How To Get Better Photographs With A Smartphone

Most of us are not professional photographers, but we would like take photographs with our smartphones. Here are some tips to get better photographs:

(1) Clean your lens
Smartphones spend a lot of time in hands, pockets and purses which all present opportunities for oils and lint to collect on the surface of the lens. Take a moment to remove any “extras” from overlapping your next photo.

(2) Steady your shot
While not all of us want to drag around a tripod to steady our snapshots, there’s a cheap and lightweight solution to this issue. A stringpod is a pocket-sized alternative to a tripod or monopod. It is a way to stabilize a handheld camera using a piece of string, a 1/4-inch bolt with a #20 thread, and a few washers. Essentially it works like this: the photographer secures one end of a string to the bottom of the camera. The other end of the string drops to the floor and the photographer steps on it. By pulling up on the camera gently, the string gets taut and helps to stabilize the camera.

(3) Light is (usually) your friend
Natural lighting is amazing for photos but can sometimes cast shadows on other objects due to the intensity. You can use your flash in the daytime to help remove these extra shadows. Additionally, you should give the camera app a second to adapt to the current lighting conditions when you open it; that will fix some of your white balance issues.

(4) Try different angles
When there’s nothing you can do about the lighting or you just can’t get the shot you want, move around! As a general rule, if you have the opportunity to take several photos of the same scene or subject, you should do it from as many angles as you can. This can be a relief when the photo you thought was perfect actually came out blurry or with too many shadows and you have several backup angles to pick from!

(5)Increase your resolution
If your smartphone has an option for picture sizes, the largest one is your best bet. Generally, the larger the picture, the more detail you’ll be able to capture. This is especially true when resizing photos later and having them remain clear and crisp.

(6) Avoid digital zoom
Digital zoom is a great idea in theory, but in practice it can really ruin some of your best shots. As an alternative, just zoom by getting closer to your subject and maybe even try the next tip if you really need a close shot of something small to come out clearer.

(7) Check out specialty shooting modes
When attempting to capture smaller objects with great clarity, Macro mode is your new best friend. The setting can usually be found in the camera app itself. Also, remember to turn this off for other landscape and portrait shots or they will come out very blurry. Some camera apps will turn it off automatically, but it’s a good idea to double check the setting after the first time you use it. Aside from macro mode, there will likely be options for daylight, fluorescent, and even landscapes.

(8) Learn the response time
There’s usually a delay between the time you press the digital shutter button to the time the actual photo is taken. Yes, it’s a very small delay, but staying still for that brief moment can be the difference between a beautiful photo and a blurry one. Get a feel for the delay by taking a few sample shots.

(9) Get help from apps
When a photo doesn’t meet your expectations — and especially when the moment has passed — turn to one of the many camera apps available for smartphones. Android and iPhone are likely to have the most options, but there are apps available for other platforms, too. These apps can adjust colors and angles, or add artistic filters to make the best of your less-than-perfect photo.

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