Do you often get disappointed when you look back at the photos you took with your phone? The results are not exactly what you had in mind? Do you wonder why you are not getting those super sharp, amazing photos that you see other people taking?
There are a few common mistakes that people make that you can easily avoid. When we know better, we do better, right?
Here are some of those common phone photography mistakes and learn how to avoid them.
One of the top rules in all types of photography is having a clean lens. You need a clean lens no matter what you shoot with; DSLR, point & shoot, compact, or smartphone. Imagine looking through a dirty window?
Shooting through a dirty lens will give you blurry areas, spots, and other things that you don’t want to see in your photos.
Tip: Get in the habit of swiping your camera lens on your phone with a cloth or something soft before taking a photo.
Focus Focus Focus
Learning how to use the focus on your smartphone will take your photography game up a notch. Ok, maybe even two. The better you control the features on your phone, the better your photos will be.
The camera will try to guess the best it can if you don’t tell it exactly where to focus. Click on the phone screen where you want the focus. A box will appear, and this is where the camera will focus while you take your photo. Mastering focus will let you achieve tack-sharp images.
Tip: Click for a few seconds on your subject, and you can lock your focus point and then recompose your shot if you wish.
Look at the big picture. You’ve heard that expression before. In photography, it’s literally an excellent thing to learn to do. While you are concentrating on taking cute photos of your baby, the garbage bag on the floor in the background is taking a lot of attention off of your subject.
Take your eye off your subject for a moment and look behind at what is happening. Change your composition or clean up a bit for an uncluttered and more pro looking photo.
HDR is an excellent tool in some situations and can make your photo look unreal in others. HDR is the feature on your phone where the same shot is taken in three different exposures and then stacked to create a perfectly exposed image. It’s a great feature when used correctly.
When you use HDR, your smartphone will boost the lightest and the darkest parts of your photo to make the colors vivid and true. HDR is great for Landscape photography, but not so much for portraits.
You’ve probably gone overboard with the HDR if the clouds in your photo look like they’re straight out of a comic book.
Helpful tip: Turn HDR off and use it only when you think that the conditions require it.
Remember: Turning on the HDR feature on your phone slows down the camera slightly.
Bad composition can ruin a great photo opportunity. Rule-of-thirds is a great go-to composition technique that works great in many situations. There are other composition tricks to keep in mind, like leading lines, negative space, and symmetry.
Fun Tip: Get creative with composition. Think outside of the box and find different ways to capture your photo. Try to shoot your photo from a different perspective. Standing with your camera at eye level is not always the most interesting way to get that amazing photo.
To Flash or Not To Flash
Use the flash on your camera sparingly. Most phones have a very bright and harsh flash that is not very flattering. Turn off the auto-flash mode and decide if you want to use it or not for each individual situation.
Try to use other light sources before resorting to your flash. Sometimes someone else’s phone flashlight can be directed to create interesting lighting. Use a ring light to get soft lighting and create those great catchlights in the eyes.
Neat Trick: Use the flash as a fill light. Use it when you’re photographing a person in mid-day with high sun. The flash will fill in shadows that may appear on the person’s face.
Don’t forget: Auto-flash OFF
Crooked Horizon Line
Nothing says amateur like a crooked horizon line. One of our pet peeves! Are you on vacation taking photos of the ocean? Make sure the horizon line, in this case the ocean, is straight and not sliding out to one side of the image. Try using a tripod to make sure your camera stays steady.
Great tip: Turn on the gridlines on your phone to help you align the horizon line.
Not Zooming with Your Feet
Sadly, most smartphones are not well equipped with zoom lenses. Many offer some type of zoom lens, but they often don’t provide good quality results. Blurry photos with grain are to be expected.
Check your surroundings and see if you can move in closer to your subject when you get the urge to use the zoom on your phone.
Last but not least, over-editing your photos can make them look unreal and very amateur. It’s a mistake to over-edit, but it’s also a mistake NOT to edit at all.
When it comes to editing, less is best. We suggest you start slowly when you are editing a photo. Don’t jack up the contrast full blast from the get-go. Go easy on the slider and take your time to see the small changes that happen gradually in your photo.
Trick: The pre-existing filters on your phone or editing apps are great. You can choose the intensity and impact of the filter by using the slider.
Get out there and shoot with your phone as much as you can. Apply these simple tricks and see your photos get better and better. Practice makes perfect, and we learn from our mistakes. This is especially true in photography.
By Sandra Roussy