smartphone photography

Smartphone Photography: 9 Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

We can’t help but fawn over amazing photos we find on social media. These photos really bring beauty into the foreground. It’s so hard to believe that some of them are shot using a smartphone camera.

What most of us are not aware of is that anyone can take great images like a skilled photographer; it only requires a bit of creativity and lots of practice. Smartphone photography has become sophisticated with the help of high-tech phone cameras, gadgets, tools and more.

By following some tips and applying tricks and hacks, you can definitely improve your smartphone photography skills and take inspiring photos like a pro.

Must Read: How to Take Good Pictures With Your Android Using These 10 Helpful Tips

Tips: Take Pictures Like A Pro

Tweak Your Camera Settings

More often than not, we underestimate smartphone photography. If we want to take high-quality pictures, we automatically defer to DSLR cameras. The truth, however, is that our smartphone camera is more capable than it looks.

Let’s start with changing the size or resolution of your camera. Did you know that you can instantly get better quality photos by simply changing its resolution? It’s very easy to do, and it works on any smartphone camera.

Start by opening your phone’s camera. Go to Settings and tap on Resolution. Notice that you can set the aspect ratio to different options–4:3 and 16:8. The aspect ratio 4:3 is best for social media and 16:9 is for widescreen viewing. Remember to always choose the highest resolution for the aspect ratio you choose.

resolution settings

Now, you can produce clearer and bigger images. This also means that your pictures would increase in file size so you have the option to move your storage to a MicroSD card.

Use Focus and Exposure

Avoid falling victim to blurred pictures as most of us did before. Luckily, there is a smartphone photography tool that helps get the sharpest focus on our photos. And, it’s  the easiest tool to use.

We are all very familiar with the Face Detection option. Most Android phones have this option turned on by default on their camera application. Focus and Exposure help by automatically setting the camera to focus on the faces of your subjects. Otherwise, you can also tap on the screen or viewfinder where you want your camera to focus.

photo using focus and exposure

If your picture comes out too bright or too dark, you are having an issue with the camera’s exposure. Simply go back to Settings and adjust the values for the Exposure. You should note that you may need to repeatedly adjust the exposure for each shot to compensate for changes in lighting.

Improve Your  Composition

When we take pictures, we mechanically place our subjects at the center of the frame. This usually results in flat and boring pictures.

To bring that picturesque and dramatic looks into your photos, like the ones we see in social media. You should learn about the oldest smartphone photography trick in the book, the rule of thirds.

In your camera Settings, tap on Guidelines to turn on this feature. You can now see three vertical and horizontal lines splitting your screen. The rule states that you need to place your subject or focal point right where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect. It is easy, right?

photo using rule of thirds

Like in the photo above, you can deeply appreciate the focal point without obstructing the incredible view. It is a great practice to improve the quality of your photos using your smartphone’s camera.

Techniques: How to Polish Your Photography

Take Lots of Pictures

Don’t miss capturing another once in a lifetime moment, by taking multiple shots. This is a technique widely used by photographers to allow them to review and choose a usable photo at a later time.

burst shot

What we’re talking about is Burst Shot. It is just one of the most very useful smartphone photography tools. You can activate this feature by going to Camera Settings, find Burst Shot and make sure that it is turned On. And, you’re all set.

Your camera will now take multiple sequential photos while you hold down on the camera shutter button. This is best when you are trying to take still photos of moving subjects. It really helps guarantee that you get a clean and perfect shot.

Play with Different Angles and Change Perspectives

In photography, you can use your creativity to create stunning and flattering images. We can do this by looking for different angles of the subject or scene.

And, to make your photos more interesting and extraordinary, try changing perspectives, too. Pictures could mean more and tell different stories by shooting in a unique view of an ordinary scene.

angles and perspectives

A great example of this technique is shooting with your camera at ground level or bird’s eye view. We can also use this technique to eliminate distracting objects by using the ground or the sky for background.

Perfect Your Lighting

Use natural lighting, even indoors. Sometimes, your phone’s built-in flash can create unflattering pictures. They are a little difficult to work with. So, you are better off using  any available natural light to illuminate the scene and get rid of unappealing shadows.

You can do this by, positioning your subject facing the source of light, rather than from behind. If you don’t have any source of natural light, an artificial will do but make sure that your subjects are well-lit from their position.

When taking photos outdoors, many professional photographers swear by using the golden hour to take incredible pictures. It is the hour after sunrise and before sunset. In such time, the light from the sun is naturally diffused and soften.

golden hour

This creates a warm glow and long shadows that bring out details, textures, and depth to your images.

Hacks: Make Your Pictures a Million Times Better

Stabilize Your Shot

In settings with low lighting or when using HDR mode, you really need to keep a steady hand to avoid blurry pictures. Use both of your hands to hold your smartphone and rest in on top of a solid surface. If this option is not feasible, you can always use a tripod.

smartphone tripod

There are many available tripods specifically designed for smartphones. You can either use a self-timer mode or a remote to trigger the camera shutter. It is so easy to set-up, and you can easily adjust it to different angles.

Create A Panoramic View

Another thing that is great about smartphone photography is the panoramic mode. It is great when we want to take a shot of an expansive landscape to fit in just one frame.

On your camera app, tap on Mode icon, then choose Panorama to enable it. Hold your phone where you want your picture to start and tap on the shutter button. Then, slowly pan your phone until you reach the opposite end of the landscape.

The trick here is to hold your camera perfectly level to capture a perfect panorama. Moving your phone up or down can limit the vertical aspect of the final photo.

panoramic view

Get even better panorama photos with a 360 view. You can choose from the top 360 camera apps for your smartphone. Some of these apps work well on your smartphone camera, but if you have a 360 camera, you can use it too.

Use Filters and Effects

Most Android smartphones today already has built-in filters and effects in the default camera app. This feature is more than useful; it’s also fun to use. You can change color hues and other effects to elevate your style and be creative.

But there are also beauty camera apps you can download on your phone that allows you to see the effects and filters working in real-time, like Sweet Selfie, Candy Camera , B612 and more. Or, you can add finishing touches later with Snapseed, VSCO, Pixlr and many others.

This is great for enhancing selfies. You can add makeup or fun stickers.

Download: Sweet Selfie – Selfie Camera,Beauty Cam,Photo Edit

Download: Candy Camera – Selfie, Beauty Camera, Photo Editor

Download: B612 – Beauty & Filter Camera

Download: Snapseed

Download: VSCO

Download: Pixlr – Free Photo Editor

We’re All Set!

Practice and hone your skills; you’ll be able to master smartphone photography in no time. Explore your camera’s settings and try out other apps to enhance your photos. There are always new techniques and styles you can learn and apply to your craft.

Were you able to test out any of our tips, tricks or hacks? Which one did you find most useful?

Tell us your thoughts and other ideas about smartphone photography in the comments. Don’t forget to share this with your friends.

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One Comment

  1. I’ve recently been working on some manual adjustments on my phone and some of the photos really seem to turn out much better. Plus, I love the trick about cropping later instead of zooming! ?

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