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Smartphone Photography Tips

If you caught our recent Facebook live, we discussed some general tips related to smartphone photography. If you didn’t, you can catch it here:


Smartphone photography is nothing new. Cameras were in phones prior to the operating systems that flag them as “smart”, but what has changed is their quality. The cameras we now have in our pockets are more powerful than many of the digital cameras we owed just 10 years ago. The ability to take amazing photographs is right at our fingertips anytime we have our phone with us. And let’s face it, that’s all the time!


I’m up front about the fact that I have no experience in photography, so none of the editing I recommend requires any prior knowledge. Also, keep in mind that not only do the settings on each phone model differ, but even within versions of the same device the camera capabilities can vary. Much information about the camera on each phone is available online, so Google is my friend when it comes to learning a new device! The most important thing is that you feel comfortable using your device to capture the kind of photos you’d like. Below I’ve covered 4 basic tips to help you get the most of your smartphone camera. We’re always interested in the best way to utilize the features of our devices, so you have additional tips and tricks to share, we’d love to hear about them!


TIMING: You’ve likely had the unfortunate experience of missing a photographic moment because you couldn’t open the camera app on your device in time. Enhanced device security can require you to enter a pin, password, fingerprint, or even face scan to open. Oops, the moment is gone! Prevent this by electing to set a shortcut to your camera on your phone. On many devices you can set this to open without unlocking the device. For example, on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10,  I simply have to double-press the “Bixby” button on the left-side of my handset to open the camera. To access this setting in a Samsung device navigate to Settings>Advanced Features>Side Key>Toggle on Double Press>Select Quick Launch Camera.

iPhone users do not need to update as setting as Apple has incorporated a camera button in the bottom right corner of the lock screen. Practice to ensure you are able to open it quickly.


MODES: Take the time to learn the modes in your camera app. It will be worth it! There’s nothing wrong with using the default mode, as you can always edit or add filters later, but there are some great modes out there to help take your image to the next level. Reviewing the modes, how to use them, and how to switch between modes wills save you time when you are ready to capture your picture. Familiarizing yourself with the modes will also allow you to know which you’d prefer based on the type of picture you are planning to take.

Aside from modes, are also custom settings you may benefit from so take the time to review the settings menu in your camera. For example, my device setting menu shows “Shooting Methods”. Here I have enabled Show Palm. When this is activated, showing my palm to the front facing camera triggers a capture and I don’t have to press a button!


FILTERS & EDITS: Preset filters are simply automatic edits applied to a photo. Filters are a great way to improve your photo or give it a specific look without manually editing it. But don’t get stuck accepting only what is available to you through a preloaded filter. You can edit your photos with our without a filter applied. Sometimes simply changing the contrast level, the color saturation, or the brightness slightly on an applied filter will get you the desired effect. Cropping is necessary to eliminate unnecessary items from your photo. It can also be useful to zoom in on your subject, but cropping  a photo can result in a lower resolution. To avoid this, I zoom in on my photograph and then take a screenshot. I have found on my device that results in a better quality close up than a cropped image.

 You can always try more than one filter/edit combination and save multiple versions of you photo then pick your favorite!


STORAGE: This brings us to our last tip and that’s related to storage. Phones are coming in increasing storage variants because we are storing more data than ever on our devices. For many of us, this is largely photos and videos. To get the most of the storage available to you, delete duplicate or unneeded photos. Don’t forget to delete screenshots you no longer need. This will leave you plenty of storage to continue taking great photographs!