of us own is the one that comes on our phones, we’re going to look at some ways you can take high quality snaps with your smartphone.
Taking Pictures With Your Phone
Light It, Grid It, Snap It
When taking pictures with your phone it’s important to remember that lighting is everything. Dull and unclear photos have their place in certain types of art, but for the most part, you’re going to need definition.
Studio lighting kits complete with online tutorials can help you to put together magnificent and dramatically lit scenes in your home (even if it is only of a bunch of sunflowers in a vase – but hey, that subject worked for Van Gogh).
Next, switch on the gridline features on your phone camera. This will divide the screen into nine equal boxes. Making sure that points of interest match up with at least one of the four corners of the central box will ensure your photo is well framed and proportioned.
Add An External Lens
You may not be aware, but you can add an array of external lenses to your smartphone lens. The most popular choices among which are wide-angle lenses and fisheye lenses.
These relatively inexpensive lenses can add new levels of style to your photography, with many people choosing to complete whole photosets using a particular lens as their inspiration.
For example, using a fisheye lens to take close-ups of pets can give the impression of the pet inspecting the camera in an almost comical way. Another idea is to take a close-up wide-angle shot of water droplets on a surface, exaggerating the impression of cold stillness after a storm.
Focus on the Focus
The camera in your pocket is incredibly powerful, so much so that today’s smartphones focus automatically on whatever it is you’re photographing. You won’t have to worry about making too many adjustments to your camera settings.
However, what you want the focus of your photo to be, isn’t always obvious, for example, if you’re taking a photo in a room full of people or a table with a lot of dishes on it.
The solution is easy, all you need to do is tap the screen where you want the camera to focus and then take the photograph. You’re simply giving the camera a little helping hand.
Photos in Motion
Not every breathtaking shot is stationary. Whether you’re photographing your son as he chases after a football, or you’re hoping to capture a bird as it dives in on its lunch, if your subject is moving then it’s not easy to get the clarity you want on a smartphone.
However, there is a solution; you can correct your camera’s focus by tapping on the subject before you take the photograph and change your settings accordingly (e.g. sports mode). This way, you’re less likely to end up with a blurred image of your subject.
Negative Space Is Your Friend
When you want to take a great photo it makes sense to have your subject, front and center, right? While this is true in some respects if you really want your smartphone photographs to stand out then you should consider embracing what the experts refer to as, negative space.
Negative space is the area around the subject of your photograph, and when you have a lot of it it really makes your subject stand out. Think, wide-open fields or a beach, the open sky, or even a large wall!
Keep Your Distance
If your subject is far away then it’s tempting to zoom in as much as possible in order to get a better shot. Sadly, this often makes the result incredibly blurred and grainy.
Not good! It’s much better to keep your distance when taking pictures with your phone and then edit/crop the image later on your phone or computer. Better yet, try and get a little closer.
Get Yourself a Tripod
You’ll find all kinds of photography accessories available for smartphones these days, including tripods. It’s the best way to achieve a well balanced, steady and crystal clear shot.
You’d be surprised with a few adjustments and knowledge of composition that taking pictures with your phone can turn out professional-quality photos.