I use my phone’s camera far more than I would have ever expected a few years ago. Sure, they never really compete with large sensor cameras and interchangeable lenses, but they’ve come a long way. I always have it with me. It’s more than good enough for a lot of the snaps I want to grab while I’m out and about. It’s convenient. But, that convenience doesn’t have to come at the expense of sloppiness.
Composition and light are still important. Sure, phones have some limitations, but there’s ways around many of those, too. In this video, French photographer Serge Ramelli offers 7 tips to get better photography with your phone.
Some of the suggestions in the video are common to a lot of digital photography. Like the first one about avoiding busy and distracting scenes. This is true regardless of what you’re shooting with. Slightly underexposing skies is also common with mirrorless and DSLR cameras, too, to retain detail in the highlights. While others are definitely specific to mobile phones and other very small sensor cameras.
- Compose the elements to communicate one simple message
- For best results, underexpose your skies
- For better night or sunset photography, use a tripod
- Use a photo app that allows slow shutter speed to create long exposures
- Retouch your photos using Snapseed
- Use printed backdrops to simulate bokeh and shallow depth of field
- Use the sun to create stunning portraits
I don’t really put my phone on a tripod unless I’m shooting video with it. Carrying around a full size tripod just seems a little cumbersome. If I’m going to do that, I might as well take a “real camera” out with me. But, something like the Manfrotto Pixi is perfect for a phone. I have a couple of those myself, and they’re what I use for quick videos with my phone.
There’s three camera apps I use with my phone. Now that Raw support has been added to iOS, Camera+ and 645 Pro are my two main camera apps. For the times when I really don’t want to have to think about it, Microsoft Pix works surprisingly well (certainly better than the default iOS camera app). There’s no manual controls with Microsoft Pix, but it does quite a good job of auto-exposing and blending exposures to fake an increased dynamic range.
Snapseed (Android) is my go-to option for editing the shots, too, although Lightroom Mobile has come a very long way in the last few months. If you’ve got a CC subscription and you’re shooting Raw, you may be better using that so you can sync it up to your desktop.
What mobile photography tips do you have to offer? Do you even use your phone for photos or just take a mirrorless or DSLR with you everywhere you go?