No more rubbish photos. Follow our phone photography tips and tricks to make sure you always capture the perfect photo.
You can do all kinds of wonderful things with camera phones these days. The cameras have quickly improved over the years, so your phone is now ready to capture happy memories, beautiful moments and creative ideas in absolutely stunning quality. You’ll never miss a thing again.
However, taking great photos isn’t all about the camera, though using the best technology certainly helps. Unless you really know what you’re doing, you’ll take a few quick snaps, scroll through your camera roll, and wonder why on earth your photos don’t look as good as everyone else's. Argh!
Before you end up crying in the foetal position, we’ve put together some incredibly easy tips and tricks on how to take good photos with your smartphone. iPhone or Android, we’re helping everyone up their photography game!
1. Learn your camera’s best features
You’ve just spent a fortune on a shiny new phone. You love it to bits, it loves you right back, and yet you’re still not entirely sure how to get the most out of it. You’re definitely not alone.
Every top phone brand now offers all kinds of snazzy camera features, settings and editing tools. It’s easy to unbox your phone and instantly start snapping away, but it’s always worth playing around with the different modes, filters and other goodies packed into your phone camera.
That’s right, better photos could literally be a quick swipe or click away. Just spend some time playing with the HDR and portrait modes to start with, then move on to the more specialised options to capture SLR-quality photos!
2. Play around with focus and exposure
The beauty of the camera phone is that you can just point and shoot. There’s no bulky camera equipment involved, but you still offer plenty of manual control. Adjusting the exposure is probably the simplest change you can make, but tweaking things here can either make or break your photo.
The biggest tip we can give here is to always focus on the main subject by tapping your screen. The important stuff will take centre stage, and you’ll have the freedom to experiment with the exposure without completely ruining the brightness of your photo. After all, nobody likes dark images.
3. Use gridlines to follow the “rule of thirds”
This is so simple, and yet so many people forget to do this. Turning on your camera’s gridlines helps you take a more balanced shot, displaying a handy overlay based on the “rule of thirds” and helping to compose the best photo possible.
For those wondering, the “rule of thirds” is a photography principle that says photos should be broken down into horizontal and vertical thirds. Essentially, your photo is split into nine equal squares, and the most interesting parts of your photo should touch the edges of these squares to create a balanced image.
4. Hold it steady
We’ve all been there. The perfect shot is all lined up, you take the snap, and then the slightest jolt of movement makes it look like it was taken on a rollercoaster. A fast one.
Since they’re so light, smartphones can actually be quite difficult to hold steady, so you need to take extra care when lining up your shot. While you might want to think about using a tripod, the most important thing is to stand completely still, set your feet, and hold your phone with two hands (just like a digital camera).
A little wobble here, a nudge there, and your perfect photo has been ruined by blurry faces and a subject that’s way out of position.
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5. Use natural light as much as possible
Let there be light! Phone cameras are a million times better at taking photos during the day than at night. That’s not just our opinion, it’s a cold hard fact that even the best camera phones aren’t quite as good at taking images at night - or any other time the flash gets involved.
Even though phone night modes are getting better, the flash still makes your photos look overexposed and washed out. Finding a source of natural light will quickly improve your phone photography, letting you play around with shadows to really add some depth and clarity to your shots.
Whether you’re taking a selfie or a family group shot, lighting is one of the most important factors in any photo, so make sure to use sunlight whenever possible. When the sun’s gone to bed, artificial lighting is still preferable to using your phone camera’s flash!
6. Don’t zoom in, get closer instead
Alright, we get it. You want to get a better look at the adorable dog across the road, the stunning holiday view, or whatever else it might be. Unfortunately, the digital zoom on smartphones will completely destroy the quality of your photo, since this simply crops and enlarges your photo to make it appear zoomed in.
When you zoom in like this, your photo will quickly become blurry and pixelated, so you’ll need to physically get closer to the subject if you want a better photo. Of course, the most powerful (and expensive) phones offer optical zoom which is a much better solution, but the best answer is always to get as close to your subject as you physically can. Don’t worry, that adorable dog won’t bite.
7. Take more than one photo!
Snap, snap, and then snap again! Taking photos with your phone is unbelievably quick and easy. Instead of waiting for film to get developed, you can fire off shot after shot, see what they look like, delete the rubbish ones and then shoot some more until you’ve got it nailed.
With this kind of technology, taking just one photo would be unbelievably silly. In fact, you can even download third-party apps that offer a “burst mode” to capture a wide range of images for you. Oh yes, the notorious family photo-blinker can finally stop ruining every single family portrait!
Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start snapping! Once you’ve mastered your photography game, we can turn those perfect photos into perfect prints, wall art, and personalised gifts that let you enjoy them every day!