Tips and tricks for better photos with the smartphone

Many users use the smartphone as a camera replacement. We show hobby photographers and self-help artists how they can get even more out of your ...

smartphone Tips And Tricks

To be a good photographer, it takes more than just a good camera. That's true. Nevertheless, the technique is important. This is also true for smartphone photography. With a few tricks and without additional knowledge and apps, you can get even more from your smartphone cameras.

taking pictures with our tips
More fun while taking pictures with our tips / © CoolAndroidTips

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: preparation

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Best resolution and picture quality

Before you start with your new smartphone camera, take a look at the settings. Often the factory settings are not optimal. Sometimes a lower resolution is set. Often this should provide for a better digital zoom - but you should also follow our advice below. It is also advisable to adjust the aspect ratio so that you get the largest possible picture. In the screenshot below, this is the 16: 9 format, because in the 4: 3 format pages are truncated. With other smartphones it can be exactly the other way: Then the 4: 3 format makes for the largest photos, but for 16: 9 images are cut off part of the picture. You can select the best image section afterwards.

Since the high-resolution recordings consume more memory than those with low resolution, you should always have a MicroSD card with you - it goes, of course, only if your smartphone has a corresponding card slot. If this is not the case, save your old photos and empties the memory before you photographed.

Samsung Galaxy S6 maximum resolution
Use the maximum resolution and picture quality for the perfect snapshot. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Clean the lens

Make sure that the Kameralinse is free of dirt and fingerprints. The smartphone is probably most of the time in your trouser or jacket pocket - also there dust can put on the lens. Wipe best before photographing with a cloth over the lens. Use a commercially available microfiber cloth or a spectacle cleaning cloth from the optician to clean the lens without scratching it. Handkerchiefs also go out in need, but they leave behind sometimes fine and disturbing lint.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: technology and focus

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Finding the right exposure settings

In photography, three technical values ​​are considered relevant for the quality of the photograph: exposure time, iris and ISO. Together, they determine how bright the photo is exposed, how sharply the background is imaged, and whether motion blur appears in the picture.

Aperture: In the case of smartphone photos, you can not usually adjust the aperture because it is fixed. Therefore, it is important for smartphone photographers to find the right setting of the ISO value and the exposure time. In automatic mode, this makes the camera independent, but the manual mode often provides the better and more precise results.

Exposure Times: Long exposure times are an option to improve the illumination of your photo, especially when the light conditions are poor. However, this causes moving objects to draw streaks. This effect can be used artfully for rivers or in night views of a city. Short exposures, on the other hand, actually freeze for a moment.

ISO value: The second value you should understand is the ISO value. This indicates the light sensitivity of the sensor. The higher the more sensitive. With a higher ISO value you can, for example, shorten the exposure time and thus provide sharper pictures. In dark environments, you often need a high ISO value and a long exposure time.

So why not always shoot with a high ISO value? This has a simple reason: because a high ISO value also ensures that noise is generated in the picture. Each smartphone behaves a little differently: some smartphones have problems with noise with ISO 400 or 800, but others already. Therefore, you should learn with your smartphone camera and find out which ISO value leads to just acceptable results. For most situations values ​​up to a maximum of 200 are ideal.

The makers of the blog Hamburger Photo spots have created a wonderful graphic representation of the effect of the exposure values.

effect of the image
A cheatcard for the effect of the image parameters / © Hamburger Photospots

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Set focus manually

Much depends in a successful image of the right focus. The autofocus is usually helpful, but it is not flawless. After all, it often does not know what we really want to have in mind. A touch of the finger is enough to avoid this problem, because the touch focus is the solution. Touch the screen where you want to focus. In the manual modes of the camera app you can even focus completely manually.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Multiple snips, later sort out

Instead of relying on the perfect snapshot, the motif is more likely to be released several times. If the only picture of your romantic kiss photo in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris is out of focus, you will probably regret it later. Just snap each motif several times and pay attention to the autofocus. And so long until you think that is definitely a good picture. Nowadays, top-of-the-range smartphones offer a serial image function, which allows the camera to take several photos in series with just one click. Too many photos are also counterproductive, because you have to sort out later.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Use both hands

Fast snapshots often live from the uncleanliness and dynamics of the moment, so may be a bit shaky. But if it is to be completely clear, the casual one-hand photography is just not enough. Keep your smartphone steady and steady with both hands. A tripod with smartphone holder is ideal for the perfect stand, but it is also often enough to turn off the smartphone on a handrail and thus to stabilize.

If this is not the case, you should try to support your arms or stretch them altogether. The less you move the smartphone, the sharper is the captured photo. If you can set a trigger delay, use this: After the trigger you keep the Smartphone particularly quiet and firm.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: motif and perspective

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: The third rule

The third rule is a simplified implementation of the Golden Cut for photographers. The image is divided by means of two horizontal and two vertical guide lines, so that these nine uniform boxes are shown (see below). For many smartphones, you do not have to imagine the grid, but you usually have a feature in hand that serves as an aid. The motif should then be placed on one of the four intersection points of the grid or also along a line, so that it is properly set in scene. In landscape surveys, it is useful to align the horizon with one of the two lines.

 image composition
Help lines help you with the image composition / © Screenshot: COOLANDROIDTIPS
With the third rule, a great photo composition is easy to play. There are often other settings for the help lines. Some apps can display the help lines also in the golden section, whereby minor differences in the image design are the result.

Camera Golden Cut
Some apps can also help you with the Golden Cut / © Screenshot: COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Straight horizon

This tip is linked to the last one, and here you can also use the embedded grid in the viewfinder. Lean lines bring unrest into the picture, unless that is intended. The horizon is the dominant line when looking into the distance, thus ensuring that the horizon is not wrong.

2013-5-7
In this picture, the plant gives in the foreground in the left third of the image depth, but the oblique horizon is disturbing and brings unrest into the picture. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and Tricks for Smartphone Photos: Space Rule (Rule of Space)

As already mentioned, some motifs on the photo also need space "to breathe or look". Like the Golden Cut, it is another element that creates more harmony in the photo. Using the place rule correctly, you achieve a sense of movement, activity, or completion in the composition. With a portrait the view of the person can wander in the distance and it is often ideal to leave space in the direction of the eye and not to cut off immediately at the face. For example, the view can also express the fact that the person portrayed just concentrates - which often breathes life into the photo.

If you photograph a driving car you should also leave room where the car is driving, instead of holding asphalt on the picture. This rule, as well as the third rule, can and should be broken when a photo demands it and promises to become something special.

rule-of-space
Place Rule: Give your subject some space "to breathe". / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Take care of the elements

Photos depict the three-dimensional space around us. If your motive is quite far away, however, it may be useful to enhance this with several image levels. A person, a tree or another object in the foreground breathes an otherwise perverse panorama life, because its presence lends the overall picture more depth. "Foreground makes image healthy", says the photographer's wisdom.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Photographing from above

If you want to take self-made pictures or portrait photos from other people, you should keep the smartphone slightly higher when shooting, so that the subject looks a little upwards when you take pictures. This avoids annoying double chin effects and unwanted contours. Of course, there are other positions where your chocolate side comes into its own. If you look up, you stretch your neck and face and everything works without image processing and beauty mode a bit smoother and firmer. But do not exaggerate with the photographing from above, otherwise the figured person looks like a dwarf.

shot-from-above-irena
Selfies and portrait photos make a better impression when photographed from above. / © ANDROIDPIT

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Wait for the right time of the day

Snapshots often do not allow for the luxury of patient image composition. However, if you are planning a photo, you should consider when it is, because morning and evening hours often offer much more interesting light conditions than the noon time.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Play with the perspective

A photo does not always have to develop in the eye, we already have the perspective all day long. Try a different angle, put yourself on a hill and photographed down or goes to the knees. Look for angles that allow your motif to shine from a new perspective. Especially in the case of tourist attractions, you should look for new representations, forms and lines, which give something special to your picture. This often creates a lot of interesting pictures - but also the hated double chin. So be careful with portraits from below.

Muenster-Kalender-kleiner-14
For this picture, a position close to the ground was chosen, which makes it more dramatic and more powerful. Increasing color saturation does the rest. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Panorama

If you do not want to photograph human beings but nature and landscapes, the panorama mode offers itself. Above all, very large motifs, such as a mountain chain or a sunset at the sea sometimes need more space than is available on a single photo. Pretty much every current smartphone has a corresponding mode, which takes you from the tweaking together of several pictures and you also neatly.

If your smartphone is a bit older, an application with the right function from Google's Play Store can also be helpful. Panorama pictures are also suitable for a cover picture on Facebook, even if the whole picture does not fit, the most beautiful part of your profile can highlight even more.

panorama
If you want a wide backdrop, you should use the panorama mode. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: observe light

Light can be your friend and your enemy, depending on your environment and what you want to capture. Frontal exposure to the sun is often a real problem, unless you intentionally overexpose the image and play with the contrast in the post-processing. If possible, stand with the back to the light and avoid strong shadows from the front. If the frontal light source is sometimes unavoidable, the flash is added, which sometimes helps.

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Use flash only in an emergency

If a strong exposure is not absolutely essential for the image, one should refrain from the flash because it seldom produces really beautiful images. Not only the quality of the colors suffers, the uniform illumination in the image is often completely destroyed. The foreground shines bright white, the background completely disappears. There is a photo with natural light and more picture noise in the end often more pleasant and handsome than a lightning hit.

colandroidtips-galaxy-note-4-comparison-photos-2
Natural light is the best light for photos. Avoid flashlight shots like this picture, if you can. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: LED flash

The LED flash of the smartphone camera is to provide your snapshots the appropriate exposure if the appropriate light is missing. But the result with smartphones is usually very disappointing and the motif seems unnaturally overexposed. The background also suffers from the bright flashlight, which brings the subject to the fore, but shadows cast on the remaining details. A photo flash often leads to hard shadows, which removes the naturalness of the picture. As a countermeasure, you can use a semi-translucent white tape that sticks to your smartphone. So you have a self-made diffuser that defuses the hardness of the lightning and provides for flowing light and shadow transitions. This makes the photo more natural and beautiful. Especially at parties with a little dampened exposure, the self-made diffuser can do wonders.

led-flash
From left to right: Without LED flash, with LED flash (without diffuser), with LED flash (with diffuser). / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: zoom with your feet

The digital zoom in the smartphone may save you a few steps, but it ruins the picture. Here is still a big deficit of the smartphone cameras against their colleagues with optical zoom, thus compact and reflex cameras. Since the zoom lens is missing, only the image section is digitally enlarged, which, however, drastically reduces the detail resolution. So do yourself the favor and go a few steps more.

Crop-2
The Xperia Z1 (middle), and even the LG, can be found in the Sony Cybershot QX10 (left), although the details are recognizable G2 (right) is no more than pixel slime. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Dear shadow as a sun

The HDR mode is increasingly used in smartphones to compensate for strong light discrepancies in the picture. But firstly, he has his limits, and secondly, he often does not need to be used if you simply put yourself in the shade and photographed out of it. Direct light can affect the image very much, so bright sunshine does not always ensure radiant images.


coolandroidtips-hdr-comparison-nexus-5
Above with HDR, below without: The difference is recognizable. / © COOLANDROIDTIPS

Tips and tricks for smartphone photos: Effectively postprocess

Now we leave the field of photography. Once the picture is in the box, it goes on: You want to share the pictures. Before you do this, however, you can still get some from the photos - be it to correct the colors, choose the right cut, or filter with more drama. For this you should have installed the appropriate image editing app:

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Tips and tricks for better photos with the smartphone
Many users use the smartphone as a camera replacement. We show hobby photographers and self-help artists how they can get even more out of your ...
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