Welcome back for the second post in this series on taking better photos with your phone. If you missed the first set of tips you can find them here.
In the last post we talked about how using the zoom, focus and exposure tools can all impact the quality of your photos. Today I’m sharing five more tips to transform your phone photos.
Tip 1: Turn The Flash Off
When professional photographers use flash they will usually modify it in some way so that the light doesn’t hit their subject directly or it’s softened before it gets there. The trouble with the flash on our cameras is that it hits your subject directly, and is so harsh and bright that it washes them out. If at all possible don’t use the flash – try moving to a brighter area instead.
Tip 2: Shutter Release
One of the reasons phone photos can be blurry is because it’s difficult to hold the phone with one hand, and press the on screen shutter with the other without the phone moving. One way around this is to use shutter release buttons instead of the on screen one.
On an iPhone or Samsung phone, you can use the volume buttons on the side to release the camera shutter. This option is turned on by default – you don’t have to switch it on, so you can give it a go right now.
If you have an iPhone you can also use your Apple headphones – plug them into your phone, and use the volume controls on the headphone cable to release the camera shutter. This is particularly useful for selfies!
Tip 3: HDR
You’re probably asking yourself “what’s HDR?” HDR is short for High Dynamic Range, and basically involves taking the same photo at different exposures and then stitching them together so that all the areas are nicely exposed. It sounds complicated, but the good news is that your phone can actually do this automatically.
HDR isn’t necessary in all situations. But, if you have a tricky lighting situation then it can do wonders for your photo. For example a landscape with a bright sky, and dark foreground.
On both an iPhone and the latest Samsung phones you can easily switch HDR on and off within the camera app – you should see the words HDR at the top of the screen when you’re in your camera app. Just tap it to switch it on and off.
Tip 4: Burst Mode
Burst mode is particularly useful as a parent. When your subject is moving (as children usually are), burst mode allows you to capture a fast series of images and then choose the best one afterwards.
To do this on an iPhone, simply hold down the shutter for as long as you need to. When you review your image you’ll see that ‘Burst’ followed by the number of photos taken appears in the top left hand corner. You can then select which one(s) to keep and discard the rest, or keep them all.
On Samsung phones you’ll need to switch this feature on. You can find full instructions on how to do this here.
Tip 5: Clean The Lens
This might sound a bit obvious, but you might be amazed at the difference giving your lens a clean can make to the quality of your photographs. Our phones tend to live in our pockets, handbags, on kitchen worktops or in sticky toddler hands. They pick up a lot of grime. A quick clean with a soft cloth or even some of the lens cleaner you use for your glasses can work wonders.
I hope you find these tips useful. I’d love to know how you get on – let me know in the comments below. You can also find my other tips for taking better photographs here.