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Seven tips for taking great photos using only your smartphone

News Desk
News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, January 7, 2018 | 11:03 am
Seven tips for taking great photos using only your smartphone

Smartphones are getting better and better at taking good-quality photos for today's travelers. (Shutterstock/File)

Ever wanted to emulate your favorite Instagram photographers but were unsure how? Think having access to only a smartphone camera limits the quality of photos you can take? Think again.

This list—compiled by Reader’s Digest—provides great photo-taking tips you might not have thought of, to make the most of your camera app.

Determine a focal point

Choosing a focal point can greatly enhance a landscape photo. A subject such as a tree in the distance, a landmark or a person, can make your shot more interesting by serving as an element of story or mystery. 

Create a sense (or illusion) of depth

Sometimes beautiful landscapes don’t make for breathtaking photos because they fail to capture the depth and scale of landscapes. Focusing on an object in the foreground will make the shot more engaging and interesting to view.

According to photographer Cotton Coulson, including a person or object in the scene is a great idea because it provides a sense of scale.

Read also: Five recommended websites for photography portfolios

Experiment with angles

Try to limit the elements captured in a single photo, as too many might be overwhelming for the audience. Keep to a minimal background, focusing on only one predetermined subject of the landscape.

Experiment with different angles to see which background makes your photo look least busy. The best photos are taken from unconventional angles, so don’t be afraid to play around with angles if you’re looking to get a unique shot.

Adjust your lighting

During sunrise and sunset, your shots will have warmer colors and a golden tint. The position of the sun during these times of the day allows for interesting shadows that can enhance your photo.

Remember that it does not always have to be bright to capture a perfect picture. Low light, brought about by, say, rainy weather, can create a dramatic backdrop.

Coulson’s favorite light is bright overcast, open shadow, or a bit of fog. “For technical reasons, the small sensor in the iPhone will handle this light best,” he says.

Read also: How to shoot the cherry blossoms: Tips from a photographer

The position of the sun is important

Shooting with the sun behind you can illuminate your subject in a flattering way as well as accentuate its features. Avoid this if your subject is a person, though, as direct sunlight can cause unattractive shadows in addition to squinting.

Make sure your phone is stable

A tripod may not be necessary to keep your phone stable. You can hold your device in one hand and release the shutter with another thumb. Try your best not to move the phone until after you’ve released the camera button.

Use a photo app

There are many apps available on the App Store that can enhance your photos. Pro HDR X, for instance, combines several different exposures of the same image into one perfectly exposed photo. In manual mode, you can select the exposure for yourself.

There are also several “night camera” apps that are great for taking photos in low light. (afr/kes)

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