Modern mobile phones can do more than just make calls and send text messages. If you’re like most people, your smartphone is your go-to device for taking photos. It’s always in your pocket! Smartphones have improved dramatically in recent years, and now the lenses and sensors can produce high-quality images at five megapixels or more, giving many point-and-shoot cameras a run for their money. However, you may not be taking the best photos your smartphone is capable of. If your photos are looking blurry, grainy, or lacking pizzazz, try these tips to get your pics Instagram-ready.
1. Update your camera app
Android’s native camera app is sufficient for taking photos, but you are not limited to this app. In fact, many of the free camera apps on the market can help you take better and clearer pictures. Here are seven great smartphone apps to choose from, including many camera apps including features like anti-blur, grid squares to line up your shots properly, and advanced editing and sharing options.
2. Start with clean lenses
Your smartphone gets used a lot more than your standard camera. It’s in your pocket or hands all day, so the lenses get dirty easily. A fingerprint or smudge on the lenses can ruin an otherwise great shot, so clean the lenses with a microfiber cloth before shooting.
3. Use grid lines when taking photos
Gridlines are helpful for keeping your images straight. More importantly, they help you implement the rule of thirds to take compelling photos with ease. The rule of thirds emphasizes placing the horizon in the top or bottom third of the photo, with other elements falling along the intersections of the grid lines to create balance.
4. Use landscape orientation
Use landscape rather than portrait for some of your shots. The landscape orientation allows for a better fit in the photo and is perfect for capturing large groups of people and nature photos. They also look better when you watch them on your computer or TV.
5. Use the highest resolution
New smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 are excellent phones that can record at a very high resolution. And the higher the resolution of your photo, the better it usually looks. Choose the highest photo resolution available in your camera settings to ensure your images are of high quality. Whenever possible, use the rear-facing camera for your selfies rather than the front-facing camera.
If you choose the highest resolution for photos, you must save them externally and not in the device memory. Use photo sharing apps and cloud storage services like Picasa, Flickr, and Dropbox to keep them off your phone. Alternatively, you can also purchase a high-capacity micro SD or SD card to store those high-resolution photos directly on your phone.
6. Approach instead of zooming
Most phones come with a zoom feature, but you should never use it. It enlarges the picture but degrades the quality, resulting in grainy, blurry images that you probably don’t want to share.
Instead of using the zoom, get as close to your subject as possible. If the photo has too much background, you can always crop it later without affecting the quality of the photo. Many apps allow you to crop your images, including the native camera app. Other popular options include Photoshop Express, Instagram, and Snapseed.
7. Shoot in natural light
Smartphones don’t have real flash. The bright LED light that the camera uses as a flash is slow and often too bright. Unattractive red-eye and washed-out images are common when using the flash function.
Completely eliminate the need for a flash by utilizing natural light. When you change position, approach a window, or just step outside, you’ll get brighter photos with true-to-life colors. If you must use indoor lighting to get bright enough photos, opt for white light and stay away from incandescent bulbs, which cast a yellow tint across the subject of your photo.
By following these tips, you can use your smartphone to take photos that rival those of a traditional camera. They are clear, colorful, properly aligned, and filled with natural light. Also, you’ll find that the more you practice taking better photos, the less editing you’ll need to do.