As more and more people become comfortable using their smartphone’s built-in cameras for grabbing quick snapshots and using apps like Instagram to share them with other mobile photographers over the Internet, mobile photography is becoming a broader and more accepted field of photography that embraces the limitations and imperfections that come with the territory and seeks to leave its own imprint on the world without necessarily replacing or displacing any other aspects of photography. With that in mind, we have some tips for any would-be mobile photographers out there to keep in mind the next time they reach for their smartphone in order to grab a quick snapshot to add to their growing digital stockpile!
1) Clean the lens — It’s easy to forget to clean your phone’s camera lens regularly but you should do it. Between all the transfers from your pocket to your backpack or purse, being carried around, set on tables, couches, on the ground, and all points in between, the lens is going to pick up a fair bit of dust, dirt, and grime. Wipe it off!
2) Don’t use the zoom — The zoom built into your camera’s software isn’t true optical zoom. It’s digital zoom which will result in pixelation and artifacts in your images. Using it will decrease the quality of your images significantly.
3) Composition is still important — Just because you’re taking photos on your phone doesn’t mean you can ignore all of the rules of composition entirely. Remember things like the Rule of Thirds, to not use distracting backgrounds, not to over-rely on post-processing to fix everything, keep your camera steady and stable, and find something interesting to capture.
4) Check your settings — Adjust your focus and your lighting settings as needed. Just because you’re shooting on a phone doesn’t mean you have no controls at all!
5) Take multiple shots from multiple angles — Don’t rely on just one shot. Take multiple shots from several angles and use your camera’s editing software to help you composite them together.
Mobile photography is a great way to get started in photography if you’re interested in it. Just remember to embrace the limitations instead of letting them irritate you as you follow the advice above and you’ll be off to a good start!
— da Bird