Tips for taking photos with your mobile
31st March 2021
by The Landscape Association
Capturing a good photo with your phone is harder than it looks! To help you take those great photos using just your phone here are some handy tips from the social marketing app Later and Photographer Jordan Dyck
Before you can even begin to think about composition, lighting, and editing, there are two things you need to know about how to work the camera on your phone in order to take a photo:
1. Under-expose Your Shot
Have you ever taken a photo of a bright sky, only to realize later that half of it is over-exposed? Mobile phones tend to blow out portions of your photograph naturally, resulting in over-highlighted areas. But there is a trick to fix this: under-exposing your shot. It’s better to have a slightly under-exposed photo that you can then brighten with editing, instead of ruining the whole shot with over-exposure.
To under-exposure your photo on an iPhone, tap and hold the brightest area of your phone, which locks in the focus and exposure. After you’ve done this, you can move your camera around to compose the photo you want. Perfect for those product shots in the sunlight!
2. Keep HDR Off
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is hard to get right and can make a picture look unnatural and overdone. Essentially, the function takes many different exposures of the same photo and puts them together in one photo so you have tons of details. Keep it simple, less is more when it comes to taking good photos.
There are two key things you should think about when capturing the perfect shot: composition and lighting. If you get these functions down pat, dream-worthy photos are definitely in your future.
Successful composition relies on one primary goal; finding a way to direct your viewers to the subject of the photo while capturing a story or emotion. When composing a good photo, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to take your photo from “good” to “wow.”
Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is considered the golden rule of photography. It’s applied by aligning a subject with literal guidelines and their intersection points made into squares, to allow an image to flow from section to section and create energy and interest.
Lucky for you, your phone has an amazing grid tool that does this for you. All you need to do is turn on the “grid” setting in your phone’s settings for your camera.
TIP: If you are in front of a door, stand in the middle of it and distance your grid equally for instant impact. Pay attention to every detail, and vary your subject along these lines or intersections to create interest and variation that’s appealing to your followers.
Capture Close-Up Detail
One of the biggest photography mistakes is not getting close enough to the subject. If you shoot from too far away, you won’t capture the amazing details of your project such as gaps, joins and textures. Keep in mind that your iPhone won’t be able to focus if the lens is too close to your subject. To capture extreme close-ups of tiny detail you may need an add-on macro lens.
We all know the heart-crushing feeling when you take a good photo, only to realise it’s been completely over-exposed by the sunlight, or that awesome selfie at the bar was just too dark to be Instagram-worthy.
Before you start shooting, remember that if you have a badly lit photo, nothing can save it. Keep these tips in mind when planning a shoot:
Use Natural Light:
If you’re shooting on an iPhone, it can take really fantastic photos when there is enough light. When you’re shooting indoors, sit near a window and away from any artificial light that could tint your photographs yellow.
Shoot at The Right Time:
Planning to take photos at dawn or dusk will result in soft shadows and light contrasts, and there’s really nothing more important for taking a good photo than perfect light! The same benefit can be said for golden hour, where your subject can be backlit and gives you a mind-blowing result. It also saves you time with editing.
Cloudy vs. Sunny:
Embrace grey weather with open arms. Cloudy days can actually excellent for shooting, because the light spreads out everywhere and you’re able to do so much more to the photograph in post-production. These are also the perfect days to take selfies!
You’ve captured a great photo, but how do you turn it into an awesome photo? With so many editing apps available, it can be difficult to figure out where to start! Here are some photo editing apps, and some helpful tips to get the process started:
VSCO – An elegant, easy to use app. With beautiful and minimal one-tap presets; Later suggest picking a favourite preset and using the adjustable filter strength to a 4-6 to find the perfect style for your brand.
Snapseed – The ultimate fine tuning app; Snapseed is an all-purpose photo editor perfect for image enhancements and corrections. We suggest using this app to crop, rotate, straighten, and adjust your perspective. Snapseed also has features you won’t find on other apps; adjust the “ambiance” of your photo for a moodier or softer vibe, or use the brush tool to brighten, darken, or saturate specific parts of your photo. You can also use the handy healing tool to edit out any blemishes or stray people who may have wandered into your shot.
TouchRetouch – Remove any unwanted blemishes and objects from your photos with ease. Use the brush or lasso to select the object you want to remove, then let the app replace that selection with the surrounding image. Perfect for those pesky sun flares!