How would you like to take some really amazing photos with your phone? Although I've got several top-notch cameras, I find I take most of my pictures with my phone – and they're often better than the ones I take with my camera. Lots of people these days use their phones as their cameras, in fact, which is why it pays to learn how to take amazing photos with your phone, too. All you need are some spiffy apps and some flawless techniques...
Sometimes, you just have to follow your instincts. Bearing in mind that all these tips will help you take amazing photos with your phone, of yourself and the beautiful things around you, they won't always matter. If you see something – a butterfly, a laughing child, a particularly vivid sunset – that moves you, take the shot. Forget about lighting, focus, and your resolution, if only for a moment. You should always capture those moments, even if they turn out a little blurry.
That being said, lighting is important when you're taking photos with any kind of camera, but it's especially tricky with the camera on your phone. Try to avoid any low lighting; the sensors in your phone's camera simply can't deal with lower lighting. The photo will end up marred by noise. At the same time, don't fall into the lens flare trap. With few exceptions, it's overrated, and a bright hot spot leads to poor exposure. If your subject is well-lit and perfectly balanced, you won't need to worry about shadows or add any flaring effects.
With smartphones, focusing isn't always a problem. A lot of cameras create a tighter focus on their own. However, if it doesn't do it automatically and you can't guarantee a good photo by focusing manually, don't fight with it. Most of the time you can't artistically blur using a phone camera. Practice first, to see how your camera reacts. That way you'll know how to capture a picture when the time comes.
Flash is awesome – sometimes. It's common to rely on the flash when you don't have enough light. In that case, refer to #2 (haha … sorry, I just did that). You should never rely solely on your flash, because your subject, whether it's yourself, your friend, or a scenic shot, will look too pale, unformed, and washed out. Flash is fun for arty shots where you're going for that look, but otherwise, use it respectfully and try to rely on natural lighting instead.
Phone cameras are sensitive. They're sort of like drama queens: you have to handle them with care and any sudden movements are just going to ruin your day – or at least your shot. This is why zooming in too closely to your subject is just a bad idea. You may have to practice, but keep your hands steady when framing the shot and taking the photo. Try not to do any selfies with your arm fully extended either, unless you're sure that you're steady.
Resolution is an important aspect of photography, no matter where it originates. Keep your phone's camera set at the highest possible resolution; do the same for its picture quality. While this doesn't guarantee that all your photos will be perfect, it definitely increases the chances for perfection. Besides, low-res also leads to lots of noise.
Going back to the focus issue, phone cameras do better when the subject is large. If you have to zoom in, it won't really matter how steady your hands are. The photo will blur, there will be lots of noise, and you might not even recognize what you photographed. Again, there are some exceptions, but for the most part, save the finer details for a regular camera.
I love photo apps. I'm one of those annoying girls who takes pictures of artistically arranged food, odd angles, and beautiful odds and ends. I obsess over Instagram and as soon as I read Sophia's recent post about easy photo editing apps, I promptly downloaded every one of them (by the way, Pixlromatic really is awesome). That being said, when you're taking serious phone photos, you don't always want your pictures to look like everyone else's, and that will happen if you always rely on filters. Instead, you should sometimes use photo editing software to come up with something really inventive, or rely on your own imaginative eye. Play with your apps, enjoy them, but don't rely on them exclusively.
Taking amazing photos with your phone is quite easy once you get the knack. Just remember, play around with your angles so you can find your best side, never do ducklips with you're taking selfies, and watch the light and shadows with whatever you're capturing. How do you take flawless photos using your phone?
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