Hints for better phone photography…framing, flash and more

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Miscellaneous, Photos
Tags: , , ,

This is the third and final post on hints for better phone photography.  Click here to access part one and part two.

Number ten: When taking a photo that’s not a close-up, try to frame it.

Catch a tree, bush, or tall grass on one side or the other and your photo becomes more interesting. It also provides perspective.


Number eleven: Learn how to turn off your flash.

Unless you like reflections, know how to turn off your flash. I made this basic mistake for a time while trying to take photos out the window. All I got was a photo with a big ball of reflected light in the middle!  No illustration necessary.

Number twelve: Nighttime or low light photography can be difficult.

Unlike a regular camera, you can’t keep the lens open longer with your phone camera. That means that night is, as Will Farrell’s character said in “Blades of Glory,” “… a very dark time for me.” Experimentation is best here but don’t despair if you think the photo is too dark. I took some photos with my iPad once that I thought were useless. But when I tried editing them, I was amazed at how much was really there. It was a bit like magic.

Doesn't look like much.

Doesn’t look like much.

With a bit of editing

With a bit of editing

A shot with only moonlight...and just a bit of editing

A shot with only moonlight…and just a bit of editing

Number thirteen: Have a back-up charger system with you!

If you’re superstitious, it’s ironic that this hint is #13 because it’s bad luck if you neglect to do this. If you use your phone a lot, you have to charge it often and there’s not much worse than having it run out of charge just when you need it, whether for a photo or to call someone. I have a phone case that’s also a charger and that’s been a life-saver. I can charge the phone immediately from the base and later re-charge the base. There are also power sticks that are small enough to carry in a purse or glove compartment and they can save your photographic derrière. My s-i-l gave me one after my iPad ran out of steam just when I wanted to take photos at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Have a charger in your car as well. Whichever type of back-up system you choose, be sure to take it with you. Doesn’t do any good sitting at home when you’re ready to take a photo and your phone’s out of juice!

Number fourteen:  Back up your photos and do so often.

After 3,000 photos more or less (at least on my phone), your phone will be full.  This happened to me one day in my park and I admit I was shocked.  I guess I felt I should be able to take and keep photos to infinity and beyond.  Because I have both an iPhone and an iPad, my phone photos are automatically transferred to my iPad.  But every few days I transfer them to my laptop and periodically from there to discs.  Think for a minute how you’d feel if you lost all those photos.  If that isn’t enough incentive to back them up, I can’t give you more.

Number fifteen:  Once your photos are backed up, take them off your phone.  Then you’re ready to take more great photos and have the room to do so.

Number sixteen:  If you have a panorama feature on your phone, don’t forget to use it.

The panorama photo was something I admired on other blogs and that my iPhone has.  But I have to remind myself to use it.  Jann at Pairings: Art and What Goes With It gave me another idea recently:  the vertical panorama!


Number 17:  Get some editing apps and experiment with them.

I think that a photo should be good enough to stand on its own.  But editing can enhance an already good photo, save a photo that you think is unusable (see  #12), and just be plain fun.  I realized that the photos with the fabulous color and perspective I see on blogs or for sale at art shows are almost always going to have been edited in some way, even if only cropped and the color enhanced.  So don’t be shy.  Make a copy of your photo (keep the original) and have at it.  Many editing apps are free and others only cost a small amount.

Used editing to turn a color photo into B&W and then add a misty effect

Used editing to turn a color photo into B&W and then add a misty effect

Number 18:  Add a watermark/put your name on your photo.

The photos you take are yours.  The internet makes taking and using photos illegally easy.  Copyright laws are routinely flouted and you may find your photo in many places other than your site without permission being asked.  There’s probably a way to remove a name or watermark as well, but at least make it more difficult by putting it on.  Besides, it’s your photo and you’re proud of it, so let people know who took it.

Number 19:  Look at other people’s photos and don’t be shy about asking them how they got such a great photo or how they edited it.

The internet makes it easy to do this and all the photographers I’ve met are happy to share hints and ideas.

I hope these hints have given you some ideas of ways to take better photos.   Now go out and take lots of photos and have fun.

  1. Great tips. Especially about the charging. I have been caught short a few times. Now I try to make sure that I have charged overnight before heading out. 😀

  2. Oh yes, the tip on charging is invaluable. After some bad experiences, I now travel with at least two spare batteries and a charger, especially if I’m on the job! I also have a portable USB charger that can power everything from laptops to cell phones, which really comes in handy on the road.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, that or the other thing.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.