Smartphone photography – Tips for taking better photos
A child’s first steps, a rare natural spectacle or simply a spontaneous get-together with friends – we all want to capture these special, often unexpected moments and share them with others. And in the age of smartphone photography, this is easier than ever. Instead of carting a set of heavy equipment around or fishing out a reflex camera from a case, we can simply reach for our phone in our trouser or coat pocket or handbag. These days, we never go anywhere without our phone. And in terms of performance, smartphone cameras are now able to compete with conventional cameras. Our guide to smartphone photography contains lots of great tips so that you can get the most out of your device and take impressive smartphone photos to share with your friends!
Table of contents
Stunning photos – the basics of smartphone photography
Keep things clean
We use our smartphones for all sorts of functions, so the camera is particularly prone to getting dirty. That’s why cleaning the lens is especially important in smartphone photography. In many causes, it is sufficient to wipe the lens with a soft, lint-free cloth before use. Lens cleaning cloths are ideal for this purpose. It is also a good idea to clean the camera regularly with special cleaning tools for optical lenses. But don’t forget: smartphones have a front and rear camera!
Keep your finger off the zoom
When you spot something interesting, it can be tempting to want to capture every single detail. The zoom function on a smartphone camera may appear to do just that. However, as most models have a digital rather than an optical zoom, using the zoom results in a significant loss of quality. Images will appear pixellated and blurred if you attempt to enlarge them. When you’re taking a photo with your smartphone, keep your hands off the zoom and get as close as possible to your subject!
Frame your image – the rule of thirds
The so-called rule of thirds can help you to frame your image. This is one of the basic principles of image composition, and ensures that your images will be aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. The principle is very simple: imagine that your image is divided evenly into nine rectangles. Then place the parts of the image that you want to highlight on the lines and intersections of this grid.
Most smartphones have a practical grid setting that displays the rectangles for the rule of thirds on the screen.
However, as with any rule, you can also create a specific effect by not following this principle. When using your smartphone, don’t allow yourself to be constrained by the rule of thirds – instead, compose the image based on the nature of your subject.
Capture every detail – RAW mode
Professional photographers work exclusively with raw photo data – so-called RAW format photos. This is because photos in this format contain almost all the information sent by the image sensor. Unlike the JPEG format, which processes and compresses the image, RAW files have everything you need for post-processing. If you want your smartphone to do more than just take quick snapshots, you should download a smartphone camera app that can take photos in RAW mode.
Hold your phone with both hands
If you’ve ever tried taking a photo with one hand, you might have noticed that the resulting image was blurred and unusable. To prevent camera shake, always hold your smartphone with both hands when taking a photo!
Turn off the flash
In terms of lighting, the flash on your smartphone should stay switched off. Smartphones are often only equipped with a small LED lamp that produces very hard light. This does not make for aesthetically pleasing photos, and can make your subject appear synthetic and artificial. Instead of the flash, try to use natural light. You will be amazed at what the latest smartphone cameras are capable of – even in poor lighting conditions!
Using the right tools to get the perfect photo – image editing apps
Ever improving cameras have led to higher expectations of smartphone photography, causing image editing tools to become more important. Today, there are all sorts of image editing apps that you can use to enhance your photos. With a bit of practice, you can get the best out of every shot – for example, you can optimise the brightness and contrast, convert a colour photo to black and white, or remove smudges.
Smartphone photography – how to take the best selfies
When taking photos of ourselves, we tend to be especially picky. After all, we always want to show off our best side. With smartphone photography, this is relatively easy. For the best selfies, follow the tips below:
- 1. On sunny days, find a shady spot to ensure that your face is evenly lit.
2. Always look towards the light source to prevent unwanted shadows.
3. If you like taking selfies indoors, consider buying a selfie ring light. These provide reliable and constant light and ensure that your face is always perfectly illuminated.
4. Avoid unfavourable perspectives. For example, if you hold the camera below your face, you probably won’t look good on the photo. In addition, try varying your pose. This will give you more photos to choose from and allow you to show off your most attractive side.
5. For all selfies, always look at the camera. For best results, choose an uncluttered background. Other people or eye-catching objects have no place in selfies.
6. Use the beauty of nature for your own selfies – this is especially easy if you have the right accessories. For example, a flexible tripod holds your phone in place on uneven surfaces. You can also use a Bluetooth remote shutter release to take photos from a distance.
Fascinating, inspiring, captivating – everyone loves photos of nature. Follow these tips to capture stunning images of landscapes on your smartphone:
- 1. The golden ratio (approximately 1/3 to 2/3) is particularly useful for composing images of landscapes. This image provides a very good illustration of the golden ratio:
- 2. As the name suggests, landscape images should always be taken in landscape format in order to capture the full expanse of the scenery.
3. Always focus on the main scene: Trees, animals or people tend to interfere with the scene.
4. Wonky photos – this can happen if the horizon is not straight. Use the grid function to ensure that the image is level.
5. Don’t point the camera directly at the sun, otherwise you won’t be able to see much of the landscape. However, do experiment to try creating different effects.
If you’re looking to photograph your products but you’re on a tight budget, you can do your product photography with a smartphone. Here are a few tips to help you highlight the best features of your products:
1. The basis for a good photo is a good product. For best results, choose a clean and pristine sample of your product for your photo shoots.
2. The product is the star of the show – it should therefore be placed in the centre of your image. To achieve the perfect position, use the grid line function on your smartphone.
3. Just one tiny movement is all it takes to produce a blurred image. To ensure that you can see every detail, always use a tripod.
4. The background also makes an impression. For this reason, choose a single-colour and crease-free background that will showcase your product at its best.
5. Shadows can be a distraction in product photography. Position the lighting so that there are no shadows.
6. No corners or edges – by using an infinity cove, you can take visually appealing images without a visible transition from the wall to the floor.
7. A shooting table and a light tent are ideal for illuminating small products. They allow you to work with different backgrounds and reduce annoying reflections.
8. Just like other forms of photography, smartphone photography requires good lighting. If you want to take promotional product photos, it is worth investing in professional photo studio lighting. With BRESSER, you can find a wide range of lighting equipment to suit every budget.
9. The job of taking a good product photo doesn’t end with pressing the shutter button. Post-processing is also very important: by adjusting the contrast and colour, you can ensure what the customer sees on the photo is what they will get!
A feast for the eyes – since the advent of social media, the camera lens has become an increasingly common sight at the meal table. However, if you want to take appetising images of food with your smartphone, there are a few tips that you should follow:
1. When taking images of food, there is one basic principle: take your photos before tucking in! No one wants to look at an image of a half empty plate.
2. Pay attention to aesthetics: if you want to take mouth-watering photos, think about how to compose your image. Only choose elements that complement each other and arrange them appropriately to create an optically appealing image.
3. Get the right perspective – in food photography, this is very simple. In the vast majority of cases, you should photograph directly or at an angle from above. This ensures that all components will be clearly visible.
4. In terms of lighting, place the food directly under the light source to prevent unwanted shadows.
5. As the name implies, the focus of food photography should be the food. Everything should be easily recognizable and in focus.
6. For best results, always choose a high resolution for your photos. You can always edit the image afterwards and reduce the size.
For a special touch – equipment for smartphone photography
If you want to take impressive photos with your smartphone, nothing is more important than a good phone with a powerful camera. However, there are also a number of smartphone photography accessories which allow you to realise your creative ideas with even better results:
Stable photos – tripod with remote shutter release
Smartphone photography is particularly prone to camera shake, which results in a blurred image. For best results, always use a tripod – even a small tripod will do. Tripods often come with a remote shutter release so that you can control the shutter remotely and ensure that everything stays in focus. Perfect for uneven surfaces: tripods with flexible legs.
Our recommendations for a sturdy smartphone camera:
Showing your subject in the right light
If you want to draw attention to your subject, lighting is very important. You can purchase pocket-sized lights which are specially designed for smartphone photography, including coloured lighting for creating stunning colour effects on your photos. For portraits, an LED ring light helps to create the perfect light.
Highlights for creative photographers
What would my subject look like when photographed through a glass ball? What effect can I create with unconventional LED lights? In addition to the usual photographer’s accessories, there are also a number of gadgets that you can use to be creative. With these accessories, however, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!
Our recommendations for unusual photographic effects:
Whether you’re preparing for a carefully planned photo shoot or simply want to take the occasional snapshot, we hope that you enjoy the exciting world of smartphone photography and wish you every success!