Smart phones have one problem, almost consistently: we have our hands all over the phone, including where the camera lens is located. So, our first tip of this section is:
1- CLEAN YOUR LENS EVERY TIME BEFORE TAKING A PHOTO:
If you have ever had your photos look this above photo, it is because you have your fingerprints, your lunch, or whatever, all over your lens. Take some time, each time to clean your lens before you take any photo. It is not hard to get into that habit.
2- WATCH THE SUN:
Sunny conditions are great for taking beautiful pictures with rich blue skies and luscious greens, but think about where the sun is when you pull out your phone. Shoot too close to the sun – i.e. pointing towards it – and you might find that a giant lens flare dominates the scene or that subjects are massacred by blown highlights with no detail in those areas.
If that’s happening, try using your hand to shade the lens, making sure it’s not in shot, and you can get a great result. When photographing people, watch where those shadows fall and think about the best side from which to take a shot – you don’t want a silhouette in front of a beautiful background because you didn’t consider that the sun was behind them, for example – but staring into the sun for a portrait is dazzling for the subject too.
3- CONSIDER THE FLASH:
The flash on your phone isn’t great and, in many cases, you’ll get much better results without using the flash on the back. With increasing performance in low light conditions, turning off the flash can be the best thing you do. Shooting at a concert in dark conditions? The flash isn’t going to reach the stage anyway, so turn it off. At a zoo shooting through glass? You’re not only taking a bad photo, but you’re scaring the animals. Don’t scare the animals.
I don’t know when the last time I used my flash on my phone. Really, with the newer cameras, you hardly don’t need to use a flash. Most of the time they either make the photos worse, or it is just not effective.
4- USE “NIGHT MODE”:
Taking our dog for a walk at 10pm, I just thought this was worth trying. And was I surprised !!!! Hand holding this phone, at night when it’s pitch black, and my smartphone did this photo. Check your camera settings and see if you have “night mode” and don’t be afraid to try it out.
5- USE YOUR PHONE’S CAMERA HARDWARE:
This one is a bit of a no brainer, but smartphones have started adding more lenses meaning more opportunities. They can now take better zoom photos, but many now offer wide-angle too. That means you can get a lot more in your photo and create new compositions. Some phones offer a second camera for “data”, but don’t fall for that – we’d rather have a wide-angle lens to take great photos instead.
So take some time to learn what your phone can actually do and then go out and do it. Of course, the biggest thing with any camera is to take more photos, even if it means deleting a lot of them. The best results from your phone will come with knowing what results you’re going to get from it when using the cameras it offers – and having something to photograph, of course.
6- DON’T USE IN APP CAMERAS:
In most cases, we say don’t use the Instagram camera. If you want to take a great photo and share it with your followers, use your regular phone camera to take the photo, then add it to Instagram or whatever platform you’re sending it to. Why? Because those apps don’t use all the skills that your phone offers. Going through the in-app camera will often give you the worst picture your phone can take, missing out on things like AI, choice of lenses and night mode.
To take photos like a pro, you need to take that photo with the regular camera, make any edits, and then share it via your platform of choice.