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7 Expert photography tips for taking better pictures with your smartphone

Words by MyFUJIFILM

March 20, 2024

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7 Expert photography tips for taking better pictures with your smartphone
In an age where smartphones have become an extension of ourselves, it's no surprise that phone photography has taken the world by storm. With the incredible advancements in smartphone camera technology, we now have the power to capture stunning images with a device that fits snugly in our pockets. 

But having a great camera at your disposal doesn't automatically guarantee great pictures by default. To truly elevate your phone photography game, you need to master some essential phone photography techniques.
Know your phone camera settings
Before you embark on your journey to capture breathtaking photos with your smartphone, it's crucial to familiarise yourself with your phone camera settings. 

Different smartphone models such as iPhone and Android offer various camera modes and options, so knowing how to navigate them can make a significant difference in your photography results.
iPhone vs Android phone photography
When comparing iPhone and Android smartphones for photography, the choice often hinges on personal preferences and specific needs. iPhones are renowned for their consistent photo quality, natural colour representation, and excellent low-light performance, making them an attractive choice for users who seek reliability and ease of use. The simplified camera interface and Smart HDR feature also contribute to a user-friendly experience. 

In contrast, Android devices offer a diverse array of options, including customisation of manual settings, access to innovative camera technologies, and support for third-party camera apps. This versatility caters to photography enthusiasts who desire greater creative control. But whichever device you possess, the following phone photography techniques can be applied to both systems easily. 
1. Explore camera modes
Most smartphones offer a variety of camera modes such as "Portrait," "Night," "Pro," and "Panorama." Understanding when and how to use these modes can significantly enhance your photography skills.
Portrait modes
Portrait mode is ideal for capturing stunning portraits with an added bokeh effect. Use this mode when you want to highlight a subject and create a professional shot.
Night mode
image
Night mode is designed to capture well-exposed images in low-light conditions. Night mode often requires longer exposure times, so it's essential to keep your phone stable on a firm surface or with the help of a tripod to avoid blur. 
Pro mode
Pro mode will allow you to manually adjust settings like ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. This mode grants you more creative control but requires some basic photography knowledge.
Panorama mode
Panorama mode is perfect for capturing wide landscapes or tall structures. Ensure that you adopt steady movements and overlap each shot slightly for seamless panoramas.
2. Understand HDR
High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a feature that combines multiple exposures of a scene to capture more detail in both bright and dark areas. Most smartphones have an automatic HDR mode that you can toggle on or off. Experiment with HDR to see how it improves your photos, especially in challenging lighting conditions.
3. Set the right aspect ratio
Consider the aspect ratio you're shooting in. The standard 4:3 ratio is versatile, but you can also choose widescreen 16:9 for a cinematic look or square 1:1 for Instagram-ready shots. The right aspect ratio depends on your creative vision for the photo.
4. Master essential photography techniques
Having a grasp of fundamental photography techniques is crucial for achieving great results from smartphone photography. These techniques apply to all types of photography, whether you're capturing landscapes, portraits, or macro shots.
Rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a basic principle of composition. Imagine your photo divided into a grid of nine equal parts by two horizontal and two vertical lines. Place your subject or points of interest along these lines or at their intersections to create a balanced and visually appealing composition.
Focus and exposure
Smartphones generally have a tap-to-focus feature. Tap on your subject to ensure it's the focal point of your image. You can also adjust the exposure by swiping up or down on the screen, which can help in tricky lighting situations.
Use the gridlines
Most camera apps offer gridlines that can help you align your shots using the rule of thirds and keep your horizons level. Enable gridlines in your camera settings for improved composition.
Leading lines
Look for lines in your environment that lead the viewer's eye into the photo. Roads, fences, and architectural elements can all be used as leading lines to add depth and interest to your images.
Symmetry and patterns 
Symmetrical compositions are often pleasing to the eye. Seek out symmetry in architecture, nature, or everyday objects. Or you could capture repeating patterns like pine cone spirals, brick facades, or even fences for a visually engaging effect.
Experiment with angles
Don't be afraid to get low or high for unique perspectives. Shooting from ground level or from a bird’s eye view can provide fresh viewpoints to make each of your shots unique in their own right.
Negative space
Incorporating negative space, or areas of your photo with minimal detail, can emphasise your subject and create a sense of balance and simplicity.

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5. Use proper lighting
Lighting is the essence of photography, and it's equally vital in phone photography. Good lighting can make an average photo extraordinary, while poor lighting can ruin a potentially great shot. 
Golden hour
The hours shortly after sunrise and before sunset offer soft, warm, and flattering light. Make the most of this magical time for stunning outdoor photos.
Avoid harsh sunlight
Direct sunlight can create harsh shadows and overexposed areas. If shooting in bright sunlight, try to find shade or use your body to cast a shadow over the subject.
Experiment with indoor lighting 
When shooting indoors, use natural window light or experiment with different artificial lighting sources to achieve the desired mood.
6. Utilise handy accessories and take care of your kit
While smartphones are incredibly versatile for photography, there are several accessories that can take your phone photography to the next level.
Tripods and stablisers
One of the challenges of smartphone photography is keeping the camera steady, especially in low light conditions or when shooting long exposures. Investing in a smartphone tripod or stabiliser can make a world of difference by eliminating camera shake.
Keep your lens clean
A dirty lens can result in hazy or blurry photos. Regularly clean your phone's camera lens with a soft, lint-free cloth to ensure clarity in your images.
External lenses
Clip-on lenses are available for smartphones, offering a range of creative options such as wide-angle, macro, and fisheye lenses. These accessories can expand your photography possibilities without the need for an expensive camera setup.
Remote shutter
A remote shutter control, whether physical or through a Bluetooth app, allows you to take photos without touching the screen. This reduces the risk of camera shake and is particularly useful for group selfies or long-exposure shots.
7. Compose creatively
A remote shutter control, whether physical or through a Bluetooth app, allows you to take photos without touching the screen. This reduces the risk of camera shake and is particularly useful for group selfies or long-exposure shots.
Post-processing and editing
While capturing great photos is important, some post-processing and editing can help enhance your images further. 
Use editing apps
Explore editing apps like Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed, or VSCO to fine-tune your photos. These apps offer a wide range of tools for adjusting exposure, colour, and sharpness.
Avoid over-editing
While editing can enhance your photos, it's essential to strike a balance. Avoid over-saturating colours or applying excessive filters that can make your images look unnatural.
Maintain image quality
When editing, ensure you save your photos at the highest resolution possible to maintain image quality. This will allow for better prints and more flexibility in the future.
Practice, patience, and experimentation
Improving your smartphone photography skills takes practice, patience, and a willingness to experiment. While the convenience of smartphone cameras can lead to quick snapshots, achieving exceptional results often requires dedication to the craft. 

Just like shooting on a Fujifilm camera, practising snapping photos on your smartphone allows you to become more familiar with your device's capabilities, enabling you to harness its full potential. 

Don't be discouraged by initial setbacks or less-than-perfect shots. Instead, view them as opportunities to learn and grow as a photographer.
Can smartphone photos be transformed into photo gifts?
These days, smartphone cameras have upwards of 12 megapixels, and although most Fujifilm cameras offer features of 26.1 megapixels and above - smartphones still offer a decent level of photographic quality that can be stretched into striking photo prints for bringing your space to life. 

Smartphone cameras now offer high-resolution capabilities, dynamic range, and advanced image processing, allowing you to capture detailed and vibrant images suitable for various MyFUJIFILM photo gift options. From canvas prints to making a personalised calendar, or creating custom photo books, smartphone photos can produce stunning results. 

But it’s important to remember that the final output quality may still depend on factors like the size and resolution of the original photo, the printing method used, and the level of post-processing applied. As a rule of thumb, the minimum resolution the photo should be is 72 pixels per inch at the size you want it printing. You can do this by dividing the number of pixels by the size of the image in inches, this will then give you the total pixels per inch.
Bring your smartphone photos to life with MyFUJIFILM
More often than not, our smartphone photos don’t tend to see the light of day, and instead stay hidden away on a Cloud service, or posted on social media.

Bring them to life with MyFUJIFILM, capture the essence of your favourite holiday with our quality photo prints, or peruse over cherished family memories with a beautiful photo book. 

Browse our range of quality photo gifts today.