Take better photos with your phone

The latest high-resolution smartphones have ushered in a new era.

Even professional photographers on assignments for leading magazines are starting to realise that there are moments when a handy, inconspicuous palm-sized phone will capture a shot that could be beyond even the most advanced pro camera. But this needn’t mean we’re regressing into an era where mindless repetitive point-and-shoot selfies are going to be the new Pulitzer winners. To shoot pro quality holiday shots with your phone you’re going to have to start thinking like a pro. Here’s how…

1/ Over-ride the flash

Phone camera flashes (being little more than amped up LEDs) rarely work effectively and in most cases are best avoided. Instead, experiment with maximising the best effect of ambient light and shoot to capture mood rather than subject details. Allow the shadows to play a part in the image (like the photo above) and don’t be afraid to play with silhouettes and motion blur. The effect will almost always be more interesting than a flashed photo.

Compose your photographs

2/ Play with composition

Study the view for unexpected angles before you shoot. Keep the hallowed rule of thirds in mind at all times and frame your subjects so that they are not boringly placed in the centre of the shot. Most phone cameras allow you to set a grid on the screen as a permanent reminder. The real golden rule, however, is that rules are made to be broken; the finest photographers are those who instinctively know how to capture that truly unique and eye-catching shot. For more landscape tips on how not to look like an amateur, take a look at this post.

Set your camera to take better shots

3/ Know your camera

You’ve shelled out for a phone with a good camera, so choose the highest image quality setting available – and remember to clean the lens when you take the phone out of your pocket. Professional photographers familiarise themselves with their equipment until they’re able to change settings without even looking at the dials. Do the same and practise enough to anticipate the inevitable shutter-lag on your phone and you’ll never miss that perfect moment again. This site offers a great introduction to smartphone photography.

This feature was written for Momentum,
a website that focuses travel
in Asia. To read the full feature – with 12 tips
on how to take better photos
with your phone – take a look here.

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