The camera technology found in the latest cell phones is truly remarkable. Gone are the days of blurry and dark photos. Now, every one of us is able to take sharp, high resolution images without having to invest in an expensive camera.
But just because cell phones have made it easier to take beautiful photos, it does not mean they are perfect every single time. Any one can take photos but it takes real skill and effort to create visually-pleasing, artful images.
Don’t get lost in the crowd. Follow these easy tips to get the most of out your cell phone photos:
1) Forget the Filters
When you’re using the same filters that everyone else is using, it’s hard to make something truly unique. The standard filters are great, but they aren’t everything.
To make your photo stand out, skip the filters and use editing software instead. Whether you use a photo editing app on your phone or opt for more expansive software on your computer, editing puts you in control. You can manually edit things like brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation and color temperature. By playing around with these settings, you’ll be able to define your own style aesthetic and distinguish yourself from all the rest.
2) Don’t Use the Flash
Flashes on cell phones are not really flashes. They are super bright LED lights and using them to take a photo can ruin your color temperature and flood the images with light. These flashes can make pictures appear blurry or overexposed.
Your best bet is to find another light source. If you don’t have one with you, use whatever is available around you. Experiment with strange and interesting light sources. Some will work shockingly well and others may not but trying is half the fun. You never know when you’ll find an unexpected light source that captures exactly what it is you were hoping to convey.
3) Clean Your Lens
It is absolutely amazing what cleaning your lens can do for the clarity of your image. Our pockets, purses, tabletops, and hands are not always the cleanest things and this dirt and grime can muck up the lens.
Cell phone lenses are made to be strong and durable so if you’re stuck, you can clean it with any soft cloth but it’s always best to do a proper clean with a proper lens solution.
4) Don’t Zoom
Zooming can ruin the quality and sharpness of your photographs. If you are wanting to draw focus to something, use cropping instead.
When you zoom, the camera is just taking a guess at what is there. It is filling in the blanks itself and that can lead to distortion. When you crop an image to create focus, you are maintaining the resolution and the crispness of your image. If you are trying to get closer to a subject, the best way to do that is to actually get closer to the subject. It will produce a better image. If this is not possible, crop the image so it appears like you were closer.
5) Consider the Rules
Creativity is a beautiful thing and you should let it control your process, however, there are some rules of composition that are worth keeping in mind. These simple rules can transform your photographs. The rule of thirds is probably the most common one to consider.
By dividing your frame into thirds, and placing your subject along these third lines, you create a compelling image that invites your viewer to look closely and investigate. If you have a hard time imagining these lines, turn on the rule of thirds overlay. A grid will appear on your screen helping you see where in the frame your subjects are appearing.
6) Avoid Lens Flare
Yes, some lens flare can be good. It’s showing up in lots of mobile photography lately but it isn’t always the right direction for your image. Lens flare can blur the details in your photo, leaving your viewer without a clear focus or understanding of what is in the frame.
If a lens flare is occurring and you want to use it, try moving it around in your frame to get the effect the way you want it. Changing the angle of your camera will change the amount of flare. If you’re trying to avoid it, you can cup your hand over your lens to create a lens hood or, if possible, adjust your frame so the light source causing the flare is no longer a part of the image.
7) Stay Steady
Keeping your cell phone steady is a key element for most photos, especially those taken at night or in low light. When you’re shooting in darkness, your camera will adjust the shutter speed, slowing it down to allow more light. This means it takes a little longer to capture your image and any movement will blur things.
Try holding the phone with both hands or using a stable surface like a tripod. If you are able to get a tripod with a remote, you won’t have to touch your phone at all which means that it’s sure to stay steady.
8) Take Lots of Shots
When you see something that strikes you, take lots of shots of it. Why stop at one? The fact that cell phone photos are digital means you have nothing to lose. You aren’t using film and there isn’t a lot of time and processing involved in viewing the image so take advantage. Try different angles and distances, get creative. Don’t be afraid of bad photos. Sometimes you’ve got to wade through the mess of what doesn’t work in order to find out what does. And what works might not be the exact same every single time. Snap away and see what shakes out.
The availability of quality cameras in our phones has given everyone who owns one the opportunity to take gorgeous photos. But, unfortunately, not all cell phone photos are created equal. By following any or all of the above tips, you will position yourself ahead of the pack by creating striking and compelling imagery. If you’re going to take cell phone photos, why not take the best cell phone photos?