If you look around, you’ll notice that smartphones have changed and permeated virtually all aspects of our lives.
One of the most noticeable is documenting memorable milestones in our lives, as well as regular events through the integrated camera. And this has mainly been brought about by the fact that leading phone manufacturers continue to churn out powerful cameras with similar features. However, the fact that your phone has a quality camera does not translate directly to high-quality photographs.
The following should help you get the most out of the camera.
1. Make sure that your lens/sensor is clean
This is perhaps the easiest way to get better quality pictures with your smartphone. The lens act as the primary light entry points into the phone. If the lens is dirty, then the photo will be of lower quality. Typical culprits include dust, grease, oil, stains, and fingerprints. Use a clean, soft cloth to clean the lens. You will be surprised by the difference.
2. Burst-Mode on
Most smartphones cameras are built for still shots, rather than moving shots. Which makes it hard to shoot fast actions such as sports without resulting to some blurred images and warping. In fast rolling events, the subject usually has moved before the camera can capture the shot. To capture the rapid actions, change the settings to burst-mode to increase the chances of getting clear shots.
Compared to DSLRs and other forms, smartphones tend to have smaller light sensors. This results in fewer details and clarity than you would find in the professional cameras. However, this should not get in the way of taking quality photos. You need better external lighting such as soft natural light as is found in the mornings and evenings, adjust exposure settings, or switch to the High Dynamic Range for light optimisation, or medium bright artificial lighting. Alternatively, invest in an app that offers light filtering.
Another reason DSLRs offer better quality photographs is the allocated aperture focus allocation. This is a handy feature unavailable in most smartphones. To counter the otherwise blurry effects, use the Auto-Focus feature to create a more realistic depth of field for objects in varying distance from the phone.
However, this presents one disadvantage – auto exposure. This feature results in too dark or bright photo sections, especially in cases where the objects sharply contrast with each other. In such instances, switch the Auto-Focus/Auto-Exposure Lock on.
One of the ways that people spoil otherwise good shots is through zooming. Zooming tends to over-blow the image, leading to blurry results. Rather than zooming, move closer to the object. Such proximity allows accommodation of the primary objects into the frame, more control over lighting, and shots that are more detailed. In cases where this is impossible, integrate other features in the front and background to provide other areas of focus such as a backdrop.
Editing tools exist to make up for either poor photography skills, or unfortunate turn of events such as blurry images. Top end phones have top-notch editing tools.
Third party tools such as photo editing applications assist the user to eliminate flaws such as red eyes, colour, brightness, and poor contrast. However, the key here is to edit, rather than alter the photos using filters.
Editing brings out photo qualities that you would otherwise enjoy with the professional cameras. Furthermore, useful editing tools offer handy ways to salvage poor quality pictures of otherwise good subjects.
7. Camera Apps for you phone
Camera Apps offers more quality control when it comes to smartphone cameras. Fortunately, many developers, especially for iOS and Android platforms, provide a vast array of photo apps to choose from.
Focus more on the apps that offer more features, a lively support, bug fixes, as well as frequent upgrades. However, getting the app is the least of the tasks: learning how to use it correctly is of most importance. Internalise the description, features, operating manual and tips on getting the most out of the app. Also, practice taking different shots. This saves you on time, effort, and of course embarrassments when you are required to take photos for real.
8. Avoid the flash when you can
Though most smartphones will often feature the flash as a key selling point, most do not work as well as pitched. Phone flashes are merely a burst of LED light at an uncontrolled duration and intensity. DSLRs feature strobes instead of flashes to freeze the frame for the right illumination for the photograph. The compact size of the phone, compared to the professional cameras, often means that the flash is located close to the camera, resulting in a moment of blinding glare.
When taking the photos in the dark, seek a secondary light source such as stage lights, brightly lit equipment, and such. If the secondary light is not unavailable, then you have no choice but to use the flash. After all, a low-quality image is better than none at all.
9. About infra-red sensing
Other than having an IR blaster sensor, most smartphone cameras can also detect the presence of infra-red lights. For those not familiar with this, this is an invisible beam of light used to relay information between a transmitter and receiver. One handy way you can use the camera is to check if your remote control is working.
Though invisible to the naked eye, infra-red light renders as a purple light on the phone’s display when viewed via the phone camera. A simple photograph of this can help with troubleshooting the TV remote, as the presence of the infra-red light indicates that the batteries are still working.
10. Make use of your phone’s high-resolution setting
Most smartphones have a different resolution setting, ranging from Small Resolution to Large. The highest resolution setting translates to better quality images. However, this comes at the expense of storage, as high-resolution images take up more space. Today, this should not be a problem for phones with large internal storage capacities. Alternatively, invest in external storage such as SD cards and Cloud Storage.
Though most people judge the capability of the smartphone by the number of indicated megapixels, there are some settings, apps and secondary attachments that significantly improve the quality of the photo. The above tips should come in handy in turning a seemingly dull phone camera into a prime photography tool.