The How-To's of Capturing the Best Photos With Your Phone
Not everyone has a fancy camera and that's okay!
If there is one thing I’ve learned throughout my years of photography: it is that you don’t need a fancy, expensive camera to get amazing pictures. Having studied photography and videography in college, I love having a camera and being able to take beautiful photos. However, there are a lot of times that I don’t want to carry around my camera because it’s heavy, expensive, and I can still get some beautiful pictures without it.
There are a few tips and tricks I am going to share as a photographer that you can use when taking pictures with your own phone whether it’s for everyday use or when you’re traveling.
Lighting is Key! Nothing makes or breaks an image more than lighting. And unfortunately, we can’t control or predict what kind of lighting there will be on any given day. So first things first: if you’re outside pretend the sun is a flashlight. You wouldn’t take a picture in the opposite direction from where the flashlight is giving you light, and it’s the same logic for photography. This is especially true when taking pictures of objects or people. You want the sun to be shining in front of, on the side, or above the direction of the picture you’re taking. This will enhance the quality of the picture, the colors in the picture, and the overall clarity of the picture. The beauty of phone cameras now a day is that you can also edit the brightness or exposure of these pictures. The trick is to look at the sky or the colors of your image. If the sky looks white or the colors look washed out, bring down your brightness and exposure. If the colors look darker then normal or there are dark shadows in your picture, bump up the brightness and exposure.
Have a focal point! In every picture you take, decide what you want the focal point or the “center of attention” to be of your picture. Once you figure that out, you want to have that be around the center of your picture. Another great thing about phone cameras is that most have a “grid” option that most people turn off. However, that grid is your best friend when trying to take the best pictures. In photography, we have something called “Rule of Thirds” which is what the grid on your camera represents. By using that grid, you can make sure the focal point is in or around that center square to get the best composition of your photo! Now let’s say you look at your picture after you take it and you don’t like where your focal point is, that’s okay because then we turn to our trusty sidekick, the cropping feature. With the cropping feature and still using the grid, you can readjust your picture so your focal point is just where you want it!
Finding color! Nothing brings a picture to life more than color. Sometimes the picture we are taking isn’t something that special, but it is the colors in that picture we are truly trying to capture. Whether it’s a blue sky, vibrant flowers, or a striking building; the color of a picture can make all the difference. When you’re taking a picture, look around and see what colors catch your eye and try to incorporate whatever that is in your picture. Whether it’s a single color or several, adding this element can help create an eye-catching picture that you will be proud of. Now let's say you take your picture but when you look at it on your phone the colors look dull or not the same as they do with our eyes. This is when we head over to saturation! Again the beauty of having a camera in your phone is being able to edit in right there on your phone with the editing settings. Now look at the picture and increase the saturation until the colors in your photo resemble how they did when you were looking at it in real life. The trick with this is to not overdo it so that the image looks overly edited, but enough so the colors have life again.
Having a fancy camera doesn’t mean you can’t capture some amazing photos with the camera on your phone. By applying these 3 elements of lighting, composition, and color; you can start to capture some truly amazing photos whether you’re going about daily life or out on vacation.