As the iPhone continues to improve so does its camera function and its photo quality. For example, the newest iPhone now comes with 3 different lenses for shooting in low light, high-quality video, ultra-wide photos as well as a telephoto for better zoom quality. These new additions sound amazing and can produce some amazing photos, but without knowing the basics and a few tips and tricks, your photos will continue to look unpolished.
Composition: Rule Of Third
No matter what camera you use, composition is one of the main fundamentals of photography and is key to improving your photos. With most smartphones, they offer a setting for your camera called grid, which will place lines over your camera screen to create a 3 by 3 grid to help with composition. Anywhere the lines intersect is an area of focus and is where your subject should be. This grid replicates a photography fundamental called the rule of thirds, which is taught in our Phoneography Workshop.
Lighting is Everything!
Lighting is everything in photography and especially phoneography. When you’re photographing with a smart-phone it is most likely that you’re not using studio lights. This means your main source of light is either natural light from the sun or fluorescents lights from inside, out of the two natural light is your best option. Tips for using natural light are to avoid harsh direct light, instead use indirect lighting, shade or shoot during overcast days.
Use Your Finger To Set Focus and Exposure
At some point, you may have run into an issue where some of your photos have turned out bright white in one area, this is known as an overexposed image. The way to fix this is by using one finger to click on the overexposed area, telling the phone to prioritize this area for exposure. The same actions will also tell the camera where to focus or by holding it down will turn the focus lock on only allowing the phone to focus on the one area.
Keep Your Phone Steady
The best option to stabilize your smartphone is with a tripod, to help control motion blur in images, smooth time-lapses or shooting video. 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.
Clean Your Lens
Smudges and dust on a camera lens can cause blurry or streaks on your images. It’s important to keep your lens clean before taking a photo, as your phone gets thrown around in bags or shoved into your pockets where your lens can get dirty. 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!
Show Depth In Your Photos
Adding depth to your image is key for landscapes and travel photography as it adds the feeling of movement and more content to the image. Think of it this way you stop to take a photo of a road, the first photo is only of your feet and a little bit of the yellow line, this shows no depth and usually a boring image. But if you were to take a photo of what you see ahead of you and include the endpoint in the road it shows depth and elongates your image that is more pleasing to the eye.
Keep Your Photos Simple
One of the first things you learn in photography is to keep your photos simple and remove unwanted objects. This will simplify your image, creates a better composition, keep the attention of your viewer, and help your image look polished. The best way to think of styling your image is to think like an interior decorator, remove unwanted content, not junk or mess left around, and don’t be afraid to take control of what is in your frame.
Avoid Cropping Or Zooming
Camera phones have small sensors that don’t produce high-quality images, 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!
Use Photo Editing Apps
Photo editing is important to every photographer as this is where they get to put those final touches on their image and give it that polished look. You can also do this to your smartphone photos through photo editing apps that will help you edit your photos by add filters, adjusting exposure or tones of the image and so much more! Not too sure what app to use, join our Phoneography Workshop where we go over photo editing apps and how to use them.