Photography continues to be an exciting aspect of our vacations, weekend sprees or eating out sessions. Learning professional Photography is also a popular Bucket List item! And while everyone has the latest photo equipment from a DSLR camera to a battery of lenses, Smartphone Photography is increasingly getting more popular!
There are times when you have the perfect photo-worthy situation (that brilliant silhouette against the sunset, that dessert which has been plated exotically or that cute puppy staring at you) – when you don’t have your DSLR or have run out of batteries or you simply don’t have enough time to get armed! And it’s your smartphone that stands up to the occasion!
The Itch List asked photographers and photo bloggers on their tips and tricks for great smartphone photography!
Low Light Photos
Travel photographer, Sanyukta Kulkarni, who exhibits in Mumbai, shares – ‘Dont use a flash for low light or night photos – photos with flash are badly lit! Not to mention red eye and blurs. Instead, change your phone camera settings – change the ISO to a higher number and use the Image Stabilizer option (If your smartphone camera does not have these features, you can use an app). Of course, make sure your camera is steady to avoid blurs (by resting it on a steady surface instead of holding it mid air or by using a tripod).
Prashanth Krishna, Photographer and Photography trainer (ClickPK) shares that – smartphones, as you would know, have a digital zoom – which is basically pixel expansion that deteriorates picture quality. So ditch the zoom function in your smartphone camera – instead, click in far zoom out and then crop the picture to the detail you wish.
Using the HDR function
Partha Rao, Lomographer and Analog geek, lost his DSLR on a trip in Madrid. He rediscovered shooting with a smartphone camera then and has never looked back! He shares that the HDR function can be used effectively in a phone camera. Especially when clicking landscape photos that have a lot of contrast variations make a photo unbalanced – either too bright or too dull. For example, use it when you want to click a mountain with clouds – with the HDR function, you get both mountains and clouds clearly.
Motion Shots in Smartphone Photography
Deepti Asthana, photographer and a travel blogger (DA Travelography) shares that for motion shots it is best to use the burst function of your smartphone camera. That way you can choose the picture with the best output.
Accessories for the Smartphone Camera
Accessories will help enhance your smartphone photography! Here are some of the popular and handy ones that you can use. And we will spare you the most popular – or should we say unpopular – selfie stick monopod ;).
- Add-On Lenses – give you a variety of angles like wide angles, fish eye or macro lenses for close ups. Add-on Lenses are usually clip-ons (more convenient) or screw-ins (more firmly fixed). Partha recommends that you buy the cheaper fish eye lenses available that you can experiment with (available for $2-5) and then invest in more expensive lenses (like the Olloclip 4-in-1 lens, which will set you back by about $70).
- Shutter remotes – are great, especially while taking group photos or pictures of yourself (solo travelers, hear ye) without having to use the selfie-stick. Adjust your shot and then go ahead and remote click. Shutter remotes are available for $8 onwards.
- Tripods – are essential when you need that steady shot (especially low light shots). Invest in a good tripod. Prashanth has found the Gorilla Pod quite effective for smartphones and cost about $20.
There is always a dilemma (and often a debate) between whether or not to post-process your photos.
Pratap J, a post processing expert with Darter Photography in India, shares that digital cameras capture information on a chip and the technology inside the camera adds color, enhances the photos, and gives an output in a format which is useful in the real world (JPG). So unless you’re shooting RAW, you’re actually letting the camera process the image for you.
Here are some useful camera apps for taking pictures and post-processing:
- Camera + is an effective app to take pictures. Partha, shares that Camera + gives you more control, like when you want to meter your photo (setting the combination of shutter speed & aperture) or say you want to set the AE (auto exposure) or AF (autofocus) lock.
- Snapseed (by Google) and VSCO are really powerful post processing apps. Deepti Asthana who often uses these recommends you explore their features for photo correction, enhancement, filters, aspect ratios while cropping and sharing photos post editing.
- Lightroom – while only a desktop app (not yet available on smartphones), is a great tool for photographers. Sanyukta often uses Lightroom (although, when she doesnt have access to her laptop, Instagram is her favourite editing tool on the go).
So explore and experiment with your smartphone camera features for great photos! Add it to your Itch List.