How to Take Good Photos With Your Phone - Part 3

Part three of a multi-part series

[Parts one & two are available in previous month’s issues or at my website https://www.mrefoto.com/blog ]

Note that all images appearing with this article were taken with my iPhone 7 Plus.

15. Consider buying a mobile tripod.

Although mobile devices make it easy to snap any photo on the go, there's never been an easy way to ensure the shot stays level and balanced when you shoot — especially if you want to be in the picture and not just take a typical selfie with your extended arm.

Mobile tripods give you the freedom to mount your smartphone for quick hands-free shots without lugging any heavy equipment with you. Most mobile tripods are barely bigger than your mobile device, and can bend to any angle.


16. Set your camera app's exposure manually.

Another mobile camera feature you'll want to set manually is your exposure. Tapping your screen when your phone's camera is on doesn't just refocus the lens on a new subject — it also automatically adjusts how much light the camera lets in. This, too, won't always look just right. It's best to adjust it by hand.

To change your mobile camera's exposure by hand, open your camera app and tap the screen. When you see the lens refocus, you'll see a very small sun icon and a vertical scale. Slowly swipe your finger up and down this scale to adjust the light level.


17. Create abstracts.

Abstract photos are meant to capture the essence of an object, or a series of them, without revealing the entire landscape as a whole. In other words, they serve the purpose of creating unique, surprising images from ordinary subjects.

This look can be accomplished by cropping an abstract portion of an otherwise normal photo, or by taking close-up shots of objects that leave the viewer wondering — in admiration, of course — what the subject might be. And subjects with patterns or repetition are great candidates for abstract photography.


18. Take candid’s.

Posed photos can be great for the sake of memories — happy moments with friends, family, or the occasional run-in with a celebrity. But sometimes, candid shots of people doing things, or people with people, can be far more interesting.

That's because candid photos are better able to effectively capture the emotion and essence of a moment. One of the best ways to capture this kind of shot is to just take as many photos as possible. You'll have more to choose from, and the best photos often happen when the "stars align," so to speak, in a single moment — everyone's eyes are open, one person is tilting their head just so, and you finally got a shot of your chronically closed-lip friend smiling with his teeth.

19. Be non-conventional.

Composition is a huge part of what makes a photo great, but so is the photo's subject. Some of the most delightful and remarkable photos come out of cool, unique ideas. Images are more effective than text at evoking emotion; that often means getting your photos to say something.

Try thinking outside the box when it comes to what you're capturing — your viewers could be pleasantly surprised by a cool or unexpected subject.


20. Make 'em laugh.

Speaking of evoking emotion, sometimes the most memorable photos are the ones that make us giggle. If you can make your audience laugh, they're likely to enjoy your photo.


21. Clean your phone's lens.

A Smartphone camera might be more convenient to carry around than a full-fledged photojournalist's camera, but it comes at the cost of protection.

Your phone is usually in your pocket or your bag when you're out of the house. All the while, the device's camera lens is collecting all kinds of dust and lint. Be sure to clean this lens with a soft handkerchief before taking a photo. You might not be able to tell just how dirty the lens was until you start editing your picture, and making sure the lens is crystal clear before taking a shot can keep you from starting from scratch.

22. Attach an external lens.

Want to get really fancy? External lenses are for you. There are actually several out there that can be attached to the top of your Smartphone’s native camera lens — from fish-eye to wide-angle lenses, these add-ons can bring an entirely new quality and perspective to your photos.


23. Don't be afraid to edit.

Composing and taking your Smartphone photo is just the first step to making it visually compelling. Editing your photos is the next step — and a very critical one, at that. Filters can be a valuable photographic tool, particularly when it comes to two goals: 1) Removing blemishes from a picture, and 2) making food look even more delicious.

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