article by Marisa D. Aceves
Want to be a photographer?
Do you dream about having a solo show of your award-winning artwork?
Hearing about the results you can get from the latest two-thousand dollar DSLR can make you sigh in agitation and hopelessness.
You know you don’t have that kind of money.
But, giving into despair is futile.
Here’s one thing that can give you hope.
You’ve got a powerful photography tool in your pocket, your smartphone!
What is smartphone photography; why is it so popular?
Smartphone photography is simply photography taken with your smart(mobile) phone. Its’ popularity is no mystery. The easy accessibility and lower cost of smartphones help them surpass DSLRs in sales. With today’s smartphone camera technology, you can achieve stunning results with a high-quality, decent range of print sizes. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also increased the use of cell phone cameras. Uploading and sharing pictures has never been easier!
If you love photography, the best time to start is NOW!
Take advantage of these useful tips and resources to make the most of your smartphone accessories.
1. Know The Features And Limitations Of Your Brand And Model Of Smartphone
Not all smartphones are created equal. The features on your friends’ Android may be different than those on your iPhone. Even within the same brand, camera features vary. For example, according to iMore, a popular iPhone photography website, Apples’ iPhone 11 has a dual-lens rear camera system with ultra-wide cameras perfect for shooting amazing landscapes and street scenes. Only the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max Models carry a telephoto lens. It’s important to know when to make adjustments.
Here are some videos and articles comparing Apple and Android models to help you make the best decision for your individual needs:
2. Make Sure Your Lens Is Clean
You take your smartphone everywhere. Eventually, the camera lens is going to get dirty.
To prevent unsightly smudges, marks, and specks of dirt from diminishing the quality of your photographs, keep your lens or lenses clean.
Magic Fiber, sells an affordable and easy to use microfiber cloth you can purchase here:
3. Avoid Using The Zoom Feature
Except for macro shots, avoid digital zoom on your camera. Using the digital zoom tool can produce grainy, low-quality photographs. Instead of using the zoom, get closer to your subject.
4. Understand Light, Exposure and Perspective
Learn how light affects your subject. Using a broader light source creates a softer lighting effect.
It reduces contrast, minimizes texture, and softens shadows. Light will change its’ appearance depending on whether the light source is closer or farther away from the subject.
Popular Photography’s tutorial will show you how to use light to your advantage:
Understanding light without learning about exposure paints an incomplete picture. Exposure changes the look, feel, and development of your photographs.
Master aperture, ISO, and shutter speed with these helpful articles:
Studying perspective allows you to see both the objects or subjects in a picture plane from different vantage points and their relationships to one another. It improves the composition of your photographs.
For example, if you shoot an object or subject from above (aka. shooting downwards), you are looking down at it. The compositions that result from using this technique help your viewers to better connect with your subject. It’s especially useful for shooting food photography or portraits.
Shooting from an extreme side angle achieves the illusion of uneasiness and greater depth.
Read Photography Pro’s article for the latest tips and tricks to improve perspective in your photography:
5. Choose The Right Smartphone Accessories
Increase what your cellphone camera can do. Invest in some must-have smartphone accessories.
Tripods, lighting kits, and lens attachments make it possible for you to shoot pictures you’d take with your DSLR.
Check out Expert Photography’s iPhone equipment list to help you find what you’re looking for:
6. Experiment With Different Photography Themes
Don’t know what to photograph? Photography theme prompts are the solution. Prompts are words and phrases that spark ideas for the creation of a photograph such as nature, family, cars, people, etc.
Visit iPhone Photography School to discover ways to increase your creativity:
7. Take Advantage of The Self Timer
Are you sick of using your hands to take a photo? Your smartphones’ self-timer will save the day.
Take portraits, landscapes, and macro photography with ease.
Explore your options with Expert Photography’s article on how and when to use the self-timer tool:
8. Try Different Shooting Modes
Experiment with the camera modes on your smartphone. Night Mode will help you shoot striking dark scenes. Portrait Mode allows you to capture engaging portraits. HDR Mode enhances details in the dark and light areas in your photographs.
To create unforgettable pictures with the modes on your camera, read Iceland Photo Tours’ excellent article:
9. Understand How to Edit and Process Your Images
Editing doesn’t fix bad photographs. It enhances strong ones. Aim for better quality photos before you edit.
To discover the best way to edit while preserving your pictures, use Expert Photography’s handy guide:
10. Perfect Composition
Understanding the arrangement and location of objects in a photo is key to great photography. Master the rules of composition, and you are on your way to breathtaking pictures.
Improve your understanding with Photo Workout’s guide to conquering composition:
11. Use Photography Apps
From photo editing to changing color and lighting, free and paid photo apps magnify what you can do with your humble smartphone.
Sample a variety of sweet photo apps mentioned in this stellar Pixpa article by Gurpreet Singh:
12. Buy A Smartphone With A Great Camera
Not everyone buys the best smartphone available. Sometimes, your budget gets in the way of your dreams. However, with a little bit of creativity and a lot of planning, your best photos are possible.
If you’re considering buying a new camera, here are some options for you to consider:
13. Learn to Shoot RAW
The term RAW refers to an unedited digital photograph. RAW files are larger and not ready for sharing or printing. While you have to edit RAW files, they are easier to adjust than JPEG.
Shoot RAW with this great Popular Science article:
14. Steady Your Camera
If you prefer sharp pictures, avoid blur. To solve this problem, use both hands to hold your phone, keeping your elbows to your sides. Rest your phone on a sturdy object or use the burst function to prevent shake.
Use Eye Ems guide to prevent blurred photos:
If you lack a steady hand and you have a love of gadgets, reach for a tripod. Find a tripod that suits your needs with Gear Hungry’s expert review:
15. Try A Variety of Lens Filters To Create Mood
Lens filters allow you to shoot incredible photos while avoiding a large amount of editing. Haze lens filters reduce UV light making images warmer. They prevent them from appearing washed out. Polarizing lens filters eliminate glares and reflections, which makes them perfect for nature scenes and landscape photos.
If you plan on using filters, familiarize yourself with Photos With Phones valuable guide:
16. Shoot In Black and White
Shooting in black and white gives your photos a film noir edge. Compositions that focus on light, shape, form, and leading lines greatly benefit from a monochromatic treatment. Rich shadows come to life; textures hold mystery; nature becomes poetic.
Learn more about black and white photography, read Eric Kims’ how-to article:
17. Take Advantage Of Photographic Opportunities
Finally, never shy away from discovering engaging subjects to photograph! Try creating a street photography series from a different perspective! Produce a photo essay providing winning insight into the lives of people connected to an underground community! Record your immediate family history as you live it!
The best photos come from a healthy combination of skill and creativity! You might be surprised at the results you can achieve. For more information about how to expand your photography knowledge, check out my recent article on the top seven websites to learn photography.
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