With every phone update and upgrade that comes out, we expect a camera upgrade that makes our photos look like art. Unfortunately, the more advanced the cameras on our cell phones get, the more complicated that “perfect shot” becomes. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your phone’s camera.
Many people forget that both Android and iPhone provide viewfinder grid lines, directing you in setting up the perfect composition for photos. What these grid lines do is set up a 3×3 design that allows you to implement the rule of thirds, one of the most important compositional techniques in photography. It separates the image you are about to take into three horizons and allows you to ensure that the perspective of the photo is not distorted.
Even though it seems like a great perk, the zoom function of your phone’s camera isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Have you noticed that almost every time you try to zoom in, it immediately gets blurrier and loses resolution? That happens because your phone is attempting to guess what you’re zooming in on and creates the image.The cropping feature on a phone is different because it takes the pixels of the original photo and samples the image. Most of our phones have 8-megapixels (or more) of resolution which allows users to take a high resolution image. When you crop crop these photos, you are able to keep the same high resolution but still create a more zoomed in photo. Try it for yourself! Take a photo of your friend with your camera zoomed in and then, take a photo of the same friend without the zoom and instead a crop. You will be able to see an incredible difference of quality in your photo.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is a function that your phone offers in order to show all of the highlights and shadows in a photo, without any under or over exposure. This allows your phone camera to take multiple exposures and blend them into an image that shows all of the light detail in the scene you are capturing.
Our phones are able to take photos and videos at a variety of different sizes and qualities. Typically, if you want a high resolution video, you need to be shooting in the highest resolution with the highest FPS. FPS stands for Frames Per Second and basically outlines how many smaller photos a camera takes in order to film a video. So if you shoot at 30FPS, this means every second your camera is capturing 30 different frames to string together into a flowing and cohesive video. However, be aware because this will quickly fill up your phone’s memory.
The main difference between taking photos with a DSLR and a cell phone is the size of the lens and the camera sensor. Our phones are not as good at correcting light compared to a professional DSLR. This is because when shooting with a DSLR, the photographer has the ability to manually tweak the exposure/f-stop, shutter speed and ISO due to interchangeable lenses and different senor built within the camera body. With a phone camera you can’t manually pick these settings. The solution? Add light. The more light you are able to add into your setting will allow for a clearer and less grainy image, producing the best shot possible.
We don’t think much about this but every time we touch our phone camera or put it in our pocket, we risk a dirty or even scratched camera lens. You can easily clean your phone camera with your shirt but every once in a while you should give it a deeper clean with a lens cleaning solution. I personally use a ZEISS Lens Cleaning Kit, it has everything you need to clean your valuable lenses and you can find it for less than $30. You would be surprised at the difference it makes!
Our phones give us the option to tag GPS information within the photos we take. This is helpful as a photographer or a casual user because if you see a place you want to visit, a restaurant that has great reviews, or find a park that would be an awesome setting for a family photo for your next gig, you are able to take a quick photo in that area and automatically imbed the location data within the image. This function makes it so much more efficient to find a favorite spot at a later date.
Our phones back cameras have a much higher resolution than the front cameras do. Although it’s nice to see your shot before taking your selfies, you will have a much better looking photo if you shoot with the back camera.
You can thank me later 😉
Halle is a photography intern at Brand Knew, a creative agency based out of Los Angeles. She is a student at Ohio University studying Commercial Photography and Communications.