10 Tips to Easily Improve your Smartphone Photography Skills

Photographer & Designer - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta - Pixels by Tina

There are no doubt smartphones have changed photography forever, whether we like that or not, it has. In 2015, two billion people on the planet used smartphones with 90% of them taking pictures and 85% of them sharing those images on social media sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Those are some pretty big numbers and I'm convinced those numbers grew bigger in the last two years.

But the thing is a lot of those users don't realize the full potential of their phone's camera. And sometimes, your camera is all you have.

 Here's my simple list of 10 tips to kick your smartphone photography skills to the next level!

1) Get to know your phone camera settings. Things like white balance, ISO, shutter speed, burst mode, lock settings, exposure and metering can make a big difference in your image.
2) On most phones, when you touch the screen, you can move your focus and change your exposure, but most people don't know that if you touch and hold, it locks those settings, which is useful when taking pictures of a moving subject or for macro photography.

3) Enable your grid (rule of thirds). Don't center your subject, use the rule of thirds and always try to put your subject along one of the vertical lines, while keeping your horizon on one of the horizontal lines.

4) Try not to use the flash on your camera, it's usually too much and ruins the picture, instead increase your ISO or lower your shutter speed and use a tripod, there's plenty of things you can use as a makeshift tripod, like binder clips and glasses.

5) With selfies, shoot from above. When shooting someone else, tell them to keep their body at a 45 degree angle and to put their chin forward and down, it looks way better. Always focus on the eyes.

6) If you want to zoom in, instead try to bring yourself closer. Most zooms on smartphones aren't the greatest and you'll more than likely end up with an image full of noise. If you can't get closer, there's some hacks you can try like using a magnifying glass or you can crop the image later if it has proper resolution.

7) Follow the light, natural that is, preferably. More light, better details and exposure. If there's not enough, use reflectors. You can use foil paper or a large piece of white cardboard to reflect the light to your subject.

8) Use the HDR mode if shooting landscapes. HDR means High Dynamic Range. Useful for when you have a dark sky and a bright foreground or vice versa. It will shoot three pictures with different exposures and blend them into one to give you an image with great detail in the dark areas and the bright ones while balancing the image.

9) For action shots or motion blur, use the burst mode. For example, if you're trying to capture a person running and have them come out clear and crisp on the image, use the burst mode. 

10) Use the back camera instead of the front, yes even for selfies.

-> If you think there's a tip that should be included in this list, comment below! Feel free to ask me any questions, I'll be glad to help! And please share with your friends! 

Happy Wandering!

Photographer & Designer - Crowsnest Pass, Alberta - Pixels by Tina