There is no doubt or discussion that taking pictures with your DSLR camera rather than your phone will produce better quality pictures. But many times you can not take that big nice camera everywhere with you. Sometimes you just stumble upon that beautiful landscape when hiking or unexpectedly come across something really interesting and the only tool to take pictures on hand is you cell phone. Well, the good news are that the modern phone cameras are becoming more powerful everyday and many times using some techniques and a little know-how you can take stunning pictures with your handset. Without further dew, here are some tips and tricks how to become a mobile phone photography expert.
1. Keep you phone still. Seems like something everyone knows, but doesn’t always do. The basic instinct is to grab your phone from the pocket or purse, point and shoot. While it might work with some regular digital cameras, phones are a little different. While many models employ some kind of image stabilization software, only very few phones, such as Nokia Lumia 920, have an optical one. So if you want a good quality picture, take your time, use both hands and keep it steady. After all, you wouldn’t normally take pictures with your point and shoot camera using just want hand. The same principle applies to phone photography as well.
2. Light is important. Ok, let me put it in other words. Light is VERY important. Good, natural light reduces blur and allows you to take crispier, bright photos. There is also another reason why you need good lighting. Most of the time people snap shots of their pets, family, friends or some kind of other objects that more often than not are difficult to keep still. And even if you follow the first advice above and keep you phone still, the objects in the photo will come out blurry. Having a lot of natural light allows you to avoid shutter lag and produce a better image. In other words, if you take a picture of a moving object in a dark room you won’t be able to tell the difference between you kid and a pet. But if you take the same picture from the same distance with the same phone on a sunny day outside, you will have a nice memory of your loved one.
3. Know your phone. Just like anything else, if you want to master it, you have to know it. So if you haven’t done that yet, explore all available settings on your camera phone. There are different image and video quality, scene, brightness and other settings. Some phones take pictures that are too dark, others that are too light. Play with your camera phone when you have time and get to know it, because when the picture perfect moment comes it will be too late.
4. Don’t zoom in. It is very difficult to put an optical zoom in your phone and that’s why most camera phones, with the exception with the few latest models, have only a digital one. Digital zooming reduces the picture quality, so whenever possible, use your legs to zoom in by walking closer to the object. It is always better to save unaltered picture. And in case you want to bring things closer in the future, you can get the same digital zoom effect by zooming in and cropping your image on the computer screen once you download the picture.
5. Clean your lens. Really obvious thing to do, but forgotten most of the time. How many times you touch your DSLR lens with your fingers? Or do you slip your lens into your pocket or purse without a cover? Camera phones are protected with a special glass cover, but I guarantee you that it gets dirty quite often and you don’t clean it daily. And while I am not suggesting to keeping your phone in a plastic sandwich bag at all times, be sure to clean it before doing any kind of serious phone photography.
Some other phone photography things to keep in mind:
Take more than one shot. You probably have enough memory space on your memory card, so take many shots and choose the best one. And don’t forget to delete the rest, they tend to accumulate quickly.
Use apps. There are plenty of phone photography apps (Instagram is not the only one) for every operating system. Some of them can be really useful and make your picture stand out.
If you are really serious about phone photography, be sure to check out camera phone accessories. There is a number of add-on lenses, tripods and flashes available for most camera phones.