Mobile Photography Tips and Tricks for Beginners

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It’s World Photo Day! Today, we celebrate the great art of photography by giving out a few tips and tricks on mobile photography.

But before we move forward, you might ask… why celebrate World Photo Day?

According to The Economic Times:

World Photo Day originates from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Frenchmen Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1837.

On January 9, 1839, the French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype process. On August 19, the French government purchased the patent and announced the invention as a gift “free to the world”.

This day is not only dedicated to those who love the craft and are passionate about the craft, but those who are willing to learn about taking photographs, too. While there are a lot of DSLR enthusiasts nowadays but let’s face it – mobile photography is the new medium.

Our phones are very accessible and the latest innovations on mobile technology allowed this one single device to do almost everything. We own a phone, we have the world in our hands. Gone were the days that mobile phones are just for calls and texts. We can do almost everything on it. Even access our very computers remotely through our phones.

One feature that every new phone mobile always boasts about is the camera. It’s not just a battle of rear cameras anymore. Nor is it on front cameras to take better selfies. We have phones now with dual cameras with different functions and capacities.

Indeed, phone photography has become so wide, it seems like everyone wants to do it. And if you’ve only just begun learning the art, here are a few tips and tricks you can do to take better photos on your phones.

Learn to Use the Gridlines

Your phone’s camera always comes with gridlines. Take a look at your camera settings and make sure you turn it on.

The gridlines can actually aid you in taking great photos. For one, it helps you find the perfect angle in that frame. The lines also aid you to see how the lines in your images are aligned and not too skewed.

Be familiar with the Rule of Thirds. If you don’t what that is, according to Digital Photography School:

The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts.

This 9 parts also show us four lines which are four important parts of the image. To put it simply, it is in these four parts that you should frame or situate the focus of your image.

The grid lines help you picture out the grid and parts so it would be easy for your to frame each shot you make.

Focus is Key

Knowing what to focus on is a huge key in taking great photos. Choose your subject and put the focus on it. This is one setting in mobile photography that’s been made so easy for a young photographer.

Just tap on the area you want to focus on and you’ll see the changes that your camera makes. Just be a bit careful in using this because aside from focus, it also adjusts the light source.

The bottomline is you should know which part of your framing you want your viewers to focus on so you can adjust everything around it to make your subject shine.

Tinker with Your Phone’s Camera Settings

You phone’s camera doesn’t come in full ‘auto’ mode. You can actually customize them or there are camera modes or presets that you can play with.

For one, you can try to tinker with brightness and contrast settings or manually set the ISO of your phone’s camera. You can also use the different camera modes for what it’s best for. Some phones have a portrait mode which is best when you’re taking a photo of yourself because it tends to blur out the background. You can also play around with the Panoramic mode to take photos of the wide horizon that you just want to capture its entirety.

Or you can simply use the Manual mode to adjust every setting entirely! Don’t be intimidated by it because you can always try to experiment the best settings for a perfect shot.

Flat Lay Makes It Slay

Some photographers more life in the background… that means something busy and could add up to the art. But if you find yourself with something so bare, don’t fret. Actually, your photo can still slay with flat lay.

Flat or plain backgrounds can add up to the beauty of your photos. How? These flat backgrounds can actually help bring out the color of your subject. It also brings the focus of your audience straight to your subject and not anything in the background.

Reflection as an Art

Seeing reflections in an image can sometimes be distracting especially when you didn’t even notice it in the first place. That’s why you should be keen enough to check your shot if there are any glass or water around that could distort your image through the reflections it could make.

But this doesn’t mean that reflections are that bad! It could lead to beautiful photos as well.

Reflections can be taken as a form of art. With the right subject and the reflection placed at the right angle and place, you could get the best effect in your photo. Use the mirror for a dramatic selfie effect, or the glass window to create an illusion of space. You can also use water splats on the floor to reflect graffiti art down the alley way! The best thing about mobile photography is that you don’t have to put too much effort to take a photo that low. Ain’t our phones just convenient?!

The Beauty of Leading Lines

Taking a scene that has too many lines? Look for a best subject to focus on and frame your photo using the lines that would lead to that very subject. That’s what we call leading lines.

Imagine being in the woods and you just want to take a photo of that pathway. There are two thing you can use as leading lines. Either you use the pathway itself as it is an obvious choice, or the line of tress at the top if you want to focus something above (the horizon or the sky, maybe).

The point is using lead lines to bring  and draw attention of your audience to your subject by using the natural ‘lines’ you can see in the image itself. You don’t have to point at it; your photo’s leading lines would point it for you.

Be Creative with Symmetry

Symmetry also looks cool – especially for those who likes their photos clean and organized.

Find a subject that is either a piece of symmetry in itself or is situated in between the same background elements. For example, a clock in between two wall ornaments, or a bird house in between two windows.

The beauty of symmetry is the balance in itself. It might seem plain for others but the sameness and balance of both sides of an image can be pretty soothing to look.

Perspective for a Better Perspective

It’s easy to take photos. Just point then shoot, right? But what if you take at a different angle for a different perspective?

Looking for the right angle is not just panning right or left, up or down. It could also mean twisting and turning your camera, your hand, or even your body to look for a different perspective in taking your photos.

One of the most common example (but is actually a good one) is taking a photo of a building from a worm’s eye view. Twisting it a little to make it look like it’s falling down on you could be a plus.

There are many ways that you can take photos at different angles. Try to look for a good spot to take these photos, too, especially when you’re out travelling and you spot a beautiful scene. Make sure it’s captivating and would draw your audience in.

Abstract Art Through Mobile Photography

See some really cool subject but don’t know how to make of it? Maybe it could pass off as abstract art!

We sometimes come across patterns and textures that we just don’t know what to make out of it. Maybe the key is to not focus or zoom in too much. Step back a little and you might notice that these patterns are actually symmetrically proportioned in a way and can make a good abstract art.

Make sure to frame that well to see the unexplainable beauty you have discovered.

Editing Can Be Good, Too

Last but not the least, don’t be afraid to edit your photos. This is one of the most accessible thing to do in mobile photography – downloading apps and editing photos on the go.

Somehow, some ‘virtuoso’ underestimate those who edit their photos and say that these are newbies that are just relying on editing apps to make their photos good. Admit it, you’re a beginner that’s why you’re reading this… but know that it is okay to edit your photos. Sometimes, there are subjects we want to take photos of but the lighting around is just challenging. So go ahead and adjust the brightness and contrasts!

There are other factors in your photo’s composition that may need a little tweaking. But really… it’s all okay and it can be good for you, too. Learn from the adjustments you had to make or the presets you use. You’ll then be able to use them and apply right away when you take the photos. In time, you’ll be taking photos without the need to edit.


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