A Detailed Guide On How to take good photos with a phone

Everyone with a smartphone wishes to create great images. With the in-built camera available to you through your phone, it feels as though every moment, every action, every scene must be captured immediately. As we set out to share that great photo with everyone we know and some that we don’t, we often do it in a hurry. That is how we find that not all our photographs have been our best photos and worth sharing.

With a better understanding of how phone cameras work and how to take good photos with our phones, we can take advantage of it by tweaking it here and there, and discover the ace photographer in us.
Then, all that is left is to review the phones in the market and choose the best phone that will also suit your budget. There are smartphone cameras available for around 15,000 rupees and less that can make a good photographer out of you.

Why Is Mobile Photography Important?

How to take good photos with phone

Mobile photography or smartphone photography is important because it allows you to take advantage of every photo opportunity. It liberates you from having to plan and prepare and from having to carry an armful of equipment everywhere in the hope that you may be able to take some great photographs.
It is also important because it provides immediate gratification. You get to see the end product and share it with anyone you choose. Such instant gratification can encourage one to take more photos. Taking pictures on the go offers a world of opportunities. It is a way to gather memories from the most innocuous of scenes and incidents.

Being handy and unobtrusive, they are ideal for those unexpected moments, and they leave no room for regret that you missed a beautiful sunset or that perfect seascape.

Build Visibility With Mobile Photos

Mobile photos are as much a tool as any other to make your presence known to more than your family and friends. They are a way of gaining visibility, building a brand, generating leads, increasing your revenue. Learning how to take photos in a portrait mode or a landscape shot can make a huge difference in the impact your pictures make on social media.

A single good smartphone photo that depicts a striking image can draw the world’s attention just as much as a number of high-quality photos. After all, we build our brand through the ‘likes’ we get and the number of followers that we gain. 

There are a few simple tricks to take great photographs, and all with your smartphones! Even for mobile photography, there is always something new to learn, be it an upgrade on the phone apps or a new technique.

Here are a few easy tips on how to use our smartphone’s camera to take great pictures for the novice and the experienced.

Man taking photo with phone

Choose The Right Phone For Smartphone Photography

Smartphone cameras have come a long way with dual cameras and frequent upgrades. Choosing the right smartphone can be daunting if you don’t know how to do your research. To start with, you need to be clear as to the purpose of the phone. While the main purpose may be to use it for calling and texting, you may want to list out the other things you expect from your phone.

For instance, do you plan to check your mails, perform bank transactions, use it for social media, capture the most memorable photos for posterity, or simply record your memories of the day through photographs?

With a smartphone, you can do all of these and more. You will also need to check the amount of storage you need and the battery’s staying power. One of the more important factors to consider is the display sizes because you want to see content and good pictures with greater clarity. 

Last but not least is a phone with a good camera. Most phones these days almost always come with more than a single rear camera. Still, one must factor is camera quality since smartphone photos have become the norm.

Now that you have the right phone, how do we take great mobile photos?

Take Advantage of Natural Light

Although a camera phone has an inbuilt flash, using the flash doesn’t necessarily produce great photographs. The best image quality comes by using natural light as much as possible. Reducing dependency on the flash may not always be possible if you wish to capture a scene at night. But, it would be best if you could position your subject to be well-lit from the front without a silhouette caused by a stronger light behind.

Artificial lights work well, too. They can be helpful in photographing at night. Positioning the subject right so that it is closer to the light rather than shadow, making sure that the subject is fully illuminated should give you a good picture. Nevertheless, the best photographs come when you have the subject stand in natural light.

Set The Focus To Achieve Sharp Images

Smartphones give you more control and they can be manipulated for greater focus and exposure when you take a shot. In the case of a manual focus, all you need to do is tap on the screen at the spot you want to focus and make the background blur. Mobile phones have a face recognition option that can be adjusted in the manual settings of the camera app. It will help you create clear pictures of your focus point. Getting close-ups is easier on smartphones because their small image sensors help narrow in on the subject while still keeping the entire frame also focused. 

The Rule of Thirds For Better Shot Composition

The rule of thirds is when your image can be split into nine equal sections in a three-by-three grid. You aim to get the most important parts of the image where the imaginary lines join, i.e., near the corners of these segments. Adding grid lines can help you keep the horizon straight, and it works particularly well when taking portraits. This can improve the shot composition. These grid lines are no longer imaginary, thanks to smartphones. You can select the grid icon under the Photos & Camera setting or at the edge of the screen, in iPhones and Android, respectively. 

Adjust Exposure For The Right Brightness

Smartphones give you control over how much light should be allowed into the frame. Adjusting exposure can be done with a tap by either using the slider on Android phones or the hold and drag option on iPhones.

Suppose exposure times have to last longer, as in a low lighting situation. In that case, you may need to keep the camera and shot steady for the right exposure on a frame. Generally, smartphones let you point and shoot. But, the camera apps also offer a manual mode for better photos. Brightening because of low light or darkening the subject of your photograph has never been easier. 

Capture The Tiny Details Using HDR Mode

Both Android and iPhones have an HDR (high dynamic range) mode. It lets you capture even the tiniest of details within the frame. But, it takes a few milliseconds longer to process. If you can’t keep your phone steady or if you want to capture a fast-moving subject, using HDR mode may not be satisfactory. You can always use the manual control to switch the HD mode on or off.

However, some smartphones have an automatic option where the HDR mode will kick in if the camera senses that it is needed. If there is a wide range between the lightest and darkest sections of the photo, as in the case of portrait shots or landscapes, using HDR mode will get you perfect photographs. 

Steady Hand Is A Must

Mobile photography

It goes without saying that keeping the phone steady is essential if you don’t want to see blurry photos or no images at all. The fact that it is a small device and that it is held without any support, such as a tripod, makes it easy for you to fumble. Naturally, you can buy a tripod and carry it around with you if you think it is necessary. On windy days, it can be difficult to capture photographs with shaking.

But, the camera on your phone is highly sensitive to movement. The slightest camera shake can produce a picture that looks just as shaky. The small sensor of the phone is why the shake becomes visible.
Keeping the smartphone camera steady becomes critical in low lighting when the exposure time needs to be longer and we want sharp photos.  In such a low-light setting, you must release the shutter only after your hands become steady. Holding your breath will not help either as that will keep your body tense and shaky. 

Add More Lens To Your Phone’s Camera 

For the amateur photographer or the mobile photography enthusiast, the camera and lens on the smartphone should suffice. But, if you want to take it a bit further, you can take photographs with multiple lenses. Some smartphones already have dual rear cameras with a second lens to capture a wider angle of view than the main one on the phone. Adding a macro lens can give you more versatility to the in-built camera. Other options include a telephoto conversion lens, the ultra-wide lens, and the fish-eye

Take Photos In Bursts 

We don’t have to wait for the film to get developed before choosing the best of the lot. Instant mobile photography made possible by smartphones allows us to use a burst mode. By holding the shutter button down when in photo mode, you get a burst of images captured. Accessing them all immediately makes choosing the best much easier. Reviewing them and selecting as many photos as you want, or deleting them all to take another burst of photos can also happen even before the scene changes. 
Burst mode is ideal for photographing people on the move, moving animals, and children.

Avoid Digital Zoom 

Get closer to the subject instead of using the digital zoom function. Digital zooming crops the image and brings it to the same ratio as the original image, and scaling. Smartphones with additional cameras and a fixed telephoto lens will allow you to take clearer pictures without losing picture resolution.

Use Negative Space 

Negative space is nothing but empty space around the subject of focus. This is particularly effective when you wish to show minimalist images or create a contrasting image. It helps you to keep the composition simple and highlights the subject without distraction.

Using negative space effectively will produce a silhouette. But, it will keep you focused on the main subject.

A Good Camera App Can Help 

Some smartphones have default camera apps. The in-built phone’s camera app comes with a selection of filters to keep the subject in focus while making the background fuzzy. Android phones have the stock google camera app that has a lighting filter and can be preset. Then, Instagram is another photo editing app, which is more than a social media platform.

Many apps allow you to tweak the scene by adjusting the color, use filters, etc., before taking the shot. 3rd Party camera apps can give you access to different features and extra settings. You can tweak colors, add filters, straighten images, control shutter speed, etc. for better smartphone photos. Some of these apps allow you to import the photos taken by your camera, too.

Editing Your Smartphone Photos 

Smartphone camera settings, scene modes, lighting, and composition all play a part in taking good photographs. However, that is not the end. Editing the images on the go is what takes your pictures to the next level as you share your shots. This is where the various editing apps come in, with their filters and ‘one touch’ fixes to make your good pictures great.  

The importance of high-quality images

High-quality images always make a better impression, whether on websites, photo albums, or social media. Every time you aim and shoot, you try for the best photograph you can get. There may be several hits and misses along the way; but, the attempt at capturing a high-quality image is a sincere effort.

Telling a story that connects the content with lovely images makes the story riveting. Sometimes, a picture is all you need to tell a story. Generally, too much text can become tiresome. Interspersed with images makes you pay attention to the text. When the images are exceptional, they keep you on the page. Now that you have all the tips on taking good photographs with your phone, it should be easy to add text and share it with the world immediately.

Also, check out this amazing video on how to take photos with phone like a pro.

1. What is the best setting for a phone camera?

» On your phone, change the image size to maximum resolution in the camera app. 
» Next, change the metering mode according to the scene. The best practices for metering mode are center-weighted, where the subject is at the center, as in trying to highlight people on the street; matrix, where the scene covers the full-frame, like a landscape; and spot, where you take close-ups or single objects. Each of these will depend on the kind of picture you want to take. 
» Enable grid lines to follow the one third rule
» Turn off auto flash manually, if necessary so that there is better lighting.
» Change video resolution to the maximum. 

2. Which beater is best for whipping cream?

1. Clean your camera lens.
2. Avoid digital zoom and use the telephoto lens on the Android.
3. Keep your hand steady or place the phone on a stand/ tripod.
4. Use the remote with the shutter button.

3. How do you take professional photos at home?

1. Clean the camera lens.
2. Find the spot that offers natural lighting, preferably near a window or outdoors.
3. Switch off all artificial lights for the best images.
4. Use the rule of thirds – defining nine equal blocks.
5. Use landscape orientation.
6. Get closer to the subject instead of digitally zooming.
7. Use the reflector.

4. How to take good photos with phone of yourself?

» Hold the camera as far away as you can for the best picture quality.
» Position it a little above you.
» Make sure there is plenty of light.
» Use a timer, and choose a special shooting mode. 
» Use a selfie stick. 
» Use a tripod or balance the camera so that it remains steady. 
» Or, ask Google Assistant to take a selfie as Google Pixel smartphones can detect the perfect moment to shoot.

5. How to take pictures on Instagram with filters?

You can apply filters on the pictures on Instagram by tapping on the filter you like, adjusting the filter’s strength, and hitting done. Filters can be added to existing photographs, too. 

6. How do I get the flash to work on my camera?

Tap on the Flash symbol on the phone at the top of the screen. The symbol resembles a lightning bolt. You will have three options, Auto mode, On, and Off. The auto function will put the camera on flash mode automatically. You can manually switch it to On when you want to use the flash particularly.

Wrapping Up

Taking photos with your phone just became easier with just a few taps and swipes, and a few adjustments to the phone setting. In other words, you are now armed with not just a smartphone but also with the knowledge of good mobile photography. You also know that there are additional features that can be added to your smartphones such as an extra lens, a camera app, 3rd party editing tools, and an easily portable tripod for becoming a mobile photographer.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at Homezilla.in

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.