Smartphone Photography Tips
Updated: Feb 16
Are you looking to improve your smartphone photos? Do you take lots of photos but then still feel like you don't have the right shot for your products, blog, or social media?
I admit that taking photos on your mobile phone is frustrating sometimes but there are some basic tips you can follow.
A good front and back camera (s) help, but knowing how to use all the features and editing is important too.
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Many people fall into the digital photography trap. They set up an impressive collection on their smartphones, go through all the manual settings and buttons, and take as many photos as they can. And then, they never share any of them!
They sit on their phones looking at their photographs, rather than participating in the smartphone photography trend.
Best tips for amazing smartphone photography
We are not always aware of it, but our smartphones do not have the ability to create high-quality photographs.
The camera might be optimized for low light or motion, but that is about as far as it goes. The result is photographs that are out-of-control, amateurish, and over-exposed.
There are a number of reasons why smartphone photographs look bad. And here's how to fix them:
Turn off auto-focus
First, if you absolutely must take extremely good smartphone photographs (you can hardly do anything else), turn off the auto-focus on your smartphone camera. This feature usually makes everything worse.
It's worth repeating: turning off the auto-focus option will almost certainly remove all visible defects in your photograph. If you're not going to use the auto-focus feature, then here's what you can do.
Adjust the focus and exposure manually
It's true that smartphone cameras are constantly improving. New features are added and the megapixels keep getting bigger.
In fact, cameras have really come a long way in the past couple of years.
Handsets can now offer control over the focus and camera exposure so you can adjust your shot.
The manual focus is located and activated with just one small tap on your screen and this focuses the camera to the spot where you want to focus your image.
Just click it and watch how the camera focuses itself instantly.
Another thing you can do is look at the settings in your phone's camera app. Most cameras have the handy face recognition option.
This feature helps you zoom in or zero into your subjects' faces and therefore you don't end up with blurry faces in your pictures.
When it comes to exposure, you need to decide how much light you want to allow into your frame. This depends on the lighting conditions.
With the iPhone camera app, all you have to do is tap once and it focuses but you also hold and drag it around to adjust the exposure settings.
Most Android camera apps work the same way too. Just tap once to focus and then use the pop-up slider located at the top or side of the screen to adjust the exposure.
Another common problem is the over or underexposure of a smartphone photograph. If you notice that parts of your photograph are overexposed, then you'll notice that the shadows are darker than the areas that should be bright.
Simply make sure that you're taking photographs at different times of the day and in different conditions. This will help to prevent the problem.
Don't forget to frame your shots
If you want your photos to look professional, then you need to frame them properly. Creating masterfully framed images takes some creative thinking.
The great news is that the phone camera can help you do this. It usually has built-in features to help you frame and compose the shots.
For iPhone, go to the Settings and click on Camera. Look for the Grid option which displays a rule-of-thirds overlayed grid on your screen.
When you use this grid, you can compose and frame your image. Just make sure that the shot is parallel to the vertical and horizontal lines.
For Android smartphones, you can go to Settings, then Apps, and then the Camera and click on the Grid Lines option.
Here you can select a rule-of-thirds overlay. Or, if you're taking photos for Instagram, you can choose the square overall and you'll get the perfect framed image.
Framing is very important so don't include anything you don't like or want in your photo. This can be things like garbage cans, wires, cars, etc. It's essential that your subject (s) are the focus of your image.
After all, composition is the trick to great photography!
Edit using apps & software
Take your smartphone and snap as many photographs as you can. Then, using Photoshop, correct each photograph one pixel at a time.
This trick works because it increases the contrast and improves the clarity of your smartphone photogrammetry photographs.
Here are some good photo editing apps you can use. Some are free and some are paid apps you can download:
PicsArt (Android, iOS)
Adobe Photoshop Elements (Android, iOS)
Pixlr (browser editor & app available)
Adobe Lightroom (Android, iOS)
Instagram (Android, iOS) ...
Google Photos (Android, iOS)
Prisma (Android, iOS)
The biggest problem with smartphone photography is that light often comes in at different times.
You might have shadows at the bottom of an image or some subtle gradation in brightness across the image. If you've taken hundreds of photographs, then you'll soon start to notice that each photograph has a different silhouette.
For example, if you look at the lower right-hand corner of your smartphone photograph, you'll see a thin line that separates the shadow from the background.
Try zooming in, or taking a photograph directly below the line. Now, look at the same photograph taken directly above the right-hand edge. There is now a much larger gap between the shadow and the background.
If you want to fix the problem, then you just need to eliminate that line. This isn't as hard as it sounds - there are a lot of useful tools on Photoshop that you can use to eliminate lines. To do this, go to the Effects tab in Photoshop, click the gradient tool, and choose Transparent.
Choose black as the color of the gradient. This will remove the shadow in your smartphone experiment.
You can also use the background effect to eliminate shadows in your smartphone photogrammetry experiment. There are several ways to make this happen.
The first way is to turn off the Flash feature in your smartphone camera app. Then, take a photo with your smartphone as you normally would, and save it. Next, go to the Photo Settings tab in your smartphone, and switch to Large FOV.
Set your FOV to 80mm from the camera's sensors measured in pixels. This will make sure that everything in the photograph gets captured in focus.
You'll also want to make sure that you're shooting in manual mode. The reason why you want to do this is so you can make sure that everything is in focus and that there aren't any objects which are out-of-whack in the shot.
This is especially important if you're doing a photogrammetry image profile that involves multiple images taken at different distances.
Finally, you'll want to get creative with the details in your smartphone photogrammetry experiment. If your camera allows it, you can add some text to your smartphone photograph.
The font is going to be based on what the text looks like when you are printing it out. In order to get an accurate reading, however, you should try to match the actual font you would see printed on paper.
Some smartphone photogrammetry tips are rather technical, but these will get you started.
The key to smartphone photography is knowing how to tweak the settings so that you can get a better result every time.
If you've never tried doing smartphone photography yourself, you might want to consider hiring a professional photographer or taking your smartphone down to the store for them to demonstrate what they are doing.
This could be one of the most cost-effective smartphone photography tips you could find!