Smartphones aren’t specifically made to take high-quality pictures — at least, most of them aren’t — but the majority of us still rely on them for capturing the bulk of our memories.
Achieving professional-level photography without professional-level equipment is just not going to happen for you, but the skilled among us definitely manage to capture frame-worthy memories on-the-go and have the Instagram account to show for it.
If you’re a keen photographer who doesn’t want to shell out for pro-grade equipment, these seven tricks will help you take better pictures with your smartphone.
1. Experiment with gridlines and the rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is a well-known photography principle that states the best places to align your subjects. If you imagine your image split into thirds (both vertically and horizontally, with two pairs of perpendicular lines), the lines that divide the image are the best places to feature your subjects. If you turn on gridlines, you won’t have to imagine these lines—you’ll be able to use them to guide how you frame your shot. To enable gridlines on Android, launch the camera app, then tap the settings icon, scroll down, and tap “Grid lines.”
2. Optimise your lighting
Good lighting is crucial to taking a great photo with your smartphone, but unfortunately, most smartphones are ill-equipped for flash photography and synthetic lighting. However, the LuMee smartphone case features bright LEDs on the front so you can have more control over how and when your subjects are illuminated. Furthermore, dual-lens cameras significantly enhance light absorption, meaning you can take better pictures in dimly-lit areas. Dual-lens cameras have a mono (black and white) as well as a bayer (color) lens. These two lenses enhance light absorption by utilising the extra light that comes into the mono lens, then fusing the B/W image with the color image to significantly enhance total light absorption.
3. Tap to focus
If you want to add some artistic flair, you can achieve the Bokeh effect (in which out-of-focus objects are blurred while one subject is clearly in focus) by simply tapping on the main subject. You can then zoom in or out on your subject while maintaining the blurred background.
4. Use negative space
Another important principle in photography aesthetics is the use of negative space; if used properly, negative space is an excellent tool to help your subject stand out. It can be anything, from an empty sky to a brick wall, so long as it doesn’t detract from the focus of your main subject.
5. Play with perspectives
Good photos show subjects in ways that they’re rarely seen. One of the best ways to demonstrate this quality is to play around with different perspectives you might not ordinarily take. For example, rather than taking all your photos head-on at eye level, consider laying down and taking a picture upward, or climbing to a higher vantage point and looking down (be safe about it though).
6. Use the editing features
Taking the photo is only the first step of the process. After it’s taken, most smartphones have nifty editing features that can help you bring out the photo’s true power. For example, if the lighting is too dim, you can crank up the brightness to compensate for it after the picture’s been taken. Or you can play with the contrast or saturation to make the photo ‘pop.’
7. Get a phone with a dual-lens camera
Some smartphones are better suited for taking photos than others. If you’ve dabbled in some of the above strategies, found success, and want even better quality photos, consider an upgrade. The Huawei P9 has a Leica dual-lens camera, and the iPhone 7 Plus. This is important because dual-lens cameras perform better in low-light conditions and reduce the effect of motion blur, resulting in better-lit, crisper, clearer images. Believe us when we say the photographs and videos taken with this high-tech in-phone camera show a marked improvement over most other smartphones currently on the market.
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