I recently travelled to Spain. As with all of my local and abroad trips in the past, I brought my smartphone to use the first-class camera instead of for communication. I checked to make sure my phone had lots of memory, that I packed a pocket charger to never get stuck without battery life and headed off for an amazing vacation.
When I returned from my holiday, I eagerly showed the photos I took with my family and friends to share the amazing life-changing things I saw. As I went through the photos, I found myself feeling frustrated as the photos failed to reflect the real beauty of the places I visited. The Park Guell looked like a DIY bathroom mosaic project. The Black Madonna looked like Barbie after a night out with Ken. I was mortified and ready to exchange my smartphone for a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex camera).
Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second. Marc Riboud
Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.
After sitting down and getting over my disappointing photos while endlessly trying to edit and add filters to them, I realized that the camera was not the problem. The problem was that I did not understand the camera and what it could do. I used a world-class camera to take ordinary photos without putting any thought into the pictures I tried to capture. I just pulled my smartphone from my pocket, opened the camera app and clicked the “Capture” button. I expected the world-class camera to just know what I wanted without applying any of the first-class features for taking professional photos. This is a pretty impossible task even for a smartphone that can do almost anything except make you a cup of coffee.
I started thoroughly researching my smartphone camera, comparing how it measured up to professional cameras on the market. I spent months talking to professional photographers in different fields about the use of the smartphone cameras and if it is possible to take professional photos with these devices. What I found was amazing! The wildlife photographer I met said his safari clients would sit and wait at the waterhole for the animals to come down and drink. They used their smartphones as they waited to take photos of the scenes around them and not their expensive cameras. Even professionals who have top-quality cameras use their smartphones to take amazing photos because they know how to use them.
After months and months of research, I found that the professionals all agree on these five EASY tips to become a PRO smartphone photographer.
What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce. Karl Lagerfeld
What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.
If you are anything like me, your smartphone is attached to your hip. Whether you keep it in your pocket or a bag, it is always ready for you to take it out and snap a golden moment. During the day, the small camera lens gets in contact with a lot of dust, dirt and even your fingerprints when you continually use it. A dirty lens can have a negative effect on your photos.
Before you take any photo, use a soft, light and dry lens cloth to clean the camera lens. Don't use any rough material as it may scratch it and result in poor quality photos. This small habit can take your photos from an average to a PRO level!
At every family function since I can remember, my mom would hand me the camera and tell me to take photos. She would say, "Take a lot of photos. Remember, it is for free." Therefore, my next tip is from my mother: TAKE MULTIPLE SHOTS!
Gone are the days of buying a disposable camera for a 10-day holiday while only having 30 or so chances to take decent photos. On top of that, you have to pay to get them developed even before you know if they are any good! This is why you should use and embrace the beautiful gift of digital photography. You can always delete the photos you are not happy with afterwards. Remember, Mother knows best.
By reading this blog post, you are already on the right track towards becoming a PRO Smartphone Photographer. Learn as much as you can. Photography is art, which is why there is no right or wrong. HOWEVER, you can empower yourself with the knowledge to improve your style and grow as a photographer. You don't want all your photos over the next 10-20 years to look the same. Take chances, experiment and (more importantly) LEARN, LEARN, LEARN! To quote the words of the late great BB King: "The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you."
Sharing is caring! When it comes to your photos, that basic concept learned as children cannot be any truer. You have access to so many social media platforms where you can post your photos. Use these platforms to allow people to see your work. By sharing with your friends and family, you can later review how your style has changed, the new things you have learned over the years and how you have grown as a smartphone photographer. A photo isn't worth much if it is locked away in your photo library. Remember, you are capturing moments that are here for a moment and then gone forever. Share them! I remember going through boxes and albums full of my parents’ childhood photos, but that is all it was – photos, memories, stories trapped in boxes and photo albums. We live in the great era of the internet and social media. Use it!
The most important tip of all is to know your equipment. If you don't remember anything from this post except this tip, I would see this post as a success. When you take the time to get to know your equipment (i.e. your smartphone camera), you will fall in love with smartphone photography and take PRO smartphone photos. As I mentioned at the outset, I was ready to ditch my smartphone camera and buy an expensive DSLR camera just because I did not know my equipment. If you know what your camera is capable of doing but more importantly how to use it, you are more than halfway toward taking PRO smartphone photos. Play around with the different features and functions your smartphone has and get to know your camera. By learning through trial and error, you will quickly understand what works and what doesn't.
All Photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. Susan Sontag
All Photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.
Now that you have some tips on how to take better smartphone camera photos, it is time to take the next step towards becoming a pro smartphone photographer, you can download my free video – “7 Things You Didn’t Know Your Smartphone Camera Could Do” – by clicking this link. It doesn’t matter if you use iOS or Android - I've got your back. I will show you how to expose and focus as well as what HDR is and when to use it.
Here is your opportunity to get to know your equipment. Are you ready to become a PRO Smartphone photographer? If your answer is “yes”, then let’s get started!
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