Mobile Photography 101: Guidelines To Taking Better Photos With Your Smartphone

These days, it’s a never-ending quest for taking good photographs as such that it could be tempting to ditch your Smartphone camera for something more advanced.

Photography has now grown to the point where everyone is crazed about good images for personal use whether you’re a Blogger, Traveller, Foodie or Fashionista, and sorts. But hey… I’m here to tell you that with all the advancement in Smartphone technology, you can take good images with just about any Smartphone. Just follow the simple guidelines and techniques I’m going to be showing you here.
First, you need to understand the default camera of your Smartphone. While some high-end smartphone cameras come with a whole lot of manual controls like we have on DSLRs, some don’t – and this doesn’t mean you can’t still get good results from your every shot if your smartphone lacks manual controls. Just follow the guidelines!!
If you don’t already Follow me on Instagram, do so HERE so you can all the images I’ve created on my TECNO Smartphone(s).

Learn The Rule Of Thirds

The rule of thirds acts as a guide to help you frame your shot correctly. You need to imagine your shot as split up into nine rectangular segments, and keep important subjects and elements running along these lines or close to the intersections where they meet.

The rule of third is seen here in this photo of Henry (@4eyedmonk)

With the camera apps for Android and iOS, you don’t even have to visualise these lines yourself. On Android, tap Settings in the camera and tap on Guidelines. On iOS, go to Photos & Camera in the main Settings app and toggle the Grid switch to on.

Find A Steady Support For Balance

For mobile photographs, a steady hand is always crucial—particularly in low light situations where your phone’s going to struggle to get much light into the lens. You can buy mobile tripods if you want to get the best results, but If not, you can just balance your smartphone on any surface to keep steady. The self-timer in the camera apps for Android and iOS can help too, allowing you balance your phone on a steady surface without having to get behind it.

Change Your Focus

Whether you use an iPhone or an Android device, you can tap the screen anywhere to change the focus of the shot. Now, most smartphone cameras focus automatically, however it is advisable you tap on your preferred area of focus. This action is also likely to change the exposure level to match the spot you’ve selected. If it, however, becomes overexposed(too bright) or underexposed(too dark), you can also reduce or increase the exposure level by moving the sun icon on the screen as you tap. Some Smartphones, like on the TECNO Camon C9 and Phantom 6 which I’ve used also allows you to hold and lock on the focus and exposure level so it stays fixed even if the phone moves or changes to another direction.

Here, i tapped on the green plant to stay in focus.
Here, the green plant is out of focus because I tapped on the wall to stay in focus

Use The Physical Shutter Button Or Volume Button

Speaking of keeping your phone camera steady, and trying to hold in place and then tapping a software shutter button in the middle of the screen isn’t always easy, and it can often cause your phone to shake at that crucial moment when you’re taking a shot. Even for selfies.
The solution is to use the dedicated camera button or either of the physical volume buttons to snap your picture. These may also not to be the best option but it’s a useful alternative in some situations. The TECNO Camon CX, however, has a “Touch to Capture” mode for the front facing camera which is actually the coolest.

Apply HDR For Light Balance.

Most smartphone cameras feature a High Dynamic Range mode and basically what this does is to help you balance – keeping the darkest and lightest parts of your image in balance (so a bright sky doesn’t completely obliterate a dark landscape). It requires a longer exposure, so keep your phone as steady as you can. By putting this in check, you can create a more appealing image. This also gives your images more details.

Make The Most Of the Natural (or artificial) Light

Getting your subjects well lit is crucial to a great photograph, so pay attention to available light sources, whether beams of sunshine or… There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but make sure you can see whatever you’re photographing as well as possible.
That might mean repositioning your friends, changing the angle of a close-up shot, looking for a shady area, or even waiting until later in the day to take a picture. Avoid strong lighting behind your subjects, like when the sun is too harsh unless you want to end up with a silhouette effect which can also be a good kind of image on its own if that’s what you want. I’d, however, talk about proper Use of Flashlight in subsequent posts.
Don’t Zoom, Crop Instead
When you want to get a closer shot of something, don’t zoom in, just move closer if possible. This is because most smartphones still have a digital zoom instead of an optical zoom so you aren’t really zooming in, you’re just cropping the photo thereby losing some of the details of the image.
A digital zoom can make your photo unsteady and/or blurry. You either need to move in closer or just crop the photo later while editing. “Crop in software, not in hardware”.

Take Photos in Burst

The native camera apps for both Android and iOS come with a built-in burst mode you can take advantage of. If you don’t trust yourself to get the perfect shot in one go, take several at once and then choose the winner later (preferably deleting the unwanted ones too).
This is mostly suitable for motion pictures or capturing fleeting moments. To take a photo burst on iOS or Android, simply press and then hold the shutter button for as long as you want to take pictures.

A shot in burst mode

Clean The Lens Of Your Camera

Let’s not forget some of the more practical aspects of taking good mobile photographs: As you put your phones in your pockets or in bags, the spots on the camera lens can interfere with your pictures to a pretty significant degree, so it pays to keep this part of your phone as clean as you can. You don’t necessarily need anything special for the job. In most cases, just wipe clean with a fine material.



Keep Shooting. Everyday!!
This is for those who want to take Photography seriously, whether you are using a DSLR or Smartphone. Just keep shooting, try out different angles, try out different lighting conditions. The more you do these stuff, the better you get and finally, Remember, there are no rules in Photography, there are just guidelines.

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