How to take better photos with your smartphone

Remember the days when you had to buy a big, fancy (and expensive) camera if you wanted to take great photos? These days the power to capture incredible images fits in your pocket. No clunky gear or complicated set up required so you can focus on the creative part. Check out these five tips to help you up your smartphone photography game.

How to take better photos with your smartphone

[Photo Credit: iStock.com/Christoph Steinweg]

1. It’s all about the lighting

The key to a great-looking photo is lighting. It can turn an ordinary snap into something gallery-worthy. Photographers the world over prefer natural light (no flash, please!) for its clarity and brightness, but not just any natural light will do. Daytime sunlight can be too bright, casting dark shadows and washing out the image. Take advantage of the brief periods before sunrise and sunset which are known as the ‘golden hour’ and the ‘blue hour’. Time it right, and you’ll be working with the softest, most flattering light of the day.

2. Play with composition

Spend time framing your photo to ensure you have everything you want in the frame, and nothing you don’t. Turn on your camera’s gridlines to help with this, and you’ll also be able to play around with the ‘rule of thirds.’ This photographic principle says that your major point of interest should be at or near the intersection of those gridlines, which divide the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. This usually means that your subject will be slightly off-centre, which is more interesting to the eye, gives the subject more breathing space and ensures your shot is level with the horizon. Tap the subject on your screen to tell your camera where to focus.

3. Resist the urge to zoom

Getting closer to your subject usually creates a more impactful image, but using the digital zoom on your camera isn’t the best way to do this. You’ll lose resolution and end up with blurry, pixelated images. Get better results by getting as close, physically, as you can to the subject, and cropping it later on to preserve image quality.

4. Edit, edit, edit!

After you’ve taken your photo, the real fun begins. Try out your phone’s integrated camera filters and editing tools to crop or adjust the brightness and saturation of the image. There are also a number of specialized apps that offer advanced photo editing options.

5. Treat yourself to new gear

A lens kit can help you get even more out of your smartphone camera. Experiment with these small, lightweight lenses that easily attach to any phone to achieve wide angle, telephoto, macro or fish-eye effects. Price points vary widely (from under $20 to a couple hundred dollars) so there are kits to suit any budget. A tripod is another great piece of equipment that will give you steady, level hands-free shots.

As they say, the best camera is the one that’s always with you. Take advantage of your new smartphone photography skills and share your favourite photos with friends, family and followers on social media.

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