How to Get Great Photos Using Your Smartphone Camera

A smartphone’s image sensor is small, even when compared to inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras. Much like the Polaroid cameras of yesteryear, smartphone cameras are not built to take the DLR style photos, well not yet anyway, they are getting much more advanced but for now they exist solely to make taking pictures easier and more convenient for the user.

Photos Using Your Smartphone Camera
Photo by Juozas Kaziukanas

Most of us don’t want to carry around camera equipment with us daily. While your Android or iPhone’s camera may not be a substitute for a high quality camera, if you learn some tips and tricks, you can still get great shots.

Holding Your Phone Correctly

Holding Trees
Photo by Dorothy Lin

Smartphones are built to slip into your pocket easily. While screens are getting larger, phone bodies are getting thinner, making them difficult to handle when you are trying to take photos. When you have trouble holding your phone steady, your images come out blurry.

So, how do you fix this problem? Stabilization can be as simple as resting your phone on a level surface before you snap a shot. There are even mini tripod attachments available that take all of the guesswork out of keeping your phone stable.

Zoom in Using Your Feet

water
Photo by Mark Doda

Your iPhone is designed to be put in your pocket thousands of times over its lifetime. Attaching a bulky zoom lens is simply not an option. That’s why it is equipped with a durable non-zoom lens. These low-profile lenses are great when it comes to storing and carrying your phone, but digital zoom does nothing for your photographs.

If you zoom in too far, the digital zoom distorts your image to the point that it is unpleasant to look at. When you look back on these photos, instead of recalling your memories fondly, you might wonder if you took a picture with a potato rather than your phone’s camera.

Instead of relying on digital zoom, try to get as close to your subject as possible. Even if you are very far away, cropping the shot after you take it will result in a better image than using your phone’s digital zoom.

Ditch the Instagram Filters

While filters can mask some of the imperfections of an image captured with your smartphone, in the end you pictures should be able to stand alone without being put through a square “vintage” filter. You may miss some of the social networking opportunities found on Instagram, but you can share your photographs just as easily on Facebook and Flickr.

Grabbing a more Sophisticated Camera App

Smartphone camera apps, particularly the one included with the iPhone, don’t give the user much control over their images. Camera apps like Camera+ and Smugmug allow you to manipulate settings, such as ISO and shutter speed to control the quality of your photos.

Taking your Time with Composition

Taking your Time with Composition
Photo by Charlie Fuster

Most smartphone users just want to snap a quick shot and get on with their lives. While that is great if you are just taking a picture for reference later, it does not always produce the greatest images. To get a great shot every time, slow down a little. Try to take multiple photos from different angles and distances for your subject. If you take a variety of photos, you are more likely to get a great shot.

Composition is important when it comes to taking a great photograph. Remember the rule of thirds. Imagine your picture is divided into nine equal parts. To create more visual interest, your subject should be aligned along the imaginary lines dividing these parts or where they intersect instead of simply centred in the frame.

Getting lighting right can also be tricky. If your phone has a flash, pretend it doesn’t. Natural light produces a much better looking image.

trees
Photo by Zuaddi

These tips have been submitted by our friends at HostelBookers.com. Check out more travel and photography tips and advice on their travel blog.

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