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Can you take really good Smartphone Photography? If you had asked us two years ago, our answer would have been: “Not at all!” Today we say: “Of course!” Of course, beautiful smartphone photos don’t take you by yourself. That would be too easy, wouldn’t it? That’s why we’ll tell you our best tips for great smartphone photos here.
Since 1973 the first mobile phone was manufactured and in 2000 the first mobile phone with built-in camera came on the market, a lot has happened.
Read Also: 10 tips for photography beginners
For two to three years, smartphone cameras have actually been a good addition to normal cameras. Who would have thought that?
By the way, the first mobile phone camera had an unimaginably low resolution of 352 x 288 pixels. Crazy, right? That is very different today.
Many smartphones today can easily keep up with the image quality of average compact cameras, and it’s not for nothing that a clever man once said, “The best camera is just the one you have with you.” He is kind of right.
Basic tips for smartphone photography
We have divided our smartphone photography tips into different areas and start with basic tips in this section. Some may sound trivial, but they are often done wrong.
1 Keep the cell phone camera lens clean
This tip sounds so simple at first that you don’t really have to talk about it. But it is indeed a wider problem. The lens on your smartphone camera is not protected with a lens lid, but is exposed to the environment all day: moisture, creamed greasy hands, dust and lint in your pocket. All this regularly adds to your lens. Read Also: Camera Purchase Advice: Which camera suits you?
It’s best not to just use your T-shirt or any piece of fabric you have at hand, but rather a soft eyewear cleaning cloth.
Otherwise we can recommend this cloth, with which we also clean the lenses of our normal cameras:
And don’t forget when cleaning that your phone has a camera on the front and back.
2 always use two hands
Often mobile phone photos are taken with one hand. A big mistake. Treat your smartphone camera like a “real” camera. Hold them with both hands and focus on taking pictures. After all, anyone can snap, but this usually does not bring the desired results.
Therefore, clean your camera lens regularly.
3 Know the possibilities of your smartphone
Modern smartphones offer numerous settings that you can use to consciously design your photos.
At the end of the day, it’s just like a real camera with a smartphone: if you only shoot in automatic mode, you’ll never realize the full potential of the camera.
So get acquainted with the features of your smartphone! After all, photographing is really fun and also brings the desired results.
4 Know the Limits of Smartphone Photography
You should not only know the possibilities of your smartphone, but also its limits. At the end of the day, this is about something very fundamental, and that is whether mobile phone photography can completely replace classical photography.
Our answer is: No, definitely not. The ‘no’ vote in this case is not meant negatively at all. On the contrary, we do not want to compare smartphone photography with classical photography. We see cell phone photography as an add-on, as an additional opportunity for photography enthusiasts to live out their creative life and as a very good way to take great pictures when you don’t have your normal camera with you.
But there are simply situations where cell phone cameras reach their limits. If the light gets worse or you want to zoom to a subject, you will have your problems with every smartphone camera, no time.
You should always be aware of this. So if you’re going on a safari or want to photograph the starry sky, then the smartphone may not necessarily be the best solution and you should use a proper camera in these cases.
5 Make sure you have enough storage space
High-quality smartphones offer the possibility to take photos in RAW format (more on this in the next section).
The high resolution of mobile phone photos also has a disadvantage: The photos need quite a lot of storage space. You should be aware of this and make sure there is enough storage space.
Many smartphones have a free card slot where you can insert a micro SD memory card. If you take a lot of photography, you should definitely buy a memory card and set it in your phone so that the pictures are stored on it as well. We both have a 32 GB card in addition in our smartphones, which you can buy .B here:
Tips for image design for smartphone photos
It is always said that it is not the camera that takes the picture, but the photographer. There’s something about it, which is why we want to give you our tips on how to create your smartphone photos in this section.
6 photographing, not snapping
Often mobile phone photos are taken only casually. It’s also very simple: take your smartphone out of your pocket, press it off, the photo is ready.
If you want to take seriously good photos with your phone, you should give yourself a little more effort: don’t just snap like wild, but think about every picture.
Think about what your photo should look like at the end. What is the best way to stage the subject? Is there perhaps another perspective that would be better? It’s very important that you think about it. By consciously thinking, you can achieve much better results. Try it out!
7 Note the third rule
The third rule or the golden cut are part of the basic knowledge of image design. In doing so, you mentally divide your image into nine rectangles of the same size.
On some smartphones, you can even view this grid and use it when taking pictures.
When you apply the third rule, you place the most important elements of your photo on those lines and at the intersections of the lines. Your pictures often look much better than if you simply place your main motif in the middle. Try it out!
This rule is of course not an all-purpose remedy for good photos. But it helps you to think more deeply about your subject and to direct the viewer’s gaze to the most important elements in the picture. However, as we all know, rules are also there to be broken. You should not stick to this rule with every picture now, but apply it in situations where it seems reasonable to you.
8 Straighten the Horizon
This is a point that is really close to our hearts.
Because it’s done wrong so many times, it’s really a mistake because you can avoid it so easily.
Please always, really always, make sure that the horizon is straight.
If you’re photographing someone on the beach, the sea should be straight and not spill out in one direction.
So focus not only on your main motif, but also on the background in the picture. Images with a skewed horizon don’t work!
9 Use the light
Since it is even more difficult to take good photos with the mobile phone in poor light conditions, light in smartphone photography is a very important topic.
You have the best light for photos in the time of sunrise and in the time of sunset. Since the light is gentler at this time than during the day, you have a good chance of great lighting moods in your photos.
If you are in a sunny place, you should avoid lunchtime for photos or at least take pictures very consciously. Often you have to contend with strong contrasts, shadows or bright light.
10 Why not take a picture of black and white?
Black-and-white photography is a lot of fun, because you get to know motifs from a different point of view. In addition, you also develop an eye for which motif looks more interesting in black and white than in color.
Try it out and consciously take only black and white photos. You’ll see, it’s a lot of fun and it’s great results.
11 landscape vs. portrait
Also, think about the purpose for which you take the photos. Do you want to show the photos to your friends and relatives later on your laptop, monitor or TV? Do you want to publish the photos to a web page? Or do you just want to look at the photos on your phone?
Depending on the purpose for which the photos are intended, you should also photograph them in the appropriate format. On a normal screen, landscape photos always look better.
Technology tips for your smartphone camera
We mentioned it earlier: It is essential that you know the camera technology of your smartphone in order to get the best out of it. In this section you will find our tips on technology.
12 the image quality of your images is correct
If you want to take better phone photos, the first thing you should do is check your phone camera’s settings. Make sure that the best possible image quality is set. With the highest possible image quality you also have larger image files, but the quality of the images gets better and you have more possibilities in the later image editing.
As already mentioned, high-quality smartphones even offer the possibility to take pictures in RAW. You can use these raw files to then edit your photos in an image editing program like Lightroom and get the most out of them.
If you want to take more than just snapshots with your smartphone camera, this is a very important option for you.
13 Find out what your phone has to do
You should not only control the image quality setting in your smartphone, but also all other settings.
Many smartphones have cool settings, such as different modes for night photography, landscape, portraits, etc. Try all the settings at least once!
On some devices, you can even manually adjust the aperture, ISO and shutter speed, just like a normal camera. So it also helps in smartphone photography to know the technical basics of photography, but we have already mentioned this.
14 Don’t flash
No matter what you do, please put out the flash! Yes, mobile phone cameras have a built-in flash and just like normal cameras, please don’t use them.
We can only think of one reason to use it, if you have to photograph something for your documents in the dark.
The flash either blinds the person in front of the camera or only illuminates the dust particles in the air. Both are rather nonsensical.
15 Do not zoom
The zoom on your phone camera is called “Get your legs closer to your subject”. Mobile phone cameras do not have an optical zoom, but a digital zoom, i.e. as soon as you zoom into an image, you lose image quality. So let it go.
Accessories for better mobile phone photos
Photographing with your mobile phone is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? So we’d like to list smartphone accessories here, with which you can give your smartphone photography the extra I icing for even more fun.
16 Use lenses for your mobile phone camera
You can’t change a lens on your phone, but you can plug lenses into your phone camera! The most popular plug-in lens in smartphone photography is probably the fisheye lens.
Maybe you’ve heard about it before? If not, here’s a quick explanation: A fisheye is a lens with a very large angle of view, so you can map almost 180 degrees of your environment in your photo.
But there are also other cool plug-in lenses, such as.B. a pole filter lens (reduces reflections in the water, window panes, etc. and makes the colors stronger), a macro lens or a super wide angle.
Most of the time there are the plug-in lenses in the set, so you can just try them all out. You definitely have fun with it and creative photos are still on top of it. Here you will find .B a 4 in 1 lens set for just under 13 euros, which fits on almost all types of mobile phones:
17 always have a power bank with you
It’s an absolute fun killer when your phone battery gives up in front of you. We always have an external charger with us when we go on a photo tour. If you don’t have one yet, we can highly recommend them here:
18 Use a mobile phone tripod
When we’re on the phone, we always have a cell phone tripod with us. This allows you to take .B great self-portraits of yourself in front of a breathtaking landscape or take pictures in low light conditions or at night without having to go home with fuzzy photos.
If you don’t have a mobile phone tripod yet, we can recommend this one here:
19 try yourself with a selfie stick
We ourselves are not big fans of selfie sticks. Perhaps also because it has often taken over in Asian countries. But we have to admit that a selfie stick often makes real sense. Especially if you want to take a great selfie in front of a great landscape. Most of the time, you only see heads and the landscape in the background doesn’t come to the fore.
You get a good selfie stick for just under 10 euros. So you could just try it. We don’t tell anyone. Promised.
20 Make it easier for you with a remote trigger
Remote triggers are available not only for “real” cameras, but also for smartphones. This allows you to place the phone on a tripod, remove yourself up to 10 meters from the mobile phone and simply trigger the photos on the mobile phone via a wireless remote trigger. This has the advantage that you have more time to position yourself than with the built-in self-timer of max. 10 seconds.
This remote trigger works with most mobile phones and does not cost the world at about 7 euros:
21 With an underwater case you can also take underwater photos
An underwater case for cell phone photos is a great alternative for those who don’t have an underwater camera. Sometimes it’s not even necessarily underwater photos, for which you need a waterproof case for your mobile phone, but simply situations in which the phone can easily fall into the water.
We were terribly annoyed in Mauritius that we didn’t have an underwater case for our mobile phones. But we dared to go into the pool with our smartphones. Hihi. In the meantime we have this case in use:
22 get your mobile phone display gloves for winter
Unfortunately, it is not 365 days a year cuddly warm, so that there are times when temperatures occur, where you go out of the house without gloves.
But also in winter you want to take beautiful photos.
Have you ever tried to operate your phone for more than a minute at minus degrees? It’s not fun!
We had to make the experience during our road trip through Alberta in Canada. An early winter break made it difficult for us to take pictures.
We were able to operate our normal cameras with our leather gloves, but with leather gloves it doesn’t type so well on a mobile phone display. Ok, we admit it: It doesn’t tip at all!
For the next trip to colder areas, we are now equipped with mobile phone gloves. If you don’t have gloves to use your smartphone yet, it’s time.
Our conclusion on smartphone photography
These were our tips on smartphone photography. The smartphone can definitely be a good addition to your own photo equipment, but in our opinion is simply not a substitute for a real camera.
After initial euphoria, the fun of taking pictures never really set in for us after initial euphoria, so we finally decided to buy a high-quality compact camera as an easy alternative to our cameras.
How do you see that? Is a smartphone a real alternative to a real camera? We look forward to your comment.