27 Jan How to Take Better Mobile Photography
1. Clean your lens!
Cleaning your lens is one of the most neglected rules of all time that can dramatically make a difference. Our phones accumulate a lot of dirt, grease, lint, fingerprints, and dust. When your lens are dirty, it will block light from entering the sensor. Before taking any shot, make sure you wipe your lens to avoid blurry photos. This will also allow the camera to easily focus on your subjects and give you a nice crisp shot.
2. It’s all about lighting
Good lighting is imperative to mobile photography because there aren’t a lot of manual settings to adjust on your phone. I’m not a huge fan of flash or artificial lighting unless it’s absolutely necessary. Because of this, I make sure to capture photos where there is an adequate amount of natural light. Note that having too much vertical light can blow out your images. Harsh lighting usually occurs in the middle of the day. To avoid this, find shaded areas for softer horizontal lighting to illuminate your subject. On the other hand, too little light can cause noise and grain to your images so be careful!
3. Composition is Key
It’s not just what you shoot that counts, but rather how you shoot it. You can immediately turn a dull photo into an amazing one with a good composition. Look at what you’re framing in the shot. Are you getting everything you want in the frame? How can you move around so that you’re not getting the trashcan in the background? Try different things to simplify or fill your shot.
3a. Look for leading lines
Leading lines is one composition trick. Our eyes are naturally drawn to lines and will encourage the viewer to follow and traverse the image with their eyes. It also helps a viewer’s eyes focus on the main subject of the image.
3b. Use rule of thirds
Another composition fundamentals is the rule of thirds. If you’re not familiar with this concept, in essence it’s positioning your most important subject along the gridlines and intersections of the frame. Having them off to the side will draw more attention than having them in the center. But, as with all rules in photography, rules are meant to be broken. You don’t always have to follow this if you think it’s less eye-catchy.
4. Shoot from interesting perspectives
The cool thing about shooting with a phone is that it’s small and light enough for you to shoot from different angles effortlessly. Play around with different perspectives like shooting from a bird’s eye view or from a ground level, don’t just shoot from a standing position. Try to capture you don’t see something everyday to make your image more interesting. Try shooting both in portrait and landscape to see what looks best.
5. Chase the sun
Best time to shoot is during golden hour (or magic hour), which usually occurs an hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. Golden hour lighting is soft, dimensional, warm, dreamy, and just overall magical! You can get a lot of interesting light during this time. Taking photos against the sunlight will give you darker images, but taking pictures this way during golden hour will give you a nice silhouette with an illuminated backdrop.
6. Location, location, location!
Where you choose to take photos will have a huge affect on your images. Even if you’re just taking your OOTD, instead of taking a selfie inside your house, get outdoors with a friend and have them snap pictures of you in the city or maybe in the middle of the desert. Find interesting locations.
7. Capture movement
Capturing movements can immediately make your photos come alive. It not only conveys movement, but it also captures a mood like trees on a windy day and it can be used to remove unwanted elements in the background. Use apps like Slow Shutter Cam to get a long exposure shot!
8. Focus on a subject
Think about what you’re trying to capture. Pick a subject and position yourself for the shot. Then tap on the screen of your phone to make sure you are focused on your subject. If you are going to take multiple pictures in the same spot, for iPhones, if you tap and hold on the screen you will enable the AE/AF lock so you don’t need to continue focusing on the same subject. It will stay focused so you can take multiple shots.
9. Don’t zoom in
When you’re using a mobile device, do not use the zoom feature! Unlike a DSLR, it does not use optical zoom, but rather a digital zoom. This basically means that the image is cropped resulting in a great loss of quality. Try it for yourself, notice all that noise? Yeah, you don’t want that.
10. Avoid distracting backgrounds
If it’s not beneficial to your shot, don’t include it. If there’s too much going on in one picture, our eyes are not going to want to look at it. Yes our eyes get lazy too! Find ways to simplify your image so that the viewer can focus on the subject. However, if there’s nothing you can do to avoid this, try using a black & white filter or moving in closer to your subject.
11. Keep steady hands
Unless you’re going for a creative blurry shot, try to keep your hands steady. Shakiness will cause your images to be blurry. Try keeping still a couple seconds before taking a picture and a couple seconds after to ensure a crisp shot. If you want to get fancy, you can use a tripod or one of those gorilla pods for your phone.
12. Take multiple shots
Chances are, you’re not going to get the perfect shot after the first try. There’s no harm in taking more than one photo. You want to make sure you get the shot you want before the opportunity is over. Shoot from different angles, distances and play around with what works for you.
13. Tell a story
Photography is a medium of art. It’s a way to express and tell a story from your own perspective. Don’t just shoot images with a good composition and lighting. Find something interesting that is worth a million words. Express how you see the world through your eyes — or lens I should say.
14. Practice, be creative, and have fun!
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson
He’s right you know. Taking great photography is not something you can just learn from a book. You have to go out there and practice; learn what works for you. Use these basic tips as a guideline; but add in your creativity to make your photographs stand out. Most importantly, have fun with it!
If you enjoyed these tips, please make sure to subscribe, like, comment, and share this post! Oh and follow me on Instagram! @Carmelisse. ?
Read the secret to editing my Instagram photos here:
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