Taking great photos doesn’t require a lot of special equipment. In fact, chances are you already own a pretty amazing digital camera — your smartphone! Some of my best images have been taken with my cell phone, without any fancy add-ons or attachments.
Here are my top three tips for taking stunning photos with your cell phone:
- Turn on gridlines – Composition is often the difference between a good photo and a great one. One of the easiest ways to improve your composition is to use the gridlines in your phone’s camera app. The points where the gridlines intersect correspond with where the viewer’s eye will be drawn. Having those points visible when taking a photo will help you frame your best shot on the spot and cut down on editing time later.
- Resist using the built-in zoom – The built-in zoom feature in your mobile phone camera app operates differently than zooming in with a film or DSLR camera. Your mobile phone uses digital zoom, while a film camera or DSLR camera uses optical zoom. Digital zooming often results in grainy, pixelated or blurry photos. Try stepping closer to your subject instead of tapping on the zoom button. You can and should use the “tap to focus” feature in your camera app, though! It will help make sure your phone’s lens is focused on what you’ve chosed as your subject.
- Experiment – One of the best ways to create amazing shots is to experiment with the features in your phone’s camera app. These features include different lighting effects and modes, such as portrait or nighttime modes. Play with these settings and use them in unexpected ways. For example, the portrait mode on my phone’s camera is intended to be used primarily when taking photos of people or pets, because it softens the background and highlights the subject. However, I’ve found that it works great for landscape photography, creating a soft zoom effect that can’t be easily achieved in other modes or with editing. Similarly, night mode can be used at other times of day to create cool effects.
I hope you find these tips useful. Let me know if you try any of them, or if you’ve discovered any cameraphone tricks of your own!