Some might think why a photographer with his own camera gear should even know tips to take better pictures with a smartphone. Good point. However, I started my “career” on Instagram for the first months just with my smartphone, which made me develop some techniques that I used for almost every picture. It’s nothing magic and everybody can do it. But you need to know the right tools and that’s what I want to show you today. I think everybody can improve his photography skills, even though it’s “just” with a smartphone. They are more powerful than you might think. Here are 5 smartphone photography hacks.
1. Use your flexibility
When you are walking around with your smartphone you will always have one huge advantage: The flexibility. You always have it with you and can take almost every angle without a problem. The bigger your camera the more struggles you will have with this. Who takes his camera everywhere? Not many people. And there is one law in photography that fits perfectly here: The best camera is the one you have with you. When you see a good chance for a picture you can just take it and use different angles from different heights without any problem. You should take advantage of this and be creative when taking pictures with your smartphone. For me, this is already one of the best smartphone photography hacks.
2. Use the Pro Mode
Pro Mode? What? Every modern smartphone has his own pro mode. And I highly recommend you to use it. If you shoot in auto mode you will lose quality and details, especially because it tends to use a high ISO in bad light conditions. If you are not used to all these settings it might be overwhelming at first – but it will pay off in the future. Primarily, you just need to adjust the ISO and the Shutter Speed and you will immediately see the result on your screen. With the right settings, you will have a picture with a better quality and much more details in it – which we will need later to get the most out of our pictures.
3. Create your own workflow
For me, this is the most important smartphone photography trick. Everybody is different and has another opinion and style of photography. Though it’s so important to have your own, effective, workflow to not only optimize your pictures but also win time in the editing progress. When I started to edit my smartphone pictures I almost spent an hour on a single picture sometimes – meanwhile I bowl down my whole editing process to under five minutes, without losing quality. Surely it will need time to develop a workflow that fits your style the best, however, I recommend you to spend this time. It will pay off in the long-run.
4. Smartphone Photography Tips: Snapseed
Admittedly there are millions of apps available to edit your pictures. Some of them might be great, some of them are definitely not. I wasted a lot of time finding a good app to edit pictures on my smartphone. I also tried famous apps like VSCO or Lightroom Mobile – which also didn’t really satisfy me. They were not bad at all, nevertheless, I found an app for smartphone photography that has everything you will need. Snapseed. On the first sight the app looks a bit unimposing but after using it for a while I explored its power. There are some amazing filters and what I love the most: You can edit almost everything – and it’s quite easy to use. You can even edit “.raw” pictures and in general, enhance your images to a completely new level. I will show you an example below, which I created in just a minute!
5. Give an extra touch
The last of my 5 smartphone photography hacks is one I just explored recently – and I don’t use it for every picture. When I do the result is incredible though. I am talking about an app called “Polarr”. Actually, it is a web-based application which also has apps for both the App and the Google Play store. Why would you need another app when Snapseed is that good? Good question, good answer: It offers something completely different. You can give your images an extra touch and change them completely. You can fake light coming in from everywhere, use graduated or radial filters to change different settings in just a single part of your image. For me, it is a great addition to my toolkit, especially when the light conditions were quite boring and I want to make it a bit more interesting. Be sure to try it out. I hope this guide was helpful and you will make even better pictures with these smartphone photography hacks. Feel free to ask me questions in the comments or simply contact me. I’d love to see some of your results with my tips too!