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Five tips for better smartphone photography

Almost everyone has a camera in their phone. But how do you get the best out of it?

By | 10/28/2012 | Updated 01/07/2013 - 18:05

Tips for better smartphone photography
Tips for better smartphone photography

We all know the stats - Apple's iPhone is one of the most popular cameras used on Flickr, that sales of compact cameras are falling and we're using smartphones more - but if the camera in our phones is becoming the picture-taking device of choice, how do you get the best out of it? Here are five handy tips.

1. Lean towards the light

Photography is all about light. Good light helps to create good photos. The smaller sized sensors found in smartphones can result in noisy, grainy images in low-light situations. Furthermore, because of smartphone cameras' fixed apertures but variable shutterspeeds, low light can lead to blurry pictures.
The answer, then, is to introduce plenty of light into your photos to find the perfect lighting, whether that's ambient light, a well-positioned torch, or to use the flash that some phones have.

2. Get in close

Get in as close as you can to your subject but, avoid using the digital zoom, as tempting as it might be. Image quality decreases rapidly as you zoom in. Go on, give it a try now and you'll be able to see what I mean.
Move your camera as close to the subject as you can and if that still isn't sufficient, crop the image after you've taken it.

3. Keep still

Camera shake means blurry images, and somehow holding smaller cameras steady is that bit harder than larger ones. To help avoid fuzzy photos with your smartphone, make sure that you hold it steady. If you can, rest your elbows on something, or lean against something sturdy. There's also a plethora of stabilisation devices out there, too, if you're serious about taking photos with your smartphone.

4. Pick an editing ap

Just as you would make adjustments to an image taken with a camera not in a smartphone using an editing suite, edit your smartphone images, too. As a start, you should think about the crop, the colour (including the white balance), and the contrast.
My favourite app for in-phone editing is Snapseed - it has an extensive range of features but is intuitive to use. Adobe's Photoshop Express is also effective, and I've heard good things about Apple iPhoto.

5. Clean your lens!

In between my hand, my ear, my bag, my pocket, and my desk, my phone is liable to pick up a lot of dust, grease, and fluff. That dust, grease, and fluff won't somehow magically avoid the lens and it will contribute to poor picture quality.
Every time that you go to use your cameraphone, give the lens a quick wipe first!

Daniela Bowker
Daniela is a writer and photographer. She started taking photos aged about five, and writing a... Know more about this author

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