There is a common perception that DSLR always produces better photos than a mobile phone. While a camera does give you more flexibility in your depth of field and advanced settings, but if you don’t handle it right, your photo may not come good even if you are given an expensive camera.
Nowadays, most smartphones are equipped with high-quality digital cameras. Instead of confusing yourselves with different kinds of setting in the camera, why not just let your phone do most of the setting for you so that you can just focus on one thing at a time as a beginner?
In our first blog, we are going to guide you through 5 tips to help you get a better photo instantly from your phone.
Lighting is a vital element for your photo and it can be fun to play with. Let’s take a look at the 3 images below.
These images are taken with the same light source from different directions. It is interesting how lighting can change the vibe and the look of the object, isn't it?
Sometimes the phone may not recognize the light at its best automatically and you may need to adjust the exposure manually. When a photo is over-exposed / under-exposed, some details may not be captured. Post-processing can make it looks better but you cannot recover what is not captured. That’s why it is important to set your exposure right in the first place.
If you are using an iPhone, you can adjust the brightness of the photo by tapping on the object and drag the “sun” up and down. I will recommend you to press longer on your focus and enable the AE/AF lock. This will avoid the camera from refocusing again and resetting the exposure. I always start with putting the focus on the object, but in extreme light occasions e.g. object is still too dark/bright after adjusting the exposure, you may want to try putting the focus on the light source / the darkest point of the photo to reveal more detail of the photo.
An extra tip on this is that if you are not sure whether the photo is overexposed, then underexposed it a little. When it comes to editing, underexposure is easier to fix than overexposure.
2. Turn On Your Grid
Regardless of what photo you are taking, whether it is a person, an animal, a building...etc, you need to have an object. The question is how you position your object in the photo. Here is where the powerful grid comes in handy. In photography, people call the grid “THE RULE OF THIRD”.
If you haven’t had your grid turned on, here are the instructions.
ios user: Setting → Camera → Grid on
Android user: Open Camera → Settings → “Grid lines” on
Depending on the orientation and size of the object in the photo, you may wish to frame your photo differently. However, the first thing I always do is to align vertical or horizontal object/lines in your frame with the grid. You can either put the object along the lines or in the middle of two lines.
In shooting portraits, I usually put my object below the top ⅓ part of the photo, leaving some upper space to reveal the background. Technically, it's called "Negative Spacing". It adds more depth to the photo to make the object pop up from the background.
Tips: Don’t forget to place (tap) your focus on your object. The phone auto-focus may get confused sometimes when there is more than one object in your foreground.
3. Play with Angles
People always say professional photographers see things from a different perspective, that is because they will put more time in trying different angle shots. Your object could be fixed at one spot but you are not!! You can scan your phone from top to bottom, left to right to find the angle you like. However, if you are running short of time, here is a guide in finding the angle quicker:
I rarely take photos above my head except when I am doing selfies or close up portraits. A high angle shortens your object, so it’s the last thing you want to do when it comes to taking photos of your girlfriend. A lower angle makes the photo looks more stylish and it makes the object looks taller and leaner.
4. Find leading lines or pattern to your object
Create a path that draws people's eyes to the object. In this photo, I put my camera on the pillar that extends all the way to Carrie then leads the attention to the Sydney Opera House. You can also use different props to lead the focus to your object.
5.Get Yourself a Tripod
I would highly recommend you to get a tripod accordingly no matter what photography you are learning. It adds stability to your shots (especially if you want to learn night photography) and it definitely saves you so much time on finding something to support the phone when you do self-photo. Our first tripod purchase is the 5K Joby Gorilla pod. This can support both our camera and phone and we mainly use it as our phone stand when we are not vlogging. We had a no-brand one before but the grip is not as strong and it just doesn’t feel solid. If you are not planning to have a camera anytime soon, you can also go for a smaller one just for the phone. One thing we like about Gorilla pod is that it not only can stand like a normal tripod, it can also be wrapped on a tree, handrail or any pole, so you can be more creative in your perspectives.
We got ours on Amazon in a bundle - 5K Gorilla Pod with a phone mount and a wireless remote https://amzn.to/2PBzjCY
Other Cheaper Option for Phone only
mobile Gorillapod https://amzn.to/2r8agOr
1K Gorillapod https://amzn.to/34CRITU
*Tips: Always choose a tripod with a ball head. It gives you way more flexibility on your setup.
So here are our 6 tips to help you get better photos from your phone. Comment below if you have any questions. We would love to know which one is your favorite tip!!!