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phoneOur lives are full of rules, too many if you ask me. That's why this article is not 7 rules, but rather 7 tips. Try them and if they don't work for you, try something different.

 

1. Get to know the camera function

  • Moments happen quickly so make sure you know how to access the camera app on your phone so you don’t miss that special moment.
  • For example, the iPhone has a fast access icon from the lock screen, so no hunting through your apps looking for the camera.
  • Turn off the flash and any other ‘enhancing’ functions.

2. Hold it like a camera

  • A key factor in getting sharp photos is to keep your camera still. Holding your phone with one hand, that you also use to press the shutter button, will not give you sharp photos.
  • Holding your phone out in front of you at arm’s length will not give you sharp photos.
  • Keep that phone in close, with your elbows bent and against the side of your chest. This will help steady your phone and give you sharper photos.

3. Zoom with your feet

  • Avoid using the zoom function on your camera app. Unlike a larger SLR camera with an expensive zoom lens, the zoom on your phone is digital, ie it’s done by the software in the phone.
  • This means that as you zoom in closer the quality goes down and your photos will become grainy and pixelated.
  • Instead, if you want to get up close use your feet. Except of course if you are at the zoo photographing the lions.

4. Move around to get different viewpoints

  • Even with phones getting bigger again, they’re still small and light, so it’s easy to get down low or up high really easily.
  • Just like zooming with your feet, your feet are also good for changing your perspective. You might see a photo you want to take, do that, but then move a bit and look again, you may just see a better one.
  • Don’t have too much going on in your photo. I don’t mean keep everyone still, cos let’s face it phone photography is frequently used for capturing life moments. What I mean is, don’t clutter your photo with lots of distractions, just have one main subject and the scene.

5. Shoot the same thing several times

  • One of the really great things about digital photography is that it costs you nothing to take a photo and you can see the result instantly. You can make numerous attempts and mistakes and learn on the go.
  • Resist deleting photos if they look bad on the screen of your phone. Wait until you get home, download them to your computer and have a look on a bigger screen. You may be surprised and discover some really interesting stuff in your images.
  • To really mix it up combine taking multiple photos of the same thing with the previous two tips.

6. Clean the lens

  • If your phone spends time in the bottom of a handbag, in your back pocket or in your child’s hands the lens is going to get dirty.
  • Dirty lenses equal blurry photos and whilst this can be an interesting creative effect you’re better off capturing a clean image first and adding the effect after, which brings us to the last tip …

7. Process – use apps to add effects

  • There are some awesome apps available for photography (if that’s not a word it should be).
  • You can process your photos using apps on your phone or software on your computer. Phone apps can be a bit fiddly and it can be hard to see exactly what’s going on when viewed on such a small screen.
  • Both Microsoft and Apple have their own photo editing software and this is generally easy to use. Just have a play with it, change settings and see what happens. You never lose the original photo so you can always undo your changes and start again.

"The best camera is the one you have with you.” Leave your nice big shiny heavy camera at home and get your small light phone camera out. You’ll be more inclined to get it out and use it to capture those magical life moments.

And even better, start printing some of your favourite shots. Yeah, it’s great being able to share images on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc but there really is nothing like an actual photographic print stuck to your fridge with a magnet that you can point at and say, “Hey, look what I did”.

If you’d like to receive the occasional article or observation like this, or you’re just curious to see what a professional photographer does with their time please feel free to subscribe to the Fine Photography blog. On the basis you have made it this far I’m guessing you find me at least slightly interesting, but if I stop being entertaining you can always unsubscribe.

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