8 Tips To Help You Take Pics Like A Pro With Your Smartphone

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Photographers carrying around chunky and huge cameras were still a common sight until not too long ago. But with the popularity and innovation of smartphones, it’s a good thing people have tucked away these cameras in a dusty corner.

In the past decade, smartphone photography has skyrocketed at an unprecedented pace. This popularity probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering almost everyone now has thousands of dollars worth of studio in their hands. Additionally, you no longer need to wait for a film to develop or go to a photo booth. Instead, you can simply snap a picture, upload it on a digital platform, and enjoy instant gratification.

But while everyone today can take a picture, capturing a good one isn’t all that common. Few people know how to enhance their photography skills and get the best out of their smartphone investment.

And so, if you want to up your photography game and take pictures like a pro, following these tips may benefit you.

1. Activate HDR

The High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature on your smartphone camera is one of those features that can significantly enhance your pictures with a single tap. It combines several different exposures of the same scene and brings forth various colors, contrasts, and details. So, when taking a picture in overexposed light conditions or dark areas, activating HDR can help you achieve well-balanced images that produce visually appealing results.

Moreover, if you enjoy sharing your photography on social media, you must realize that some digital platforms compress the image quality. But when you use HDR for your pictures, you can quickly enhance the aesthetic of your photos and transform ordinary snapshots into professional-looking stock photos.

2. Use gridlines

When you activate the gridlines on your smartphone’s camera, you can see a series of horizontal and vertical lines that cover the viewfinder. Typically, this layout is in a 3×3 format that follows the rule of thirds, one of the most fundamental principles in photography. This rule aims to help you position your subject of interest at the intersecting lines, which better balances the entire picture.

Another crucial benefit of gridlines is that they’re excellent tools for setting your camera straight and avoiding unintentional tilt or distortion. Simply follow the steps below to activate the gridlines on your phone’s camera.

iPhone users:

  • Go to settings
  • Choose “camera”
  • Turn the “Grid” toggle on

Android users:

  • Launch the camera app
  • Go to settings
  • Find the option for gridlines, and turn it on

3. Avoid zooming in

Another essential tip to help you take better pictures is avoiding excessive zooming. This step is crucial because, unlike professional cameras with optical zoom capabilities, most smartphone cameras use digital zoom, which compromises your picture quality. Zooming in on a scene or subject enlarges the pixels, which leads to a loss of clarity, sharpness, and details in your result.

Instead, you can try getting physically closer to your subject or use editing features such as cropping in the post-processing step. This approach ensures you can maintain the image’s original resolution and preserve the entire scenery around your subject.

4. Use natural light

Unlike artificial lighting, natural light offers a soft, diffused quality that enhances your photo’s colors, textures, and details. The light creates natural shadows and highlights, adding depth and dimension to the images, making them more visually appealing. Shooting with natural light also allows you to avoid the harshness and unflattering effects of artificial light, resulting in more realistic and authentic-looking photographs.

For many photographers, the golden hour is typically the most awaited time to take pictures. This can either be shortly after sunrise or just before sunset, and it provides a warm, soft glow that can significantly elevate your photo quality.

5. Take multiple shots

It’s always wiser to take multiple shots with your smartphone to capture excellent-quality pictures. While professional cameras typically have several advanced settings, smartphone cameras can offer a few limitations to their users. But when you take numerous photos of the same subject or scenery, you increase your chances of capturing that perfect moment you were looking for. This approach is especially beneficial in fast-paced or unpredictable events such as sports, surprises, or celebrations.

Another crucial benefit of taking multiple shots is that you can try capturing the scenery from different angles, light exposures, and focus points. This way, you’ll have plenty of options when you go through these images in the processing stage.

6. Adjust exposure

Although many smartphone users see the exposure feature on their cameras, very few understand its purpose and how to manipulate it for better pictures. Simply put, exposure refers to the amount of light that enters your camera’s sensor. The light the camera receives consequently affects your final image’s brightness, colors, and contrast. Therefore, by learning to gain control of this feature, you can ensure your subject remains in a well-lit area and all the details you want get preserved.

7. Use stable surfaces for night photography

For night photography, your smartphone camera requires a longer exposure time to have enough light to produce a good-quality image. However, the longer you hold the camera, the more likely it is to get unstable and accidentally shake with time. Even a tiny hand movement can result in a blurry or smudged picture. Therefore, placing your smartphone on a stable surface like a tripod or table is better to provide the camera enough steadiness to receive light and capture an excellent picture.

If you want to take a photo of the starry night or a bonfire, it’s always best to set your smartphone somewhere sturdy to achieve professional results.

8. Consider the flash

Smartphone flashes can be beneficial and unflattering when you use them for taking pictures. For instance, if you’re taking pictures in low-lighting conditions, a flash can be a helpful tool that illuminates your subject and produces clearer images. However, it may also make a much sharper contrast against the flash and make the picture look offensive and harsh. This is why many professional photographers recommend using the flash in well-lit spaces instead since it can soften the dark shadows behind your subject and give an excellent picture.

A helpful tip is to turn off the “auto” option on your camera flash and be the better judge to evaluate which situations require it.

Conclusion

Many users use third-party camera apps for better and more professional images. However, your default smartphone camera is typically the best source for taking a great photo since it offers many excellent features. And with these tips to guide you, you’ll know exactly how, when, and where to use them and take high-quality photos like a pro.

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