Maximize Your Smartphone Photography

I love Instagram and Google+ because I love photography. I know I won’t be able to explore the whole world in my lifetime, but I love that others are willing to share their world with me through photos. I’ll openly admit that I do not think I’m a great photographer. I’ll also say that I take better pictures with my phone than I do with a standard point and shoot camera. That’s only because I have thoroughly explored the photo editor and settings on my HTC One M8. I know it takes longer to shoot and then edit your shot to get the best out of it but if I’m going to share my world with friends in India, Malaysia, or Australia, I want them to see the best version of it.

Let’s start with the basics. Tap to focus is fairly universal when it comes to smartphones, iOS, Android, or Windows. Take the time to tap on the screen, it doesn’t only focus your shot, but it often adjusts lighting so that subject is well lit and not the background or foreground. Take time to let the camera balance out the lighting and hold as still as possible when you take the shot. You’ll be surprised how much this will instantaneously improve your shots.

Here’s a big don’t…Please don’t zoom digitally. I know it’s tempting to try and get as close a shot as you can get but digital zoom results in a grainier shot that looks pretty bad when it’s all said and done. Instead, take the shot that your camera can capture without zoom and crop when you’re finished. Cropping is simply trimming you shot to the size that best captures what you intended to focus on. The final shot will have a lot less noise and the bigger frame allows for more leeway in cropping.

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Don’t be afraid to explore your pre-installed filters and editing tools. Most phones come with a wealth of software to enhance your pictures. My phone has a DSLR-like affect called Ufocus. It allows you to put your subject in focus and blur your background in the shot. Don’t be afraid to go black and white either. It is amazing how certain photos can take on a whole new personality with a quick change to black and white.

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VSCO Cam is an excellent photo editing app that is seriously worth exploring. There are many free filters available and even more that you can purchase. They do a wonderful job of putting a subtle twist on your pics and you can dial down the effect by adjusting the filter to your liking. I have found that this is my go to, on the fly filter app when I’m out and about capturing pictures for social media. I tend to lean heavily on their analog filters.

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Another great editing tool is Snapseed. I’ll be honest with you, this is not a beginners editor app. But it is easy enough to navigate and begin to use for almost anyone. It will truly transform your pictures. I can get sucked into an edit for so long because of the amount of control I have over the final look of the photo. I tend to use this one sparingly, only for lack of time.

There are so many more apps out there. We are just scratching the surface. But please take some time with your photos and give editing a try. I love photography for all that it is: capturing moments of life that might otherwise be missed. So take the time and give your photos the attention they deserve, your friends and family will cherish them even more.

As always, let me know how I can help. I would love to explore this topic further with you.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post. I’m a new blogger and I’ve been using my iPhone for photos and I’m trying to figure out how to get better pics. I’d like to buy a better camera, but it’s not in my budget now. Thanks for the tips. If you have a moment, check out some of my pics that I’ve posted and tell me your thoughts. http://www.tiffanyrebekahlifestyle.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. uscarlos says:

      Your photos look great. You seem to like to take a lot of close ups, do you use the macro feature? An Ollie clip my be worth looking into for those close ups too. Your blog looks awesome! I need to look into developing mine further. My layout is pretty minimal right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, I’ve been reading tips from more experienced bloggers. I haven’t tried those features but that’s good information to look into. I’m not that experienced w/ photography yet. Thanks for the tips!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ryan Ramos says:

    Carlos, great post. I’m really starting to get into mobile photography ever so ce I got the m7 especially now that I gave the m9. Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. uscarlos says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you like the post. The M9 has a lot to offer, you owe it to yourself to explore double exposure, prismatic, photo shapes, etc. The custom filter option has a hidden one touch feature that does a nice job of tweaking your pics easily too! Check it out.

      Like

  3. Ant Pruitt says:

    Good stuff. Best remark was not to use the zoom. The best zoom on any smartphone is your FEET. As Sweeney has said in our smartphone photographers community

    Liked by 1 person

    1. uscarlos says:

      Smile now, crop later!

      Like

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