Your smartphone’s camera is capable of a lot more than you give it credit for. Phoneography is a trend that is growing rapidly as camera phones just keep getting better! These days, just about everyone has a good camera within their reach, probably in their pocket or hand! Today we’re sharing seven steps that you need to know in order to become an expert phoneographer and to help you step up your Instagram game.
1. Keep Your Phone Steady!
Stability is a really important factor to consider in order to get good photos with your phone! Blurry pictures just don’t cut it, so why not look into a smartphone tripod? This could be super helpful when trying out timelapses or shooting video, but stability is important in photos too! Especially in low light or other uncontrollable situations in which your image quality is already lowered, keeping your camera steady is crucial. If you don’t have a tripod, try holding your phone with two hands or resting it against a steady surface for the best results. I’ll fill you in on a phoneography secret – you can use the volume control buttons on your headphones to take a photo without having to touch your phone at all!
2. Consider Composition!
It is important to think about the positioning of your subject in your picture. One big tip that you can take into consideration is the Rule of Thirds! Imagine two vertical lines and two horizontal lines going across your image, creating three equal columns and three equal rows. Your image will pop and have stronger composition if your focal point(s) sit roughly in any of the four corners where the lines intersect. If you’re having some trouble visualizing this, you can always turn on the grid lines in your camera!
For more composition ideas, you can also experiment with symmetry, space, finding leading lines, trying different angles, and using unique patterns or textures to give your photographs an extra edge.
3. Clean Your Lens!
You probably think about cleaning your lens from time to time when you’re shooting with a camera, but how often do you think about cleaning your phone camera lens? Probably not very often! You may not notice the smudges or dust that have gotten onto your lens because we carry our phones around all day and they are constantly being touched. However, keeping your phone camera lens clean can have a huge impact on your pictures. The best way to make sure your lens is as clean as can be is to purchase a lens cleaning kit. You can find various affordable options on Amazon, like this one!
Additionally, once your lens is clean you may choose to purchase an attachable lens to add onto your phone camera! Different lenses will help you accomplish different things with your photos, as you might find yourself interested in using a fisheye lens or a macro lens.
4. Take Lots of Shots!
In order to get the best version of your picture, you can’t just try once! Take more than one shot because you never know when the moment will become visually perfect. It is also important to try out various angles! You won’t know which one is the best until you can compare all of your options. You will feel more satisfied knowing you have the options to choose from, and there’s no harm in deleting the ones you didn’t like later! Putting the effort into your pictures and trying out lots of options will also give you an opportunity to see what’s working and what isn’t. maybe you need to change your focus or adjust your exposure. Taking lots of pictures will help you find your best work!
5. Manually Adjust Your Focus and Exposure!
It’s really easy to just pull out your phone and snap a few pictures, but what happens later when you go back to look at them and they aren’t even in focus? You are better off making sure all of that is taken care of in the beginning! Tap on your screen to focus on the part of the picture that you want to be in focus. By playing around with the screen-tapping settings, you’ll discover that you can also adjust your exposure this way! Sometimes your phone will automatically choose to focus on the lightest part of the picture, but you want the dark part in focus (or vice versa). Even our smartphones need a little help sometimes!
6. Lighting is Everything!
This might just be the most important phoneography tip you’ll learn today. Learn how to use the lighting to your advantage. Phone cameras aren’t capable of upholding high image quality in low light. Your best chance at getting perfect natural lighting will be during golden hour (the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset). Another tip to try with this is to get up close and personal! Phone cameras have small sensors, so take photos as close up to your subject as possible for the best picture quality. Taking photos up close, or slightly cropping them, will also help you avoid zooming in when taking pictures and you always want to avoid zooming on your phone camera. It will really take away from your image quality!
7. Use Photo Editing Apps!
Professional photographers always edit their photos, so why not you? There is an abundance of apps out there specifically created to make your pictures look better, so take advantage of them! Your photos will turn out looking a lot nicer and you’ll be even more proud of time and effort you put in making sure that they’re looking the best that they can. One app you might want to try out is Snapseed! It has plenty of editing tools and features that you can practice with. We can help you out with this step and show you how to use Snapseed to its fullest in our Phoneography Workshop!