How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures

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Plus, we get all those bonus benefits of plugging into an online community that just doesn't exist with a standalone blog. So for us, when it comes to photographing our travels, we take a two-pronged approach: We shoot with our DSLR as much as we can, saving the bulk of the editing and sharing for when we get home. But when we come across a scene we want to share immediately, we shoot it with our phone too. Lauren and Rob have a DSLR and point-and-shoot equipped with near field communication , so they can easily share shots from those cameras via Instagram as well. While flying at an altitude where large electronics had to be tucked away, I was able to grab this shot with my smartphone.

And for times when we can't pull our more expensive gear out — like when it's at risk of getting damaged or the situation prohibits proper cameras — we use our phones exclusively and are glad for it! Say you're interested in snapping some underwater shots on your next trip but can't bear to shell out for an underwater housing unit for your DSLR — a much more affordable waterproof case for your smartphone can make it possible!

I recently went cross-country skiing for the first time in ages. My skiing partner predicted correctly that we'd do a lot of falling, and so I left my DSLR at home and stuck to my phone's camera. We've recorded some great sights that would have otherwise gone unrecorded, if not for our trusty smartphones! It's a fun way to connect with other people who are into similar things as you, and to get more eyes on your work!

While you can share and hashtag images of the event that you took with your DSLR, the general trend with event-specific hashtags is to post phone shots. And in cases where you don't want to be lugging a heavy and more valuable camera around — say at a rowdy music festival — your phone camera may be perfect for the job. Both shots in this section were taken at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival using my smartphone camera. By shooting only with my phone over the course of the weekend festival, I sacrificed image quality especially on the night shot , but saved myself from lugging around and worrying about my DSLR.

And if you're hosting an event of your own and expect your attendees to be social media types, hook them up with a unique hashtag they can use when they share photos of the festivities! If you're a professional photographer or an avid hobbyist, chances are that you've taken some shots of your family and friends with your best camera. Chances are, too, that they may be some of your favourite images because they capture the people in your life that are most important to you. But unless you're one of those admirable, dedicated folks who always has that camera on them all the time, at the ready, you're likely not taking as many photos of people as you like.

Especially of those candid moments, where there wasn't a specific reason to tote your bulkier gear along — like a quick trip to the park or an impromptu soccer game. So make an effort with your smartphone instead. It is your phone after all, so you probably have it with you on all of those occasions anyway! The photos may not be technically as strong as they would be if you used your DSLR but — and here's the important part — they will be there.

Pull out your phone, snap the shot, and the memory is preserved. We humans are inquisitive creatures. We love getting a look into someone else's life — and that means not only seeing what you do and what you like, but also seeing who you are and who you share all of that with. So, if you're up for it, share the smartphone photos you capture of your friends, family and pets — and of yourself too!

We personally gravitate towards candid shots and save the more creative stuff for our DSLRs, but there are tons of great photographers creating impressive portraits of people and animals with their smartphones. Whole communities dedicated to sharing smartphone portraits have sprung up on social-sharing sites. You can easily find them by looking at photos submitted under the hashtag portraits, and seeing what other portrait-related hashtags people have added to their shots.

You'll be sure to walk away with tons of ideas on how you can use your smartphone to capture great images of people and animals. Sometimes, as a photographer, your goal is to go unseen by the world around you and capture a moment that's unspoiled by your presence. That's really the heart of street photography! But with a camera around your neck, it can be hard to blend in, especially nowadays when there are more photographers out there.

The average person on the street may be more attuned to the photographer's presence and more likely to change their behaviour as a result for example, by politely stepping out of your shot. With this shot, I could have got away with using my DSLR, but using my smartphone made me a little less conspicuous. Because most of us have them — and a lot of us have them out, all the time — people may not take much notice when you use it as a camera.

It doesn't guarantee invisibility, of course, but it can help to take some of the pressure off the folks around you, making you more able to capture that unspoiled scene. And because it's light and easy to wield, it may also allow you to take shots in situations where a larger camera just wouldn't work. When I took this photo, I was packed into a busy and moving!

With a larger camera, I might not have been able to compose the image. I might have also drawn too much attention to myself and inadvertently spoiled the moment! There are a few things to think about here. Just because you can take a shot with your phone doesn't mean you should. It's your job to think about how your photo can affect the person you're photographing, especially if you intend to share it. If you're planning to get into street photography, it's not a bad idea to know the laws with respect to photography and image sharing in the place where you live.

We say that not to deter you from taking photos — street photography can be incredibly important, not to mention that it's lots of fun — but just as a friendly heads up! Though some smartphone cameras offer impressive quality, they're still not on par with DSLRs, and even some pocket-sized point-and-shoots.

If you intend to print your work, you may want to weigh the invisibility benefits against the quality costs. You may find you're better off working with a proper camera in some cases. If you host a blog or another kind of website, smartphone photography and social sharing sites can help you engage an existing audience, and build a new audience, for your work! See, when you post an image to a social sharing site, so long as you have an open profile, pretty much anyone on that site can find it. And with the help of some thoughtful hashtagging, you can increase the chance that it gets in front of folks who will like what you're doing.

A smartphone photo of homemade popsicles, shared on Instagram to direct people to the food blog where the recipes were published. So whenever you publish a great new blog post, or add new images to your portfolio, consider sharing a relevant image on a social sharing site like Instagram to give folks a heads up. Make sure you provide them with a link to your work, too! The general rule of thumb here is to make sure your image meshes with the style of the social sharing site. For Instagram, that generally means sharing a photo snapped with your smartphone. If you can, then, make a habit of grabbing a few shots of your work on your phone, for sharing purposes.

There's a fine line between giving eager readers a heads up and spamming people, so keep a close eye on how people respond to your images. While we've talked so far about sharing photos in their own right, these days more and more people are using photography — and image-sharing sites — to share their non-photographic artwork.

This is especially true of sites like Instagram and Tumblr the latter of which isn't specifically geared towards photos. In our own Instagramming experience, we've come across drawings, paintings, paper art, collages built from flowers, famous paintings rendered in Playdough yep, really! A smartphone shot of a paper parrot — part of a series of paper animals I've been sharing on my Instagram account.

If you have non-photo art you want to share, consider posting shots of it alongside your photography, or create a totally new account dedicated to your craft! A shot of a finished watercolour painting, and a behind-the-scenes look at a similar project, both taken with my smartphone camera. While it's great to show your audience the finished product, people really enjoy getting a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes action too!

Consider zooming out every now and then, to compose a photo that captures your process or your mess! If you're looking for ways to make your photography stand out — whether you're shooting with your smartphone or a different camera — check out awesome eBook, The Creativity Field Guide. Learn a bit more about it in the box below, then head this way for the full details and to grab a copy for yourself!

Want to take your photography to new heights? Check out The Creativity Field Guide! This super-fun eBook is packed with over photography project ideas, plus tons of photos, illustrations and other fun stuff too — like field trips, quotes and even a scavenger hunt! Get ready to get inspired! Digital photos need to be edited to look their best — and that's true whether you're shooting on a DSLR or a smartphone! In this section, we give you a few tips on how to bring out the best in your smartphone shots, whether you're editing them on your phone or your computer.

If one of your goals with your smartphone photography is to share your work quickly, chances are you'll be looking to do your image editing straight on your phone using a photo-editing app. While these apps aren't as powerful as the professional-level editing programs you might have on your computer, they do allow you to make coarse adjustments to your images, quickly, often for no cost or just a few dollars.

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There are a lot of editing apps offering a huge range of functions, and the mix is always changing, so take a look at the photo editing apps in your phone's app store to see what's popular. It may take a few tries to track down an app you find intuitive to use and that contains the features you're after. Nowadays, apps offer tons of ways to manipulate your original smartphone image. Here's a quick rundown of some of the options available to you. To the best of our knowledge, no one app allows you to do ALL of these things.

But in reading the list, you should get a sense of what functions you want, which'll be a big help when you start exploring your app store and looking at what each editing app offers. And hey, if you're overwhelmed or aren't into editing on your phone, no worries! Share your shot as-is and let the world know that you've gone for nofilter. If you need a little more guidance on what app to use, here's a quick rundown of the major players in the editing app market but make sure to take a look at your app store to see what's available — you may find something that suits you better!

VSCO Cam This editing app for iOS- and Android-enabled phones is one of the most popular out there, thanks in part to its range of filters both free and paid. In addition to applying filters, with the VSCO Cam app you can adjust the basics — brightness, contrast, sharpness, warmth, tint one of the few we've found that does this! You can also change the tone of highlights and shadows, add grain or fade, and make a few other stylistic adjustments. It's very much geared towards creating a particular aesthetic that washed out look that's popular at the moment and so only lets you, say, take the highlights down no up option and take the shadows up no down option.

Clockwise from top left, the filters are: The filters come from the following series some series may no longer be available: PicTapGo This popular app lets you combine multiple filters to create custom looks, and remembers what filters you like for faster editing! Instagram Most folks may think of Instagram simply as a sharing app, but it also allows you to edit your shots.

You can make both upwards and downwards adjustments to brightness, contrast, sharpness, shadows, highlights and warmth no color temperature and more. You can also add filters and blur part of your shot using their radial and linear blur using their tilt-shift function. No Crop If you're posting shots to Instagram, you'll learn very quickly that the app crops your images to a square aspect ratio.

But say you don't want to crop your shot. No Crop lets you not only maintain the shape of your shot, but also allows you to perform basic edits, apply filters, create collages, apply text — a lot of the extras you won't find in a straight editing app. This one's Android only, but there are plenty of similar apps out there for other operating systems! The same image with two different crops. Yellow borders have been added to show the edges of the image. On the left, the image has been cropped to the 1x1 aspect ratio that Instagram automatically applies.

If you want to use a more powerful editing program than what you'll find in a phone app, not to worry! Simply upload the photos to your computer and edit them with your editing program of choice. If you're new to editing your images on a computer and are looking to get into it seriously, we recommend checking out Adobe Lightroom — a powerful and intuitive professional editing program. If you're not sure you want to commit, you can download a free day trial here. Lightroom can help you make more complex and subtle edits than a camera editing app.

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We used Lightroom to straighten the horizontal and vertical lines, and made the colours pop by increasing contrast, whites and saturation. If you want to get more creative with your shots — for example by combining multiple images into one, removing or adding major features, or adding text — check out Adobe Photoshop CC or the pared down version, Adobe Photoshop Elements.

You can download a free day trial of either program here. Want to bring out the best in your photos? Check out our Lightroom editing tutorials! Click the links above to learn more! One of the big draws of smartphone photography is that it allows you to create and share your work — with folks from all of the world, if you want — in just a matter of seconds! You see, when you have a phone that connects to the internet, you can upload your shots to all kinds of places — photographic communities, social networking sites, messaging services, emails, and on and on.

It's easier than pie, takes just a little effort to get started, and the potential benefits can be huge! In this section, we'll go over the basics of sharing your work online, talk about some of the pros and cons, and tell you a bit about the vibrant smartphone photography communities out there today. In order to share a photo on one of the major sharing platforms via your phone, you'll need an internet connection. Either Wi-Fi or your phone's data plan if you have one will do the trick!

If you're not online, you can't share. Anytime you do something on your phone that requires internet access — like share or download a photo, check your email, or run a backup to a cloud server — you use something called data. Typically, smartphone users will purchase a certain amount of data from their phone provider, which specifies how much data they can use per billing cycle before they're charged an overage fee. You'll want to keep an eye on how much data you use, to make sure all your image sharing isn't costing you a fortune! Make sure you find out too whether sending photos by text message costs extra.

You are responsible for any charges you incur! Once your phone is internet-connected, you'll need to choose which photo-sharing services you want to use. There's a lot of choice — we'll give you a quick rundown of some of the more popular options. The Basics Instagram is by far the most popular sharing service geared mainly towards smartphone photography.

As of December , over million users were signed up for the service, including everyday folks, artists, athletes, famous photographers from tons of disciplines fashion, nature, documentary , talent scouts, brands and more. The Pros One of the things we like most about Instagram is its focus on community: There's a real push towards genuine interaction, even when you're connecting with folks with much larger followings than yours though don't expect to get a response from people whose posts gets tons of comments — there are only so many hours in a day!

And though there will be exceptions, most folks emphasize positivity and encouragement. Instagram also offers potential for growth: There are tons of stories of people developing huge followings on Instagram and having amazing opportunities come their way and probably even more stories of people finding new clients, developing friendships, an d so on. Photos on my Instagram feed, and a single photo enlarged with comments and likes visible.

If, like roughly half of Instagram users, you're using an Android device, your photos will be seriously compressed and the quality seriously degraded iOS users don't seem to have the same problem. The jury is out on whether the issue is mainly caused by Instagram or Android, but either way, the result is the same. A shot of a log, straight out of my smartphone camera. The same shot, with minimal editing, after posting to Instagram.

Notice how much less sharp it is compared to the original image. Some folks aren't happy with Instagram's Terms of Use , which gives the company license to use your work your use of the service serves as your permission. How it Works Getting started with Instagram is easy: Simply download the app and create an account.

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You can choose to have a public account, which anyone can see and follow, or a private account, which only people you've approved can see. Once you have an account, you can start sharing your photos — either by feeding them into the app via your camera app or editing app, or by taking a photo directly through the Instagram app itself. Apply any additional edits you want, add a caption or location information to your shot which'll allow people to see that location on a map , and hit 'share'.

Note that the app isn't a storage service — it doesn't hold a library of your unshared shots. The trend is towards posting smartphone photos, but expect to see a good number of videos, shots taken with other types of cameras, and non-photographic material like paintings or digital creations too. The culture of Instagram is fairly relaxed, though some folks do play by certain rules: Tag photos you haven't that day with the hashtag latergram or share those photos on a Thursday deemed "Throwback Thursday" - hashtag tbt. And it goes without saying: Get permission before you repost someone else's work.

Flickr is a photo-sharing site that's been around since While historically it's been more geared towards sharing photography in general, and not smartphone photography, the platform is becoming more user-friendly for smartphone users, especially with the most recent update of the Flickr smartphone app. And like Instagram, you can use hashtags to get your work in front of other users.

We haven't shared our smartphone images on our Flickr accounts yet , but we can see the advantages of giving it a try: The terms of use are more generous than Instagram's, the community is serious about photography, and the platform makes it easier to license use of your images. A free membership gets you a terabyte of storage space and you can purchase more if you so please! That's a huge draw! Another bonus of Flickr: The site has been around for over a decade now, so there's a reasonable chance that it and your carefully cultivated gallery won't just disappear on you overnight.

Sites like Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook aren't specifically geared towards sharing smartphone photography, but they can be an attractive option, especially if you want to streamline your social media use and share photos, news, and thoughts all from one place. A few words on each: Tumblr Tumblr is a free micro-blogging platform that allows you to create short-form blog posts with images photos or otherwise , videos, gifs and written content. If you're wanting to share a lot of writing alongside your photos, you may appreciate the Tumblr format, as it isn't so rigidly focused on promoting images over words.

There are over million blogs registered on the site, so the community is expansive and probably more varied than what you'll find on a photo-specific site. Hashtag your posts effectively, and they can be seen by a huge number of users! Twitter Twitter is a free social networking site that allows you to share writing and captions of no more than characters. At the moment, it's geared much more towards written content — like news, jokes, life updates — than images, but the capacity is there and it seems to us like the company is trying to emphasize that, so better image-sharing features may be on their way!

If you're looking mostly to share written insights and updates, with the occasional image thrown in, Twitter might be a good place to start. As with the other sites we've talked about so far, hashtags can be used effectively to get your tweets seen by some of its million active users. The site is a sort of social media catch-all, allowing you to send public and private messages, post articles and videos, and share photos — either one-offs or whole albums with dozens of images.

You can also make phone and video calls, send instant messages, and do a suite of other things. The things you post publicly to your Facebook page will show up in your friends' news feed — alongside posts from all of their other friends, plus advertisers. As a result, your work can quickly become buried and go unseen by people who would otherwise be interested in it — a major downside. However, chances are that while some of your friends and family may be on the other sharing platforms, almost all of them probably have a Facebook account.

So if you want to have even a chance of sharing images with the people closest to you, you may need to be on Facebook though an emailed link to a Flickr gallery would do the trick too. If you want to share your images with strangers, but keep your personal page private, consider making a separate page dedicated to your photography.

Keep in mind though: Hashtagging isn't widly used or very effective on Facebook, so chances are your page won't be seen by as many people as an Instagram or Flickr page would, despite Facebook's larger user base. Though these policies tend to be long and written in legal jargon, we absolutely recommend looking through them carefully before you start sharing your work through that service. In some cases, these terms outline that in sharing your work through the service, the service provider gains the right to use your work without seeking further permission you implicitly provide permission when you sign up.

Once you're set up with a sharing service or two, or three and you have a photo you want folks to see, it's time to actually share your shot! This can be as simple as taking your photo, applying any edits you want, and posting it through your sharing service. But chances are that your service will give you a few more options. Most, if not all, sharing services these days give you the option of presenting writing alongside your images.

So before you post your shot, think about whether there's anything you want to tell people about the image — like who it's of or why the scene captured your attention. The caption for the shot above was simply, "Shall we? If your goal in sharing your work is to build a strong audience, think about how you can use words to get them to connect more with your images and possibly with you as an individual and an artist.

Most sharing services these days allow you to add hashtags to your images — words or phrases preceded by the number sign example — typically in the same space where you'd add a caption or description of the image. When anyone searches that particular hashtag, your image will show up along with anyone else's image tagged with that hashtag. Hashtagging is a great way to get your eyes in front of a particular audience. For example, lots of brands and organizations these days have not only a social media presence, but a hashtag of their own for fans to use.

If you think your image is relevant to them, you may want to apply their hashtag to it to increase the chance that they see it. It doesn't happen often, but they may just get in touch with you to see if they can repost it or license it! Some sharing services allow you to attach location information to your images, so folks can see on a map where you took your shot and so that, down the road, you can remember where you went! It can be a fun feature to use, especially when you're travelling, but some folks aren't comfortable divulging that much information.

It's totally your call! Including location information allows people to see on a map where you were when you took your shot! Once you've considered all of those extras, it's time to get your image out there! When you post, and how often, is totally up to you, but you'll quickly get a feel for what works best — for yourself and your audience — as you spend some time on the sharing service.

Many sharing services these days encourage users to interact with each other. Depending on the service, you may be able to: This means that not only are you able to follow along with other folks' images and tell them what you think — but they can do the same for you! Social sharing services are a great place to make connections! If you want to receive feedback, the etiquette on these services is that you should be providing it as well, and responding to comments too.

Folks aren't as open to engaging with people who don't engage back. That doesn't mean you have to reciprocate every single time you get feedback — by following someone who follows you, or liking someone's work who likes yours. But don't ignore your friends and fans either! Now that I've walked you through the nuts and bolts of sharing your work, let's take a second to reflect on why you'd want or not want to put your smartphone photos online for the world to see.

Here are a few of the pros and cons. There are definitely more pros and cons to sharing your work, but those are some of the biggest ones we weighed up when deciding whether or not to share our smartphone photos and other photos online. We all decided that sharing was the right decision for us.

Whether you go the same route or not is your call! Imagine the photos that'll be on your phone six months from now: Birthday parties and family holidays, a great adventure or two, awesome shots of the scenery around your town, the little pleasures of everyday life. Now imagine you drop your phone and it won't start up again no matter what you try.

Or you spill your drink on it and it dies. Or you lose it. Or it gets stolen. There are a ton of ways you can lose the data on your phone. You need to make sure you don't lose it — and all your photos — for good. You need a backup system. These days, most smartphones will automatically back your data including your photos up to a cloud server Some phones will allow you to automatically back up your photos to a cloud server!

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Make sure to check your phone to see if it has this capability and how it can be customized. For example, some phones allow you to specify what you want to back up, and whether you only want to run backups when you're connected to Wi-Fi this'll save you from eating up a ton of your phone data. In addition to helping keep your photos safe, enabling your phone's auto-backup system can make life a whole lot easier should you ever need to wipe your phone entirely, as it may allow you to restore some of your apps and settings with the touch of just a few buttons.

When it comes to backups, there's no guarantee that any one system you use is going to work. The photos that are stored on your phone may be wiped out. You may think you're backing up to a cloud server, but it may turn out that you accidentally disabled that function ages ago. So what do you do?

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When it comes to backing up photos, you need to store your files in at least three distinct places, to minimize the chance that you totally lose your data. For phone users, this means that in addition to keeping your photos on your phone and on a cloud server, you need to put them on a computer and, preferably, on a hard drive or two as well. That means getting in the habit of regularly transferring your images and any other essential data to your computer and an external hard drive.

As a plus, if you run regular backups of your images to your computer and hard drives, you'll be able to delete old shots from your phone and free up precious space for new images! Learn how to keep your photos safe from theft, human error, disaster and dragons — the easy way! We'll teach you to create the perfect backup plan for your needs, whether you're shooting only with your smartphone or creating tons of content with your trusty DSLR too. Start keeping your photos safe, now!

One of our favourite things about taking shots with our phone is getting those images off of our phone and into our hands. There's nothing like a tangible print that you can hold in your hands! With smartphone photography growing in popularity, there are now plenty of great options for printing your work. Here are a few that have caught our eye recently. It's a bit of a novelty, but we had tons of fun with it when we tried it out, and can see it being great for portrait photographers and anyone with young kids.

Read our full review here to see if it's something you might want to add to your kit. Blurb Instagram Photo Book Blurb is one of the biggest names in self-publishing and album printing. Now, they offer Instagram-specific photo books that allow you to make a book that draws images directly from your Instagram feed. Like Blurb, they offer an Instagram-specific photo book option that allows you to populate your book with images taken directly from your feed.

We go this route to preserve photo quality, pulling our phone shots into Adobe Lightroom for a quick edit and exporting them as full-sized files before printing. To keep the quality of the print high, we keep the size of the print small — with our 8 megapixel smartphone camera, prints of 4x6 or smaller looked the best. A 6x8 Artifact Uprising book, made with smartphone photos. I wanted to ensure the image quality in the book was as high as possible, so instead of filling the book with images imported directly from Instagram, I used full-sized files that I had edited in Lightroom.

Small though it may seem, taking photos with your smartphone can be a hugely rewarding experience. It can help you improve your fundamental skills, get you inspired, help you build friendships and work relationships, and create for you a visual record of the moments in your life, big and small. We hope you've found this guide helpful, and that you feel equipped with everything you need to know to take, edit, share, save and print awesome shots right from your phone. We can't wait to see where your smartphone will take your photography.

It's going to be great! I'm an occasional ninja here at Photography Concentrate and a photographer at www. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon. Additionally, we participate in other affiliate programs and sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.

This method works even if you don't have expensive gear and don't want to chase clients! Professional photographer specializing in industrial photography and an award winning art photographer. We like to keep it a small group so we can engage together. Our webinars are always filled to the last seat. ONLY reserved seats will gain access to the room! Click on the red button above to reserve Your Seat Now! Photography Concentrate Learn Photography Faster! Blog Learn About Free Resources!

Introduction to Smartphone Photography by Stephanie Simpson. Photograph More Unless you're one of those admirable people who carries their favourite camera with them at all times, at the ready, chances are that you often watch great photographic opportunities pass by you. Build fundamental skills Smartphone cameras are nowhere near as powerful as DSLRs, and even some point-and-shoots. My Experience with Smartphone Photography. A few things to consider from a photography perspective.

DxOMark This site will give you an in-depth review of the camera on almost every major smartphone out there. Camera quality iPhones are generally considered to have the best cameras, and Apple is always pushing to improve the camera between models. What We Prioritize We personally look for a smartphone that has a great camera and suits our other phone needs, prioritizing an easy-to-use operating system, great aesthetics, a good price and a fair warranty.

Accessories For Mobile Photography When it comes to accessories, all you really need to get started with smartphone photography is a smartphone with a camera app and a charger. The essentials - case and screen protector. Camera apps - basic features to look for. Add gridlines to your frame: This makes it easier to get your subjects centred, your horizons level, etc. Enable or disable flash Set a timer Adjust your exposure level easily Lock your focal point and exposure level: Once you've locked focus or exposure, you should be able to recompose your shot without the focal point or exposure level changing Shoot video.

Know Your Camera First things first: Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work. Space Look at the two photos below. COLOR Some Instagrammers take their consideration of color a step further by paying attention to how the colors mesh across different photos in their gallery. Quick tips for better smartphone compositions. When a line that should be straight — like the horizon — looks askew in a photo, it can be distracting. So unless you purposefully want a line to be askew, take extra care to get your lines straight.

Enabling the gridlines on your camera makes this a lot easier! Get your subject out of the center: Placing your subject in the center of your frame can get a little boring after a while. Give the rule of thirds a try: Imagine your frame is divided into a 3x3 grid, and place your subject along one of the resulting gridlines or where two gridlines intersect. Leave a little room at the edges: When your subject is pressed up right against the edge of your frame, it can be a little uncomfortable to look at. Give it some breathing room by leaving some space between it and the edge of the frame.

And of course, break with this idea entirely if it doesn't suit your intended effect! Before you snap your shot, do a quick check of all four corners of your frame. Is there anything there that'll distract from your subject like a pop of color or a line? If so, consider recomposing to eliminate distractions. Use the Limitations for Stylistic Effect shutter speed Sometimes, your phone is going to reduce your shutter speed to let more light in. AUTOfocus While we've found the autofocus on our phones to be pretty good, it's not perfect — sometimes, it misses the focus altogether.

Dynamic range If you're used to shooting with a DSLR or other advanced camera, you'll quickly learn that your phone can't capture the same dynamic range — the range of tones between the lightest and darkest point in your scene. A Few Ideas Even with the technical limitations of a smartphone camera, there's still a huge amount of choice when it comes to deciding what to photograph.

Daily Life One of the big trends with photo-sharing services — especially Instagram — is to use the service as a visual diary or journal. Street photography Sometimes, as a photographer, your goal is to go unseen by the world around you and capture a moment that's unspoiled by your presence.

Street photography is photography that features the human condition within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment. Link-throughs If you host a blog or another kind of website, smartphone photography and social sharing sites can help you engage an existing audience, and build a new audience, for your work! Art Projects While we've talked so far about sharing photos in their own right, these days more and more people are using photography — and image-sharing sites — to share their non-photographic artwork.

Out of the Box Ideas If you're looking for ways to make your photography stand out — whether you're shooting with your smartphone or a different camera — check out awesome eBook, The Creativity Field Guide. To be a good photographer, it takes more than just a good camera. We've just added a couple of new tips for taking better sunset and party photos, plus an expert guide to bokeh effects. Before you get started with your smartphone camera, take a look at the settings. Frequently, the factory settings are not optimal. Sometimes a lower resolution is set. Often, this provides for a better digital zoom — but you should also follow our advice below.

It is also advisable to adjust the aspect ratio so that you get the largest possible picture. The screenshot below shows the With other smartphones, it can be the exact opposite: Afterwards, you can select the best image detail. Since high-definition pictures consume more memory space than those with low resolution, you should always have a microSD card — of course, this is only if your smartphone has the corresponding card slot.

If this is not the case, save your old photos and empty the memory before taking more pictures. Make sure the camera lens is free of dirt and fingerprints.

Introduction to Smartphone Photography

Facial tissues are also good if necessary, but they sometimes leave behind fine and annoying dust. In photography, three values are relevant to the photo: Together, they determine how brightly the photo is exposed, how sharply the background is focused, and whether an object in motion is blurred in the image.

For smartphone photos, you usually cannot adjust the aperture, because it is fixed. Therefore, it is important for smartphone photographers to find the right settings for the ISO value and exposure time. In automatic mode, the camera determines these independently, but the manual mode often provides better and more precise results. Long exposure times are an option for improving the illumination of your photo, especially in poor lighting conditions.

However, this causes moving objects to create streaks. This effect can be used artfully for rivers or in night views of a city. Short exposure times, on the other hand, actually freeze a moment in time. The second value you should understand is the ISO value. This indicates the light sensitivity of the sensor. The higher the value, the more sensitive. With a higher ISO value, you can, for example, shorten the exposure time and thus provide sharper pictures.

In dark environments, you often need a high ISO value and a long exposure time. So why not always shoot with a high ISO value? The reason is simple: Each smartphone behaves a bit differently: Therefore, you should learn how your smartphone camera handles this, and find out which ISO value leads to exact, acceptable results. For most situations, values up to a maximum of are ideal.

For a successful image, a lot depends on the right focus. The autofocus is usually helpful, but it is not flawless. After all, it often does not know what we really want to have in focus. A touch of the finger is enough to avoid this problem, because the touch focus is the solution. Touch the screen where you want the camera to focus. In the manual mode of the camera app, you can even focus the camera completely manually. If the only photo of your romantic kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris is out of focus, you will probably regret it later.

Just snap each subject several times and pay attention to the autofocus. And do this enough times until you think: Nowadays, top-of-the-line smartphones offer a serial image function, which allows the camera to take several photos in a series with just one press of the button. Fast snapshots often come to life in the midst of the deficiencies and dynamics of the moment, so they may be a bit shaky.

But if it is to be completely clear, casual one-handed photography is simply not enough. Keep your smartphone steady and stable with both hands. A tripod with a smartphone holder is ideal for the perfect stand, but it is also often enough to support the smartphone on a railing and to stabilize it that way. If this is not possible, then you should try to support your arms, or completely extend them. The less you move the smartphone, the sharper the captured photo will be.

The rule of thirds is a simplified implementation of the golden ratio. The image is subdivided by means of two horizontal and two vertical guide lines, so that these create nine uniform boxes. The subject should then be placed on one of the four intersection points of the grid, or also along a line, so that it is properly set in the scene. In landscape shots, it is useful to align the horizon on one of the two lines.

There are additional settings for the help lines. Some apps can display the help lines also in the golden ratio, which can result in minor differences in the image design. This tip is linked to the last one, and here you can also use the embedded grid in the viewfinder. Crooked lines bring unrest into a photo, unless it is intended. The horizon is the dominant line when looking into the distance, so ensure that the horizon is not crooked. Using the rule of space correctly, it creates a sense of movement, activity, or completion in the composition. With a portrait, the gaze of the subject can wander into the distance, and it is often ideal to leave space in the direction of the eyes, and to not cut off immediately at the face.

For example, the gaze can also express the fact that the person portrayed is just concentrating — which often brings more life into the photo. If you photograph a moving car, you should also leave room in the place where the car is driving to, instead of just showing the asphalt the car is on. This rule, like the rule of thirds, can and should be broken when a photo demands it and promises to become something special. Photos depict the three-dimensional space around us.

If your subject is quite far away, however, it can be useful to enhance this with several image layers. A person, a tree or another object in the foreground breathes life into an otherwise stark panorama, because its presence lends the overall picture more depth. If you want to take selfies or portrait photos of other people, you should keep the smartphone slightly higher when you take the pictures, so that the subject looks a bit upwards when you take the photo.

This avoids the annoying double-chin effect and unwanted contours. Of course, there are other positions where your best side comes to the fore. If you look up, you stretch your neck and face and everything comes out a bit smoother and firmer without image processing and beauty mode. However, if you are planning a photo, you should consider when you take it, because morning and evening hours often offer much more interesting light conditions than noon-time.

A photo does not always have to be straight on; we already have that perspective all day long. Try a different angle, put yourself on a hill and photograph downward, or go down on your knees for a shot. This often creates more interesting pictures — except for the hated double-chin. So be careful with shots from below. Above all, very large subjects, such as a mountain chain or a sunset at sea, sometimes need more space than is available on a single photo. Pretty much every current smartphone has a corresponding mode that takes care of snapping and collecting multiple images and cleanly joining them together for you.

If your smartphone is a bit older, an application from Google Play with the proper function can also be helpful. Panorama pictures are also suitable for a cover image on Facebook, even if the whole picture cannot fit in the frame; the most attractive part of your profile can be emphasized even more. Light can be your friend and your enemy, depending on your environment and what you want to capture. Frontal exposure to the sun is often a real problem, unless you intentionally overexpose the image and play with the contrast in post-processing.

If possible, stand with your back to the light and avoid strong shadows from the front. If the frontal light source is sometimes unavoidable, add the flash, which sometimes helps. If a strong exposure is not absolutely essential for the image, one should refrain from using the flash, because it seldom produces really beautiful images. Not only does the quality of the colors suffer, the uniform illumination often completely destroys the image.

The foreground shines bright white, while the background completely disappears. In the end, a photo with natural light and more picture noise is often more pleasant and handsome than one hit by lightning. The LED flash of the smartphone camera is to provide your snapshots with the appropriate exposure if the appropriate light is missing. But the result with smartphones is usually very disappointing and the subject seems unnaturally overexposed. The background also suffers from the bright light of the flash, which brings the subject to the foreground, but casts shadows on the remaining details.

A photo flash often leads to hard shadows, which robs the image of its naturalness. As a countermeasure, you can use a semi-translucent white tape that sticks over the flash of your smartphone. That gives you a homemade diffuser that slightly reduces the hardness of the lightning and provides for smooth light and shadow transitions. This makes the photo more natural and beautiful.

Especially at parties with a little subdued lighting, the homemade diffuser can work wonders. The digital zoom on the smartphone may save you a few steps, but it ruins the picture. This is still a big deficit of smartphone cameras compared against counterparts with optical zoom, as well as compact and SLR cameras. Since the zoom lens is missing, the image section is just digitally enlarged, which drastically reduces the detail resolution.

So do yourself a favor and get a few steps closer. The HDR mode is increasingly used in smartphones to compensate for strong light discrepancies in the picture. Direct light can affect the image greatly, so bright sunshine does not always ensure radiant images. Now we leave the field of photography. Before you do this, however, you can still improve the photos — be it to correct the colors, to choose the right cut, or to add more drama with filters.

For this, you should install the appropriate image editing app:. Sunsets look great in person, but often when you try to capture the moment with a smartphone, the results are underwhelming. Smartphones have small image sensors with a low dynamic range, which means they can't capture both the light and dark areas of the image well at the same time. This problem can be defeated if your camera has an HDR mode. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and it takes several shots with different exposures at once, combining them all together for an extended dynamic range.

This results in the desired effect of accurate lighting, color and more details. The sunset will look as it's supposed to, rather than simultaneously under and overexposed. At parties, the environment is often quite dark and the subjects of your photo will likely be moving around a lot.

How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures
How to Make Good Photos: the Film and Digital Guide to Better Pictures

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