Mobile photography has made huge progress in a short time. We now have this magical device in our hands or pockets with all the hardware and software needed to capture, edit and share our images in an extremely fast, efficient and flexible manner. These devices output high enough quality images for personal & professional use — provided the person looking through the viewfinder understands the fundamentals of what makes an image work.
The keys to taking better mobile photos are the same fundamentals that apply to taking a picture with a pro SLR or any other camera. Photography is Photography: the tools may be different but the elements that make a great image are the same regardless of the box that captured it.
In capable hands any camera can produce compelling images…
Avoid direct sunlight. Your subjects will be cooler, happier, and more attractively lit if they don’t have a sunbeam hitting them in the face. If it’s an overcast day, you’re in luck. This is one of the best outdoor lighting situations for photographing people. If it’s a sunny day, have your subjects stand in the brightest patch of shade you can find.
Choose the highest quality setting available so you lose less detail and don’t get a muddy photo. If you have to choose between resolution and a quality setting to save space—and it’s unlikely you’ll make prints—reduce the resolution.
Wait for the “magic hour.” During the times of sunrise and sunset, the sky is colorful enough for even a camera phone to capture land and sky with fairly good exposure.
Stabilize your camera phone. In low light, camera phones slow the shutter speed to let in more light and have a longer opportunity to capture movement. Hold the camera phone with both hands and brace your upper arms against your body when you shoot.
Use the rule of thirds. When composing a picture, imagine two horizontal lines and two vertical lines crossing like a tic-tac-toe grid on top of it. Place strong lines and divisions like the horizon on the grid-lines and let elements of interest fall on the intersections.
Shoot a panorama. If your camera phone doesn’t include a dedicated panorama mode, you can use third-party stitching software on your computer to create panoramas from several frames. A cell phone tripod will help you line up the shots.
Shooting in black-and-white in any light can help develop your photographer’s eye by letting you concentrate on the relationship between light and shadow without the distraction of color.
Put horizons in the right place. Sometimes, putting the horizon down low to emphasize a dramatic sky is preferable.
Think out of the box. When photographing look out for interesting subjects, experiment with both the angle of your composition and the angle of light to see what’s most flattering.
Use some cool filters. When your creativity has failed you, get help from others! More specifically… apps. There’s tons of cool mobile filter apps that can add some zest to your photos, either during the picture or after.
Anticipate shutter lag. Get used to your camera phone’s timing so when something interesting happens, you’ll have a good feel for the point when you need to press the shutter release to capture the most interesting moment.
Experiment, play, and see what kinds of images your mobile phone camera can create . Take advantage of the intimacy and spontaneity and have fun taking pictures. Now… go out and take some great photos and share them with the world to see.
Happy shooting 🙂