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7 Ways to Take Your Mobile Photography to the Next Level

Marianne Stenger
5th September 2017

We’ve already covered some of the basics of mobile photography, but what can you do if your phone camera is your main camera and you’d like to start taking better photos that can be used for everything from blogs and websites to photobooks?

Thanks to the huge advances in smartphone technology, more serious photographers are using smartphone cameras in their line of work, which goes to show that with the proper know-how and tools, it is highly possible to shoot top-notch photos with your smartphone’s camera.

So with this in mind, here are some tips for taking your mobile photography to the next level.

1. Invest in a good photo app

A good photo app can make all the difference when you’re shooting with your smartphone, as the standard ones that come with iPhone, Android and Windows tend to be pretty barebones and won’t give you much freedom to experiment.

At the very least, look for an app that allows you to adjust the ISO and shutter speed so you can capture better images in low light. If you’re not sure how to choose from the countless apps out there, check out our list of mobile photography apps.

2. Get comfortable with more advanced camera settings

Once you’ve installed a decent mobile photography app, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the camera’s more advanced settings. Learn how to adjust the white balance, ISO and shutter speed and how these settings will affect your photos. You can then practice using these settings regularly until you’re comfortable with them.

3. Shoot in RAW

Another thing that can make it easier to process your photos is shooting in RAW format. RAW is a file format like jpeg, but it leaves image files unprocessed. Many of the newer android and iPhones can shoot in raw using certain apps.

This means that with a good photo editing app, you’ll be able to do a lot more to enhance and improve the images you take with your phone, from sharpening and adjusting white balance to saving blown out highlights or recovering detail in shadows.

4. Use the highest resolution possible

Many new smartphone cameras can shoot at a very high resolution, which will make it easier to edit and crop your photos without it affecting the image quality. This is especially important if you hope to use the photos for a website, blog or photobook, so check your camera settings before shooting and make sure you’re using the highest resolution possible.

If the photos are too big to be stored in-camera, you can either invest in a micro SD card for extra storage space or use a cloud storage service or photo sharing app like Flickr or Dropbox.

5. Set your focus point

If you want to get sharp images with your mobile phone, it’s important to set the focus point before you press the shutter button. How it works may depend on your phone or the app you’re using, but usually you can tap the screen at the point where you want to focus and a yellow square will appear to indicate the focus point.

If you don’t want the camera to try to refocus on other things in the frame while you’re working, you can lock your focus point by disabling the autofocus feature. If you’re dealing with a moving subject, you can tap the screen just before you press the button to make sure your subject will be in focus.

6. Experiment with panorama mode

Panorama mode is a lot of fun to use and can produce some amazing results, especially when it comes to landscape or cityscape shots where you want to fit more in the frame.

With the panoramic feature, you take several photos of the same scene and your camera app then stitches them all together to create a single image. Just try to avoid including things that move rapidly like cars, and focus on keeping your hand steady and level as you move the camera from left to right.

7. Try some accessories

If you want to get serious with your mobile photography, you’ll definitely need a tripod like the flexible GorillaPod or Square Jellyfish Spring Tripod to hold the camera steady at slower shutter speeds.

Aside from a tripod, there are plenty of other accessories that can elevate your mobile photography, such as clip-on lenses that can be fitted over your existing camera lens. You can find everything from mobile wide angle lenses to telephoto and macro lenses.

An underwater housing can also be fun, as it will encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and capture some very different types of photos.