5 smartphone photography tips

Have you been disappointed by the photographic results you have achieved on your smartphone camera? Do your images lack the detail that you witnessed with your eye, have dark areas with no detail or maybe your low-light images don’t capture the scene?


All of these common issues can be overcome if you take the right approach and even a modest smartphone camera has the ability to capture near professional grade photos when it is in the right hands. You too can get great results by following our 5 smartphone photography tips.


Smartphone camera tips

How to get great photos in the dark


The flash on your smartphone can be your worst enemy and most LED flashes cause your subjects to have those red devil eyes whilst the colour temperatures are ruined. There are several ways to avoid these problems though.


The first solution is to find an alternative light source to light up the scene such as those produced by a sign, lamppost or spotlight. If this isn’t available then you may find that taking a shot without the flash will deliver more natural results.


Smartphone camera packages are developing though and the latest of these, such as the LG G3, have dual-colour LED flashes that overcome devil eyes and produce natural colour tones.

When to use HDR?


HDR (High Dynamic Range) refers to the ratio of light to dark within the scene you wish to photograph. And, as the camera automatically chooses how much light to let in you can often achieve results where the detail in either dark or light objects is lost.


HDR mode works by taking several photos, almost instantly, at different exposure levels and it then combines the best bits from each to create an image with perfect detail in both light and dark elements.


Without HDR

Without HDR


HDR mode

HDR mode

HDR works best on scenery shots where the sky is bright and the land is dark. It also works well in low-light scenes that have bright objects in them such as a group of people sat around a campfire. Portraits taken in bright sunlight may also have a better outcome in HDR mode as facial shadows and glare can cause problems in single exposure shots.


HDR mode isn’t for every situation though. If the scene you wish to photograph has movement in it then a blurring can occur as there is a small delay between capturing those multiple photos at different exposures. It is also best not to use HDR mode in scenes with bright colours as these can become washed out.


Why you shouldn’t zoom


When you use the digital zoom on a smartphone camera the camera lens doesn’t capture any more detail. Instead the zooming process is completed by the camera software which guesses what the new pixels in the image should be and this guess work can cause a blurred on unfocused looking result.


However this problem is easily overcome, particularly on smartphone cameras that are rated at 8 megapixels and above. When using these you are better off taking the image without using the zoom and then you can crop the photo to the area of interest without any loss of quality. This is possible because these high resolution cameras actually capture more pixels than can be shown on either a phone or computers display.


How to avoid blurred photos


Blurred photos can be the result of shaky hands and whilst most smartphone cameras have optical image stabilisation built in this doesn’t always result in blur free photos. You can solve this issue easily by either resting your camera on a solid object like a wall or by tucking your elbows into your side to reduce camera movement.


How to enhance photos in post-production


Almost all smartphones have photo editing features built in and these or a program on your PC can be used to enhance your photographic results. If your photos look a little dull then you can brighten them up by increasing the colour saturation levels.


Photo editing software


You can increase the contrast to make colours stand out from each other or adjust the hue to bring out the blue in the sky.


So, as you can see it is easy to overcome the most common photography problems with these 5 smartphone photography tips.


Written by: Michael Brown

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