There's nothing like technology to make the simple things in life much easier. There was a time when people actually believed that if you smiled in a picture it would cause the camera to magically break down. Luckily times have certainly greatly improved since those early photography days. Today we have the power of a professional camera in our pockets in the shape of a smart phone or iPhone or any electrical device that shoots high resolution photos. We at Intimate Canvas have seen our fair share of bad photography which is why we wanted to share some tips on how to achieve a better photograph using 21st century cellular devices.
1. Keep Your Photos Simple
Steve Jobs used to say, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and he was clearly onto something. New photographers often over complicate their photos by having too much going on in the frame, which distracts the viewer and makes it much harder to create a harmonious composition. The simplest things tend to be the best, lots of elements in an image can be distracting. Try and shoot subjects against simple plain backgrounds unless the background adds to creative style of the entire composition (photograph).
2. Rule of Thirds (Composition)
If you're just starting out, think of it as a hard rule before you start breaking it. With the rule of thirds, imagine a grid of lines on your smartphone's display, dividing it into thirds both horizontally and vertically. In fact, most smartphones come with an option to display that very grid. With the grid up, try placing your subjects along those lines or at the points where the lines intersect. It will make the photos much more interesting than being smack dab in the middle of your frame. It's also a good idea to do this with your horizon lines, too, so that your horizon never cuts through the center of your frame. Once you get into the habit of following the rule of thirds, you'll start to have a better sense of a photo's balance. When you're at the stage where you think you're getting the hang of it, start breaking the rule and see what works and what doesn't.
For the best results frame your subject within either one third of the frame or two thirds of the frame. Understanding and mastering this rule will ensure your composition works on every occasion. This is one of the main factors that separate professional and amateur photography regardless of what camera you use.
3. Set your Camera Resolution High
It goes without saying that the higher the resolution of your photo, the better quality it is. Use the highest setting possible for the best printing options. When taking images with a smartphone camera, try to go as close as possible to the subject rather than zooming in when you take a shot. You will get better-resolution photos cropped, than zoomed in. So if you need to move closer then just do that rather than zoom in.
4. Lighting is Important
Smartphone cameras have tiny sensors compared to DSLRs, so they capture less light and, therefore, less detail. It's not as noticeable on the smartphone screen, but you may see some blurriness when blown up on a computer monitor. Bottom line? You need good lighting to get good pictures on a smartphone – or a good app. Good lighting is paramount to capturing images with good color and clarity. “The harsh light in the middle of the day isn't the best, though,” Arndt says. He recommends choosing the softer light of morning and late afternoon. Of course, life doesn't always hand us perfect natural lighting. If a scene is too dim, increase the exposure to allow more light into the sensor; if the scene is too bright, decrease the exposure.
Android: Tap the sun icon and adjust the slider between -2 and +2.
iPhone: Tap and hold on a particular area of the image until a yellow square appears, then tap the sun icon at its right and drag the slider until the image brightness is to your liking.
Windows Phone: Tap Settings in camera mode and select Brightness.
BlackBerry: You can pick different preset exposure levels, such as Action or Night.
5. Avoid Camera Shake
One of the biggest culprits of blurry photos is camera shake. This happens when the phone moves too much while the picture is being taken, resulting in motion blur on the object you are photographing. To minimize shake and eliminate the blur hold your phone steady with 2 hands, bring your elbow to your side, and hold your breath. Another way to reduce camera shake is to prop your phone on a steady base for extra stability. This could be a table, a wall or the ground. Another option is a tripod, and now you can find many different types created specifically for mobile phone use. Even if you have a steady grip or are using a tripod, often when you actually press the shutter release button, the camera moves slightly. Most of the time this slight movement won’t matter much; but it’s safer to tap more lightly to avoid potential blurriness. As a rule to thumb, stay still, before, during, and after you take a picture, until you are sure that the picture has indeed been taken. Using the digital zoom will result in an ugly pixelated image. If you want to get a close-up, it’s better to take the photo without the zoom and crop later with an app. Zooming in will also make the camera shake even more pronounced – a recipe for a blurry picture.