How many of you have a mobile phone?
How many of you take pictures with your mobile phone?
I think the answer to these two questions is 100 percent ‘YES’.
We all have at least one mobile phone and we are definitely taking more pictures with our phone’s camera than ever. Don’t we love taking pictures of everything we like?
Be it a person or an object, a mobile phone has become the favorite device for taking pictures. Why? Because all of us might not own a DSLR camera and even if we own, we might not have it with us every single time.
Taking a picture with your mobile phone might not seem like a difficult task as anyone can tap on that button. But you can really level up your mobile photography with a few simple tricks and make your pictures stand out.
In this post, I’ll talk about 10 savvy ways to improve mobile photography.
But before moving onto those tricks, let us get ready to take the pictures. These are few things to take care of before actually tapping on that ‘click’ button:
Clean the lens: Make sure you clean the lens of the camera of your mobile phone. Since we carry our mobile phone mostly in our pockets, take calls, keep holding in our hands, chances are the lens is smudged with dust, sweat, oil, cream, etc. The smudged lens gives us a blurry low-quality image. So, it is better to clean your lens before taking pictures.
Use your both hands to hold your phone, just like the camera: When you are taking pictures with your phone, treat your phone like you treat your DSLR camera. Hold your phone like you would hold the real camera, i.e. using your both hands. It provides stability and helps you to take a crisp picture.
Activate the Gridlines: Why do you think your camera has gridlines? They surely do have a purpose. These gridlines help you in image composition and line up your subject in an interesting way.
Find interesting subjects: You can find interesting subjects anywhere anytime. You just need to have an eye for them. A kitchen can be a good place to find interesting subjects to photograph. For example a coffee mug, your dinner plate, fruits in a basket, a potted plant on your windowsill, etc. It could be anything. You just need to get little creative.
Now, we are all prepared to take brilliant photographs. Here are a few tricks that will surely level up your mobile photography:
1. The Rule of Third
The Rule of Third is an essential photography technique that can be utilized to improve the composition of the image. It is one of the most useful and important techniques to learn as it can be applied in all kinds of photography to produce images that are more appealing and engaging. This is where activating those gridlines on your camera comes in handy. The gridlines, with two vertical and horizontal lines each, divide the frame into 9 grids. You place your subject along those lines or at their intersections. The main idea of the Rule of Thirds is to not place your subject at the dead center. An off-center composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more interesting.
2. Frame within a frame
A frame within a frame is a compositional technique in photography that improves your image in many ways. A photographer uses something within the frame of the scene to frame their main subject, creating a second frame within the image. This technique will make your main subject stand out within the image adding depth and layers to an otherwise flat and boring image. The ‘frame within a frame’ images look mysterious and intriguing. You don’t need fancy DSLR to take images using this technique. You can find natural as well as man-made frames for your subjects, such as trees, bushes, windows, buildings, and so on.
3. Fill the frame
The edges of the viewfinder of your camera are referred to as the frame. Filling the frame is another composition technique that will make your shots more interesting. The idea of filling the frame is to get closer to your subject and make it a significant portion of the final photograph. This way you exclude the unnecessary confusion around the subject and make the subject stand out. By filling the frame you are bringing up more details, patterns, and mood of the subject. Next time you take a picture of a person or a flower or anything, don’t be afraid to get closer.
4. Leading lines
In photography, leading lines are one of the most effective and under-utilized compositional tools. You can use the leading lines to draw a viewer’s attention to the main subject. As human beings, our eyes are naturally drawn along the lines; they can be vertical, horizontal, parallel, diagonal, converging, and so on. You can create a very powerful, engaging, and interesting photo using such leading lines. Leading lines can be both natural (such as a river, field, etc.) and man-made (such as a road, bridge, etc.). You can add depth and a sense of perspective to your image if you make the good use of these leading lines.
Symmetry is where one half of the image is nearly or completely identical to the other, which can be top/bottom, left/right or diagonal split. The line that splits an image into two such halves is called the line of symmetry. Symmetrical images are aesthetically balanced and pleasing to the eyes of the viewers. Symmetry is all around us if we pay more attention. Why not use this powerful photographic tool while taking pictures? You can photograph using natural symmetry (horizon, reflection on lakes, and so on) or the man-made symmetry (such as buildings, staircases, and so on) and create a remarkable image.
6. The Rule of Odds
The Rule of Odds is one of the rules of photographic compositions. It states that the images become more appealing to the eyes when there is an odd number of subjects. For example, if you are trying to compose photographs of more than one subject, then instead of using two, use three or five or seven and so on. However, three is considered the most appealing option while 9 or more is considered as not so great as our human brain considers them as a group. Try taking pictures of three flowers or three candles or three pens and see the difference for yourself.
7. Find a unique angle
Most people take pictures at the usual eye-level and create the same boring photographs. We see the world at the eye level or sometimes at the chair level when we are seated and sometimes lower than that if we are sitting on the floor. Viewpoint or point of view (POV) plays a major role in a photographic composition. Just think out of the box while taking pictures. Change the perspective and try taking pictures from a different viewpoint, from a unique angle, which might be awkward but you will be amazed by the results you get.
8. Set the focus yourself
Setting the focus yourself or using a manual focus mode gives you the liberty of adjusting the focus according to your need. When using our mobile phone’s camera to take pictures, we simply point and click. The phone automatically sets parameters making it simple and easy and we don’t seem to care anymore about the manual functions. If you want to improve your mobile photography, choosing to set the focus yourself will help you a great deal. There are many camera apps available that offer DSLR like functions.
9. Silhouette photography
In photography, a silhouette is defined as a subject that appears dark against a light background. Silhouette photography quickly grabs anyone’s attention with the striking contrast between dark and light, the simplicity, mystery, and beauty. It is one of my favorite techniques to take photographs. You can take a silhouette photograph with any kind of bright source of light but the sun during the sunset and sunrise is the most common. Make sure to find an open space like a field, a beach, and so on to avoid distracting elements.
10. Pay attention to detail
Last but not least, paying attention to detail can result in a great photograph. Instead of just pointing and shooting like a lot of people, you can actually better your mobile photography with a little effort of paying attention to detail. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the macro shots. A detail shot highlights the details that viewers might not have otherwise noticed and provoke their imagination. Sometimes it is that little detail that tells a huge story, which can be powerful more than anything.
These are the techniques I follow when I take pictures with my smartphone. You can try some of these photograph composition techniques and compare the results with your earlier point-and-shoot pictures. I’m sure you will be amazed by the results. What are you waiting for? Take your mobile photography to the next level and stun your viewers.
Let me know if these tips and techniques are helpful to you. I’d love to hear from you.