I’m a photo enthusiast. I have 9000+ photos in my 32 GB smartphone and I don’t really have any plans of deleting them. Over the years, I’ve taken one too many shots of the beach, lunch, coffee, my cat, and the floor. I take around five shots of the same thing before deciding which one to post. I’m no professional photographer but I think I can tell a decent shot from a terrible one (especially when posted online).
Here are some tips on how to make your smartphone photos post-worthy (it might even give you some added “likes” after you post it on your social network of choice).
Rule of thirds
Every basic photography class will teach you the rule of thirds to have a better composition of your shot. You’re supposed to divide the frame into nine equal parts with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Your important elements should fall on those lines or the intersections. This technique will make your subject more interesting. And your subject doesn’t have to be in the middle every time.
Another thing you can do when taking photos of people is to allow some space to show where they’re looking so that it tells a better story.
Move your phone around for a better perspective
Your smartphone doesn’t always have to be at eye level every time you take a photo. Move it around and tilt it for a different perspective. Move yourself around while you’re at it. Bend a little, crouch down towards the floor, or raise your arms higher to see if this will give you a better composition.
Align your background
Find a point of reference and line it correctly. Gravity is a natural thing—line up your background so your shot looks steadier and more planned out. This is something you should do for scenic shots. After that, try to work your way into noticing lines in whatever it is you take. If you keep things in line, it makes your shot cleaner and more planned out.
Portrait? Landscape? Square?
Decide if you want your shot as portrait (vertical), landscape (horizontal), or square. I personally like taking shots in square using my iPhone because it has a wider angle, which means more coverage. Plus, it’s Instagram-ready.
Flash? No flash?
Just because your smartphone is set to “Auto” doesn’t mean it can decide to take a better shot for you. If your surroundings are bright enough, turn your flash off and keep it natural. During nighttime, find ways to light up a subject without using flash. Use things like lights, lamps, candles, etc. But it boils down to a matter of preference. Try it out and decide for yourself if you’d rather have the flash on or off.
When in doubt, take a wide shot
If you’re in a hurry and have no time to compose your shot, take a wider shot. Crop it later. It’s better to take a wide shot than to regret it later with a shot that’s too tight and unfixable.
Or maybe just “avoid” using the zoom feature. YOU go closer to your subject instead of zooming in. You’ll get a better quality shot. Plus, a few steps won’t hurt your daily exercise habit.
Tap to focus
Don’t be afraid to tap your screen to focus on your subject. The great thing about smartphones these days is that it can focus on some subjects, leaving everything else blurred (and it’s not the kind of blur that you add on afterwards with apps). This way, the eyes will be led to the subject more because it’s the only thing that’s clear. Also, you wouldn’t want to be one of those people who posted a picture of a blurred subject and a clear background.
Keep still, don’t breathe for a second when you take that photo
When you take that picture, hold still for a bit and don’t breathe until the photo is taken. I’d also suggest to avoid using the volume button or whatever physical shutter button your smartphone came with. Pressing that adds a little movement that causes a bit of blur. Keep practicing and eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
There really is no right or wrong way of taking photos (and you may even disagree with this list). All you have to do is practice and use your judgment to decide if a shot is good or not. And, of course, have fun doing it.
Ed.’s Note: You can check out more of Liane’s shots here.