Taking a high-quality photo doesn’t have to be a time-consuming job full of expensive equipment. Phone cameras have come a long way since the flip phone’s pixelated images.
You don’t need to take a course or clock years of practice to take amazing shots with your smartphone. Here are some tips to help you take eye-catching pics on-the-go.
- Use gridlines
Balancing your photos with gridlines is an easy and effective way to improve the quality of your mobile shots. When you turn on gridlines, lines (based on the rule of thirds) will appear on your screen. The rule of thirds is a composition principle that says a photograph should be broken down into thirds: horizontally and vertically with nine parts in total. The rule claims that if you place your subject in these intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced and eye-pleasing.
To activate gridlines:
- On iPhones, go to “Settings.” Choose “Photos & Camera” and turn “Grid” on.
- On Androids, open the camera app. Then, go to “Settings” and switch the “gridlines” option to on.
- Find fresh perspectives
You can create compelling and striking images by taking photos from unique angles. Most phone photos are taken straight-on. So, when you take them from a different perspective, it makes them stand-out and creates depth.
Try taking a photo from a bird’s eye view (view from above). Or try the reverse (laying on your back), using the sky as a negative space. An angle from down low—like the perspective of a child—can also make an interesting shot.
Another exciting viewpoint might be from a reflection, like a mirror or body of water. There are many possibilities for unique angles, so get creative and play around with perspectives.
- Get closer
When you’re taking photos from a distance, it seems like a logical, natural choice to zoom in. But it’s best to avoid it. A smartphone’s digital zoom causes you to lose fine detail. It can also make your picture blurry and pixelated.
Instead, try moving a bit closer to your subject and see if you can get a clear shot. Or, take the photo from a distance and crop it later. This can make a big difference to the quality of your picture.
- Set your focus
Phone cameras autofocus on the foreground of the frame, but pictures you take on your phone won’t always have an obvious subject (like a moving person, for example). So, you’ll need to adjust what your lens focusses on.
- Open your camera and tap the screen where you want the focus to be.
- A square or circular icon should appear on your screen.
- The focus of your shot will shift to everything in that area. It also optimizes the lighting on the subject.
Pro Tip: When you’re taking a photo with one subject, take the time to set up the shot. To help the subject stand out, use negative space. Some professionals advise that two-thirds of the photo should be negative space.
- Use natural light
Much of the time, using a flash can make a smartphone photo look overexposed. It can alter colors and make people look washed out. Take advantage of any source of natural light you can.
Even if it is dark, avoid using the flash. Get creative and work with other sources of light. This will allow you to play with shadows and create silhouettes. For example, you could use a streetlight—or the headlights of a passing vehicle—to illuminate your subject at night.
After you’ve taken the photo, you can play with the “Exposure” tool in a photo editing app to try and make it a little brighter.
It is possible to take stunning shots with your smartphone. Try some of these tips to step-up the quality of your mobile photos.