Mobile photography has taken great strides in a very short space of time. These days, nearly everyone has a smartphone in his hand or pocket and, with all of today’s additional tools and software, specifically created for capturing, editing and sharing our images, it has become so much easier to use your phone to take photographs and obtain great results. All you need is a fairly good eye and some of the basics of photography to take photos that are almost of reflex camera quality.
The important factors to consider when taking a photo taken with a phone are the same basic principles that you would apply to taking a photo with a reflex or with any other camera. Photography is photography: the tools may be different, but the factors behind a beautiful image are the same, irrespective of the camera used to capture it.
That said, a telephone is not a camera, and it requires a little getting used to. Here is my advice for taking the best shots with your smartphone:
It is essential to understand how your phone’s camera works and to get to know the obvious limits it will have. Generally, smartphone cameras have a limited shutter time interval and a fixed aperture with an automatically adjusting ISO, depriving us of the possibility to play around with the exposure; fortunately, however, there are several apps that allow us to get round the problem and choose the ISO we want to use.
Your final image will be better if your camera has the right exposure; this is just as true for a smartphone camera as for a DSLR. Even with the best editing and filter applications available, the basics of exposure are still the same, and a photo taken using the wrong exposure is not easily put right.
Cameras with such a small sensor need more light. Take advantage of natural light; stand in the shadow to take your shot; use a piece of paper to project the light onto your subject; wait for the right light; use an electric torch or the screen from another mobile phone as a light source; above all, try to avoid ever using the flash in your phone, it’s one of the worst things you can do – the light is too powerful and ruins every photo in which it is used.
As with traditional photography, the most important thing is the composition. With this, too, you can make use of things you already know and can already do. The final result is the same, be it a mobile phone or a standard camera.
Try to keep in line with the horizon, or with a reference point (most apps have horizon and grid lines).
The rule of thirds is always important: the subject should never be placed in the centre of the photograph.
Use intersecting lines and curves.
Use space that is both positive and negative, full and empty.
Observe the background. You make the same mistakes with a smartphone as you would with a reflex camera.
Move around and make your subject move around until you are happy with the composition.
Try different angles and points of view to make your photo more interesting. Don’t be afraid of lying on the ground or climbing up onto a high point. The advantage of having a small camera lies precisely in the fact that it allows you to take photos from otherwise impossible positions and angles!
But, above all, enjoy yourself and experiment; you have the possibility to take photos at any moment and without having to lug around tonnes of equipment…!!!