7 ways to take better photos with your smart phone

Lights, smart phone camera and action! Take your smart phone photography skills to the next level with these seven handy tips, laid out by Elsa Samuel, Digital Communications Officer at the Uniting Church Centre.

1. Get to know your camera
First things first: Get to know all the icons on your camera and know what your camera can do. Learn how to turn on gridlines, use the HDR function, switch on the flash, experiment with different settings and so on. Knowing your camera allows you to use the functions well, which helps produce a high quality photograph.

2. Learn about light
Lighting is your best friend as smart phones do not do well in poorly lit conditions. Whenever you can, capitalise on natural sunlight or another light source, trying out different angles. Napier Lopez, a tech writer based in New York City advises “if photographing people, make sure the light is hitting their face, not their backs – it can be as simple as asking someone to turn their body slightly to the side.”

3. To flash or not to flash?
Using existing light is almost always a better option. According to Brad Puet, a photographer from Seattle, natural sunlight or another light source is preferred as flash can cause colour issues like yellow skin and red eyes. Try taking a photo with and without the flash and compare.

4. Use a tripod
Smart phones these days come with internal image stabilisation that reduces blurriness caused by camera movement. However, even the steadiest hands are prone to camera shake. To fix this, use a mini tripod. The lightweight and compact Brateck Universal Flexible Mini Tripod Stand ($9.46) from Officeworks includes a smart phone mount which can hold phones up to 8.5 cm wide.

5. Avoid the zoom
Many phones, like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, include the zoom function. However, zoomed in photos affect image quality, leaving you with grainy photos you can’t crop or edit. Instead, move closer to your subject or take the photo without zooming first and then crop it.

6. Keep it simple
Leonardo da Vinci said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – a great tip for novice photographers. A single subject photo with lots of empty space or ‘negative space’ is easier to compose and shoot compared to one with lots of detail, according to Hubspot.com writer Lindsay Kolowich. Also, simple photos shared on social media will stand out more for people viewing through their tiny phone screen.

7. Apps to download
Photo editing apps allow you to turn good photos into great photos. To find the best apps in 2018, check out iphonephotographyschool.com/best-photo-editing-apps for iPhones and for Androids, visit fossbytes.com/best-android-photo-editor-apps.

Elsa Samuel

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