Phone Photography

By Robin Knott

Phones have become part of our daily lives, we use them to document daily events in our lives both at home and at work. Phones are easily accessible, fit into our pockets, are unobtrusive and can capture natural moments; people do not notice a phone as much as they would a camera.

Here are a few tips to take your photos up to the next level.

Clean your Lens
If your picture is not crisp, you may have a dirty lens. Use your shirt and give your lens a clean before you start taking pictures.

Set The Focus
To set the focus on your camera you will need to tap the screen on the area you want to focus on. A small yellow square will appear; this means it is focused. Remember the more light you have, the less camera shake you will get. It also helps to shoot moving objects straight on to keep the image focused.

Adjust Exposure Manually
When you set the focus by tapping the screen, a small sun icon appears on the side of the focus square. When you see this icon, swipe up to brighten the picture and swipe down to darken the picture.

Don’t Use The Zoom
There is a loss of image quality when you zoom in (this will be noticeable when you print your images). It is best to zoom with your feet or take the photograph and then resize it when editing.

Light is important in photography. Harsh midday sun should be avoided, so opt to shoot in the shade, such as under a roof or tree in order to produce a better quality picture. The best time to photograph is 45 minutes before the sun sets and around the time it rises as this is soft light. Winter light and overcast days are also great to photograph in. When photographing people, make sure the light is hitting their face and not their back. This is simply done by asking them to turn their body slightly to the side. A good rule to follow is ‘nose towards the light’.

Keep your Camera Steady
Especially in low light conditions, you need to be very steady with your phone to keep the picture from
blurring. Holding your phone with two hands or resting it on a solid surface will help to keep it steady and prevent blurry images. Of course a tripod would be ideal and you could set the timer on the camera.

Use the Rules of Thirds
To help use this rule, switch the grid on. You do this by:
iPhone: go to “Settings”, choose “Photos & Camera”, then switch “Grid” on.
Samsung Galaxy: launch the camera app, go to
“Settings”, scroll down and switch the “gridlines” option to “on”.

Use Leading Lines of Symmetry
Use vertical, horizontal and converging lines to lead you viewer deeper into the picture.

Watch Out For Distracting Backgrounds
Opt to either get down low or get in closer to avoid having distracting backgrounds in your image.

Change your perspective
Stand on chairs, lie on the floor or any variation so as to gain a different perspective for your image. Many a
photographer have been known to hang even from trees to get ‘the perfect angle’!

Use framing and empty space to bring out your subject

Use Landscape Mode
Don’t always shoot in portrait mode, use landscape mode more and try out the panorama mode.

Lastly, go out and out and BE CREATIVE. Remember, ”a picture can tell a thousand words. Decide what kind of story you are telling before you start photographing. Think about your subject, your setting and what you want to portray in your story.”

Images provided by Robin Knott

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