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Take Incredible Shots with These Phone Photography Hacks

These days, many people opt out of owning a camera in favour of using their smartphone camera alone. It’s understandable – smartphone camera technology has improved drastically in the past decade.

But it can be harder to create those enigmatic shots that are on par with an interchangeable lens camera. So here are some easy-to-apply and fun phone photography hacks to help you create some incredible stills with your smartphone.

Phone photography tips and tricks

photographer using phone camera hack

Firstly, what features of your phone will help you improve your phone photos. Though smartphones are generally simpler than an interchangeable lens camera, they’ve become increasingly more sophisticated.

These days, you should get a decent level of manual control in your photography if you have a premium smartphone.

Edit your photos

Editing your photos doesn’t just mean slapping a preset filter on them before uploading to social media.

There are many smartphone apps, including VSCO and Snapseed, that contain fairly sophisticated editing software.

These apps can help you adjust brightness, saturation, sharpness, and contrast. You can try out different perspectives or use healing brushes to remove unwanted elements.

Learn to master exposure

One of the more obvious manual controls is the ability to adjust exposure and brighten or darken your image.

On iPhones, there’s a sun icon that helps you brighten and darken your frame. On Android phones, you’ll find the more traditional +/- icon to adjust exposure.

Use your grid

composition grid on phone

And no, we’re not talking about your Instagram grid here. In past posts, we’ve talked about the rule of thirds, which is a concept that applies just as much to phone photography as in any other type of photography.

But as with DSLR cameras, phone camera apps also have compositional guidelines to help you square up your shots. This grid makes sure you keep your horizon straight, line up vertical structures, and compose your photo according to the rule of thirds. Simply head into your camera setting to activate the 3×3 grid.

Use the burst mode

Most smartphone cameras come with a quality burst mode. This helps you take several pictures in a sequence. Then you can pick the best photo from the bunch. It’s especially great for shots with a lot of motion.

Get a quality add-on lens

These days, the high-end Samsung, iPhone, and Google Pixel phones come with high-quality rear and front lenses. But they still won’t compare to a camera with an interchangeable lens system.

Trusted brands like Olloclip have introduced a high-quality range of clip-on lenses for smartphones that will expand the capabilities of your phone photography.

Choose from macro lenses, fish-eye lenses, ultra-wide lenses, or even a telephoto conversion lens.

Pick high resolution

someone taking photo with phone

As with cameras, phone cameras come with the option of low, medium, or high-resolution settings. Whichever setting you select will affect the picture quality.

High resolution will keep all the details in your shots crisp and sharp – qualities that will be dramatically more obvious when you transfer your images to the computer or blow them up.

Some smartphones, such as the Google Pixel 3, come with the option to shoot RAW photos as well. This is a fantastic option for those who want to take their phone photography to the next level by editing in Lightroom.

Activate Auto HDR

The High Dynamic Range functionality on your phone lets you create superior pictures by bending the best of three differently exposed shots.

You can toggle Auto HDR on and off, so it’s a good idea to know when to use it and when to disable it. HDR is best used when there are different light levels in a picture, so you end up getting dark shadows and overexposed skies.

Fun phone photography hacks

There are a few other fun smartphone photography hacks that can help you get a little more imaginative with your photos and create the shots you envisioned.

Shoot through sunglasses

On a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can get a polarising filter to create incredible gradient shading in your photos. How do you create the same effect with your smartphone?

Simple shoot through your sunglasses! Cover your phone lens with one of the lenses from your sunnies. And voila, perfect exposure in harsh light.

Use your earphones as a shutter button

Although this only works with some phones, it’s a fantastic hack. If you’ve set your phone up on a tripod and want to grab a portrait with a little more distance, plug your headphones into the phone and use the call answer button as a trigger. No more selfie arms. 

Set your white balance to cloudy for sunsets

taking sunset photo on phone

Can’t seem to capture those deep red sunsets? Do your shots look washed out or overexposed? Switch your white balance setting to cloudy. This immediately adds warmth to your photos, which helps accentuate those stunning sunsets.

Ready to up your game on your phone photography? Check out our range of mobile accessories online at Camera House today and improve the capabilities of your smartphone!

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