Most of the time, I always bring my camera with me, yes the camera that is built-in on my smart phone. :p Well, sometimes I bring my pocket camera with me, but not always because my phone camera is actually enough for me. As you know, nowadays phone cameras are getting better and better. There are even some brands that make a camera that function as a phone. So it is not a built-in-camera on a smart phone anymore, but a built-in-phone on a pocket camera, errr I guess? Anyway, since most of us capture pictures to (1) upload on various social media platforms (instagram, twitter, facebook, path, what else?), (2) show it to our friends or families directly or (3) keep it as our own digital documentation, then carrying a phone as your camera is so much easier than bringing a pocket camera or DSLR camera everywhere you go. Use your pocket camera and DSLR for more professional purposes such as blogging, bigger printing needs, photo contribution stocks etc. I will share some easy tips about how to get the most out of your phone camera.
1. Learn about your phone camera
I am using iPhone 4s and some of my travel mate use Samsung Galaxy (not sure about the exact type). Basically, the iPhone and Samsung built-in-cameras are great for photography. Have you ever look through your camera setting? Do you know that you can take a panorama picture using your phone? Do you know that there are several shooting modes (single shot, panorama, HDR, low light, etc)? Do you know that your camera has the ability to shoot with a timer? Do you know that you can control the white balance and iso? If the answer to some of those questions are no, then you should learn more about your camera phone. Read the manual or just browse it. Besides learning about the camera phone settings and becoming familiar with how to use it, keeping the lens clean is one of the most important things that you should always do.
2. Learn the basic
There are several basic things that you should keep in your mind in order to take better photos. First, always avoid digital zoom. It is better just to get closer to your object, be intimate with it. Hahaha.. Second, know your steadiness. Are you actually able to capture something without shaking? Blurry picture are hard to fix (almost impossible to be honest), so make sure to be steady (and not nervous!) when you capture anything. Tips: don’t stretch out your hands. Keep your hands close to your body. It is easier to get steady shot like that. Last, flash is a bit tricky. I rarely use flash on my phone camera. If you are thinking of photographing something using your flash, make sure you check the result right after you photographed it, so you can photograph again if the result is not as good as you thought it might be. Sometimes, not using a flash is better than using a flash. One more thing, I think photographing things horizontally (landscape orientation) is better than vertically, but again experiment won’t hurt.
3. Use free photo editing apps to make it perfect!
There are so many amazing free photo editing applications. My two favourite photo editing apps at this moment are VSCOcam and Snapseed. Well I love Animal Face as well, but that is just for fun. VSCOcam and Snapseed are available on iPhone and Android. As for VSCOcam P5/Instant and T1/Moody are my favourite. VSCOcam is easy to use and gives you lovely results in just several taps of your phone. Snapseed is another awesome choice… This applications gives you everything; tune image, add more details, put some ‘drama’ to you pictures, hdr, and much more. My favourite is hdr and tilt-shift. A combination of these two is absolutely fantastic!
4. Experiment, It will not cost you anything
Do experiment, do it a lot! Seriously, never doubt to take tons of pictures. It is as simple as that to delete the pictures that you don’t like. No cost at all. Practice makes perfect and next time you will easily trigger some interesting objects. Without you realizing it, you have trained yourself to be more sensitive with interesting object, not only ‘good looking’ objects. Oh, don’t be afraid to try unusual angles too. Sometimes the result will be something special.
5. Sun light is your best friend
Yes, natural light is your best friend. Bright beautiful days (even if it is too bright) with blue sky are a guarantee that you will get great pictures! Besides photographing with natural day light, try to take photographs at sunrise and sunset. It is a great challenge. You can get such a great pictures or just fails. Btw, as I mentioned in point 2, I am such a loser at photographing with flash during the night / low light condition. There is a Slow Shutter Cam application (not free) that can help you to get better low light photos. Still somehow the results are too grainy in my opinion. So sun light is the best!
Bonus: Never ever over edit your photos, believe me, too much is not good. Just try your best to make the photo as good as you can see it back then with your eyes, which most of the time our phone camera can’t catch it. Even if it is not as beautiful as nature is. Also, the closer the better! I hope these tips are useful and happy photographing with your smart phones! Last but not least, make sure you have your phone full of battery. 😉 Let me know if you have another tips!