If you're sick of taking blah photos with your smartphone, this is the tutorial for you...
Photography is easy with your phone - after all, you always have it with you, right?
But taking good photos with your phone requires more than easy access to its camera.
Here's a few smartphone photography hacks that will help you take your mobile photography to another level.
Editor's Tip: Did you know you can improve the quality of your smartphone photos by using accessories like add-on lenses? Kenko has wide-angle, macro, super-wide-angle, portrait, and telephoto lenses that give your smartphone even more photo-taking power. Learn more by visiting their website.
Learn How to Manually Adjust the Exposure
Most smartphones perform admirably in typical lighting conditions, but when the lighting gets too dim, too bright or too harsh, trouble can ensue.
You've seen it, I'm sure - areas of the photo that are "blown out," meaning, they've lost detail and all you can see is pure black or pure white in some spots.
You can adjust for that by manually by tapping the phone's screen, which reveals a vertical slider that you can use to brighten or darken the photo.
This is especially handy when the photo is too bright because darkening it allows you to prevent blown out highlights, which are nearly impossible to recover in post-processing.
Change the Perspective
If you look at your camera roll and see that all your photos look similar, it's time to change things up.
What we're accustomed to when shooting with our phone is standing up straight, sticking our arms out, and taking the photo from our eye level (as seen above).
But when every single shot you take is taken like that, they can look a little boring.
By switching up the perspective and shooting from higher up (even by just a few feet) or down low (again, even by just a few feet), you can drastically change how the image looks.
Not only does that give viewers a more interesting view of the subject, but it also allows you to eliminate or add elements as you see fit.
For example, by taking a higher shooting position, you can shoot downward toward your subject and eliminate a distracting background.
Conversely, by getting down low to the ground, you can include foreground interest, which will be nice and blurry, adding even more interest to the image.
Editor's Tip: If you don't want to kneel or lie down on the ground for a better smartphone photo, you can use a kickstand to prop up your phone to get the same perspective. Kenko's smartphone lenses double as a kickstand, giving you even more creative possibilities for your mobile photography. Find out more here.
Editing is Not Optional
And by editing, I don't mean slapping a filter on it in Instagram...
If you want to reveal all the colors, textures, and detail in the photos you take with your phone, you need to dedicate yourself to learning how to properly edit photos.
That doesn't mean you have to download them to your computer, either.
There are thousands of editing apps for smartphones these days, some obviously better than others.
Screenshot/Visual Supply Company
VSCO is one of the most beloved photo editing apps because it offers you control over everything from brightness and saturation to sharpness and contrast.
It also has a host of beautiful filter effects that can completely change the look and feel of the photo.
Snapseed (available for iOS and Android) is another top pick of mobile photographers. It offers features like a healing brush to eliminate aberrations, perspective warp to fix skewed lines, tonal contrast tools, and a bunch of filters, too.
It was developed by Google, so if that tells you anything, it's that it's power-packed with tons of features that will help you elevate the photos you take to a whole new level.
Learning to maximize the editing process to create something even more beautiful will take time, but in the end, it's one of the best things you can do to take better smartphone photos.
Combined with using high-quality lenses, learning how to manually adjust the exposure, and changing up the perspective, you can't lose!