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Photography 101: Tips for Better Smartphone Photos

I know, there is a stigma against smartphone photography. For all the die hard Canon or Nikon fans out there, I can understand your feelings when it comes to taking and composing a photo - a good photo - with a smartphone. The entire idea of taking a photo with a phone just seems, so, transient, fleeting and silly.

While I understand the consternation, I also believe a good photo is a good photo regardless of how it was taken. For this reason, I endorse smartphone photography. More specifically, I want to make it better.

In this light, here are some tips for making your mobile photography better.

Mobile Photography Tips, Smartphone Photography Tips

1. Clean Your Lens

This is a simple one yet one which no one ever mentions. When you own a legit camera, a Nikon or a Canon, you keep that camera in a case with a shudder over it. You clean the lens before you take photos and before you put the camera away. You do everything you can to maintain that camera so the camera itself doesn't breakdown. Yet, what do you do with your Android or iOS device? You keep it in your pocket, change it from surface to surface and constantly touch it to text, make calls, send emojis etc. All of this can create a a dirty lens.

Before taking any photos, clean your smartphone lens. It's simple.

2. Get in Close

Maximize Depth Field Smartphone Photography

You would be surprised how well a smartphone can detect and manipulate a depth field to process the object in view. As most smartphones maintain a very small sensor, the lens allows for a substantially wide depth field enabling users to place focus on an object where a larger lens would have considerable problems. In addition to maximizing the depth field, getting up close also allows a smartphone photographer to play with light more effectively. If an object, from far away, is bathed in light killing the shot, moving in close - real close - can wholly cut that over light exposure from the shot.

Get in close. Maximize your depth field.

3. Avoid Using Zoom for a Far Away Object

Smartphone Zoom

Your smartphone isn't a telephoto lens with the capability of being able to zoom into an object over a mile away with crystal clear clarity of vision. It just isn't. Your smartphone camera is a small lens built to snap photos close to you and medium distance away from you without using zoom. Try to avoid using your smartphone zoom. Instead snap a photo at distance.

If you want to get closer to an object, move.

4. Use Lines to Draw the Eye

Lines to Draw the Eye

This applies to photography in general. When taking a photo with your smartphone look for lines, angles and items which will help draw the viewers eye into and across the entire photo. Sure, a static image of a single thing, i.e. food photography, is great on Instagram yet you can do so much more with your mobile photography. Play with lines and drawing your viewers eye.

Direct the eye where you want it to go.

5. Stop Relying on Filters

Edit, Don't Filter

I will be the first to admit I love the "Hudson", "X-Pro II", "Lo-Fi" and "Rise" filters of Instagram. I find they darken a photo to make it more interesting yet I also find I sometimes rely too heavily on those filters. Sometimes I catch myself, while taking a photo thinking a filter would make this image better.

In this vein, I say edit, don't filter. Not only should you edit your photos using a wide variety of excellent mobile photography editing software, you should edit the photos you take/choose to upload. Instead of relying on a pre-built filter to make your image more interesting, ditch the filters in favor of choosing a nicely set up shot.

Edit your photo and your upload selection.

Remember, if you like this content and want to chat about it, you can reach me at the following social spaces:

  1. Twitter: @bleibowi
  2. Linkedin: Brad Yale
  3. Google +: Brad Yale
  4. Instagram: Mr. Brad Yale