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photo by FilippoBacci via iStock
The best camera for an unexpected photographic opportunity is the one you actually have on you. More often than not, that camera is our ever ready smartphone that we are rarely without. Smartphone photography can be serious photography too.
If you want to know good iPhone photography or Android smartphone photography tips that can have you producing high quality images with just a little extra preparation, read on. Developing good smartphone photography habits and knowing what smartphone photography accessories can make capturing good images easier are a couple of thoughts we’ll discuss.
Keep It Clean
photo by miodrag ignjatovic via iStock
Our smartphones go through hell on a typical day, don’t they? They get carried around in a pocket, purse, or in our grimy hands. That tends to result in lots of fingerprints, dirt, and greasy fingerprints on our phones. If we see that on the screen, there is a good chance it’s the same story on the lens, too.
The solution is to clean up the lens before taking a picture. A good habit to have is to have a microfiber lens cleaning cloth with us. They are small and can be folded to fit in a purse, jeans pocket, maybe even a wallet. Hopefully we don’t use our microfiber cloth to sop up soda spills or check the oil in our car.
Another way to keep a smartphone cleaner is to not let it get dirty in the first place. A case that folds shut and covers the phone is one idea, a pouch style case will also work, though both styles of case will slow us down a little bit when we want to quickly use our phone.
Steady Goes It!
Many of the newest phones we use for smartphone photography have some pretty advanced features and functions, including the ability to use slow shutter speeds for long exposures. If we use these slower shutter speeds, we should prop up our smartphone somehow. Holding the phone out at arm’s length provides a pretty unsteady platform.
One of the best new smartphone photography accessories is the OctoPad camera mount from Octopus Camera. Instead of a tripod, clamp, or suction cup, the OctoPad is a weighted pad with a rubberized bottom pad and a ball and socket head on top. It can be placed on any surface up to a 45 degree angle for a steady way to hold a smartphone or accessories like an LED light or microphone.
Shoot Horizontal and Vertical
photo by DragonImages via iStock
The orientation of the camera can sometimes make the difference from a decent picture to an outstanding photograph. Too often we only use our smartphones for smartphone photography in portrait orientation because that’s how we usually use the phone for everything else.
photo by Feverpitched via iStock
But some subjects are better rendered in landscape orientation which means turning the phone horizontally. An advantage for using landscape orientation with some subjects is that certain social media platforms are more friendly to showing the full image in landscape than in portrait.
I’m not sure why the square format social media functions work that way, but some of them do. For Instagram, it’s the little <> symbol in the bottom left corner when in the crop tool of setting up the post.
Shoot Video In Landscape
photo by urbazon via iStock
While the still images we take in smartphone photography may sometimes work out better in portrait orientation, video rarely does. The reason is because of how we’re used to viewing video footage, on a TV screen or a monitor with a similar aspect ratio.
Whenever you see at the scene recording footage on the news of a developing story, you will notice how they edit the footage so that it is formatted to these aspect ratios and orientation.
Our smartphone videos will look more professional overall if we get into this one small habit of only recording video in horizontal or landscape orientation instead of vertical or portrait orientation. Even though our still images can be either way or even square, our TV raised subconscious expects video to look like TV.
Stay On the Grid
Photo by YAMONSTRO via iStock
If you’re a smartphone user, you probably rarely think of going “off the grid” in the way a survivalist might mean it. But we do tend to often think off the grid in regards to our smartphone photography by not using this fantastic composition tool built in to almost all smartphone camera apps, the framing grid.
The grid available for our smartphone photography is a neat tool that helps us out with framing and composition to keep things balanced in the image. Using the grid, we can either tell how centered or uncentered our subject is, or we can use the grid itself to make use of the Rules of Thirds composition guideline.
I have my smartphone camera app settings adjusted to where the grid shows up on my viewscreen as a default. Depending on your particular smartphone, you may need to find it in the menu and turn it on when you’re considering any serious smartphone photography.
It IS a Serious Photography Tool
photo by Tero Vesalainen via iStock
Smartphone and iPhone photography can be very high quality if we take the time to develop a couple of good habits and lose some bad ones. Since we almost always have our smartphones on us, it is often the best camera for the job by means of being the camera available at that moment.
Now if only that UFO would actually land and drop off Bigfoot and Elvis so I can get a good picture, then I would be happy.