Master Mobile Photography for Picture-Perfect Shots

Master Mobile Photography for Picture-Perfect Shots

If you want to expand the types of shots you take for clients, adding mobile photography to your list of skills will ramp up the different styles available. Today’s smartphone cameras offer excellent quality. Even professional photographers can’t always tell the difference between a DSL shot and an excellent mobile one. 

In a survey of 881 photographers, researchers found around 36% of pros shoot at least sometimes on a smartphone. However, 64% said they would never use a mobile device but would always use a standalone camera for client work. 

Knowing how to use your cell phone’s camera to its best ability ensures you grab those one-of-a-kind, unplanned pictures you would otherwise miss. Your personal photos will become better, your clients will be wowed and you’ll have another tool in your marketing and photography box to ensure you stand out from your competitors. How can you become adept at mobile photography?

1. Remember Basic Skills

Digital SLRs offer lens options and can capture amazing images with the right shutter speed, resolution and aperture. If you’ve used a traditional camera for work, you already have an arsenal of skills at your disposal.

Good lighting and sharp focus are just as crucial as on any other device. Use the Rule of Thirds to line up the shot for good composition. Consider prompts or if you’re getting a candid shot. Whatever basic photography skills you already have should apply to any image you take with mobile photography. 

2. Choose the Right Phone

Not all mobile phone cameras are created equal. iPhones can shoot in RAW mode, which is helpful for editing. However, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus features a telephoto sensor for closeups of distant objects, making it perfect for sports or nature photography. 

Choosing the perfect option isn’t easy, but keep in mind that it must be a phone you feel comfortable with, can hold easily and steadily for any shot and has enough power to take excellent images in all conditions.

3. Clean Your Lens

Some of the things that improve mobile photography are quite simple. We carry our phones everywhere and are on them frequently. The screen and the rear-facing lens become dirty and we may not even realize it.

Before attempting mobile photography, get out a soft cloth and clean the lens thoroughly. Invest in a cleaning pen to remove dust. A soft microfiber cloth then buffs out any marks or debris on the lens. If you still have residue on the lens, use an electronic-safe wipe made especially for camera lenses.

4. Pull Up a Grid 

If you use the Rule of Thirds on your DSLR camera, you’re probably familiar with grid lines to position the subject just so. The majority of newer smartphones come with the ability to overlay grids on the screen and show you the alignment of the image. 

However, even if you don’t use the rule of thirds, you’ll find the grid is helpful almost intuitively. If you line up a shot for context and show buildings or surroundings alongside a subject, you’re using a form of the rule. The lines just help you arrange things in a visually pleasing way that has impact. You can even change the tone of a photo by adjusting the composition.

5. Use Live Action Mode

Experts estimate people take around 14 trillion photos every year. While no one knows the exact number, cameras are everywhere. They’re on buildings, in cars and part of our phones. The opportunity to snap amazing images exists in every moment.

Understand how to implement settings to take live action shots. Imagine you’re working with a fitness equipment client. You go to a gym that just installed some of their machines, get permission from those working out and start taking shots. If you’re shooting in live action mode, you’re going to capture those moments of intense muscle strain or personal determination that help sell the brand.

In iOS, go to your photo option, swipe up and choose live action mode. For Android, you may need to install a separate app from the Google Play store. Camera MX is one that works, but you can use any available app you enjoy. 

6. Adjust Your Settings

When you first start with mobile photography, you may not realize there are settings similar to what you’ll find on a traditional professional camera. You will access them a bit differently. How you get to the additional features depends on which phone you use. 

Most smartphones have you access the camera and the mode you wish to use–portrait, photo or video. You then swipe in a certain direction to access the additional settings for things such as aperture, shutter speed, F-stop and more. You can even access features to help you utilize a 3x telescopic lens.

The best way to figure out your particular model is to play around with it and take some fun shots. Head into a nearby city and take some images of various objects and people. Test out different settings until you get a feel for what works in different light situations and environments.

If you’re a professional photographer or familiar with the ins and outs of traditional photography, you’ll find picking up mobile usage comes more naturally. Anyone can learn how to better use what’s on their phone, though. Keep in mind you can also buy accessories, such as flash, microphones and lens extenders to take particular styles of pictures. 

7. Gain a New Perspective

A phone is small enough that you can get those tough shots you might have a harder time capturing with a larger camera. Hang upside down off the bench and take a shot. Lay on the sidewalk and shoot upward. Stand on a ladder and point the lens down. Think about the different angles and ideas for a unique look at the world. 

The beauty of digital photographs, whether taken with a smartphone or a DSLR, is the ability to delete the ones that don’t turn out the way you imagined. 

8. Stay Steady

Something people sometimes forget with mobile photography is the importance of staying steady while shooting the photo. If you add shake, you’ll wind up with grainy, unfocused photos. Options include cell phone tripods. 

If you’re out and see a great shot, prop yourself against something solid, such as a tree trunk. Lean your elbows on something. Pull the camera close to your body and take the shot. Although making small adjustments in your balance might seem like a small thing, it can make a huge impact on how well your pictures turn out. 

Try Mobile Photography Today

You really have nothing to lose by giving mobile photography a shot. Be aware of basic professional skills, the functions of your phone, unique angles and how you can keep your shots steady and interesting, and you’ll gain a reputation for stellar images. 

Read next: The Best Phones for Mobile Photography

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