You remember those awful pictures you took with your first smartphone, don’t you? They were pretty bad. But as smartphones improved, so did the cameras. You can see the difference. But even a great camera doesn’t mean you’ll take great pictures.
Of course, DSLR cameras come to mind when you think about quality photos. The problem is the learning curve. And, a DSLR camera isn’t exactly convenient if you want to take it to the beach or capture a stunning sunset you just happen to come across.
Camera phones give you the freedom to spontaneously capture what’s going on around you. But even with an improved camera, you may not always get the best shot.
Follow these three easy tips and you’re on your way to better phone camera pictures.
- Know your phone camera
Photographer Lori Janeson suggests you get to know your camera before heading out for vacation. Janeson notes that higher-end phones from Apple, Samsung and Google, among others already have built-in features that automatically determine settings.
Built-in features for the latest phones often include portrait background defocus, much improved high dynamic range (HDR) functions for better detail and image stabilization to counter a shaky camera.
You may not have the latest and greatest phone with all the camera bells-and-whistles. Even if you do, great pictures don’t just happen. Now that you know what you have, you can figure out what you need to take better photos.
- Find the right apps
Someone once said, “There’s an app for everything.” That’s certainly true for phone cameras. If your camera doesn’t already have some of the latest features, you can add most of them. There are apps that do everything from tap-to-focus to fancy special effects.
Available apps also include those that let you filter out objects in pictures that spoil the setting. You remember the dog that decided to use the fire hydrant in typical dog fashion in the otherwise spectacular picture of your children at the park, right?
Don’t download and install a bunch of apps you don’t need, though. Experiment with a variety of and figure out which best fit your needs before you leave for vacation. Uninstall those that don’t.
- Stage your photos
You’ll probably take a lot of vacation photos simply to capture the fun. But, you’ll also want some nice pictures as well. When you do, don’t forget these few simple rules:
- It’s all about lighting. Maybe it’s not ALL about lighting, but if you get the lighting right, it’s hard to get a bad picture. It doesn’t matter how great your camera is, if you point your camera toward the sun and take a picture, it won’t look good. Try a north/south orientation instead of an east/west.
- Learn to love empty space. If you want to capture a subject, your child or an animal for example, don’t worry if the rest of the picture is filled with empty space. In fact, that’s a good thing. Do you want a great picture of your child standing by the ocean? Place your child off to the side with the wide blue ocean and beach filling the rest of the scene. The final result is a stunning portrait.
- Do you love landscapes? Convey depth in your photos. Most people stand in front of the landscape they want to capture and snap a picture. But the most dramatic landscape photos show depth. Rather than stand in front of the scene, place the object to the side and snap the picture lengthwise.
Here’s one last tip: Take a lot of pictures. The more pictures you take, the better you’ll get at it. And you just might snap a gem while you’re at it.