Basic Tips and Tricks for Taking Photos with Your Smartphone

If you have ditched your old-fashioned point-and-shoot camera in favor of your Smartphone, you are not alone.

Almost all Smartphones today are equipped with cameras which make it easy to take a photo wherever you may be.

From sports to selfies here are a few mobile photography tips and tricks to help you take better photos each time.

Clean Lenses

Because your mobile phone is either in your hand, purse, or pocket it gets dirty fast from top to bottom as does its lens.

A dirty lens can accumulate dirt, dust, and fingerprints and then leave smudges or dust spots on photos. If you want clear and sharp photos, clean your phone’s lens by using a soft cloth to gently wipe the lens.

Cleaning your iPhone lenses might seem like a no-brainer but many people forget to do this regularly. So, do it often and your photos will be clearer.

Set Focus for Sharper Images

While your lens may be clean, sometimes your subject matter still does not look as sharp as it could.

Why? It could be because the camera’s autofocus does not always focus where you want it to.

To make sure your subject is in sharp focus, set the focus point manually.

Compose the shot, tap on the screen where you want to set the focus, and a light will appear on your phone to indicate the focus point. Press the shutter button to snap the photo.

The area you set focus on will appear much sharper. Keep in mind anything in front of or behind the focus point may appear out of focus. Setting the focus is simple and will ensure better photos.

Adjust Exposure

If your photos come out looking way too bright or over-exposed, or too dark, or under-expose go ahead and adjust the exposure also known as the brightness before you take a picture.

Use HDR for Best Detail

Taking photos of high-contrast scenes can be a challenge in terms of exposure. For example, a high-contrast scene has dark and bright areas – think a beautiful landscape with a bright sky and dark foreground.

When you snap this type of photo, the camera cannot decide how to capture the dark areas or bright areas. As a result, either the highlights will be exposed correctly, but the shadows will look too dark. Or the shadows will be correctly exposed, but the highlights will be too bright.

Luckily, the iPhone camera has the HDR feature to create more evenly lit photos. HDR means “High Dynamic Range” and it lets the photographer capture detail in shadows and highlights. The setting will depend on what model phone you have.

Portrait Mode

It is easy to shoot professional-looking photos with great backgrounds if your Smartphone’s camera has a Portrait mode. If it does,  you can easily blur the background when taking pictures to make it look authentic and cool.

Burst Mode for Action Photos

If you have trouble taking action photos you’re not alone. But some Smartphones including the iPhone offer burst mode. With this feature, the iPhone 11 cameras can keep taking photos in quick succession until you release your finger. If you have iPhone XS or older, hold down the shutter button to start burst mode. Burst mode is a simple feature and will help you to create great action photos.

Composing Perfect Smartphone Photos

Getting sharp, well-exposed photos is the main goal, however, the composition is also important.

Good composition is what you untimely want to strive for. Composing a visually amazing image involves careful positioning of the important elements in the frame. So, how do you decide where to place your main subject or the focal point? Use what some professionals dub the rule of thirds.

The “rule” says you should position the most important elements off-center – versus in the middle of the frame.

This creates more balanced and natural compositions – compositions that are much more engaging.

The iPhone has this tool which is called the camera grid. Use the grid to help you position the most important elements in the photo.

For instance, you could try and position the main subject on one of the vertical lines, or where two gridlines meet.

Shooting landscapes? Position the horizon along the top or bottom gridline – instead of across the middle of the frame.

The iPhone camera grid help compose gorgeous photos using the rule of thirds. Be sure you turn it and use for when you need to decide where to position the key areas of the composition.

Hopefully, these simple tips and tricks will help you take eye-catching photos you can share with friends and family or put in your scrapbook of mementos.