5 ways to improve your smartphone photography

Here’s how you can improve your smartphone photography.  Check out these tips to get the best images you can get from your phone. But remember, even with the latest tech, phones aren’t as versatile imaging tools as modern interchangeable lens cameras.

opens in a new windowsmartphone photography tips

Good Camera Phone

You really can’t go wrong with the latest Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, or Samsung Galaxy devices when it comes to smartphone photography. Chances are older devices have a camera that isn’t up to snuff.

Bright Lenses

The opens in a new windowSamsung Galaxy S9 smartphone photography has one that opens up all the way to f/1.5. But sensors are much smaller than you find in a premium compact camera with a 1-inch sensor like the opens in a new windowCanon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. That gives them a distinct disadvantage in image quality in dim lighting. To get the best shots, look for opportunities where your phone’s sensor can shine. If you’re indoors, try to set up your shot so there’s light falling on your subject—some window light will do more to improve your photos than a new phone or camera. It’s always a better option to find good light as opposed to using your phone’s underpowered LED flash.

Adjust Exposure

Smartphones photography are the modern point-and-shoot, but the apps that run their cameras typically offer some level of manual control. The most basic adjustment you can make is exposure—brightening or darkening a scene—and using it effectively can turn a bland image into a head-turner. Use it to brighten the shot of your fancy dinner to make it perfect for Instagram, or to darken shadows in a portrait for a more dramatic look.

The feature isn’t always labeled the same. On an iPhone you’ll want to drag the sun icon, to the right of the focus confirmation box, up to brighten an image or down to darken it. Android phones typically have the more traditional +/- icon for exposure adjustment.

Adding a grid line

Adding a grid line gives you help in keeping the horizon straight and is a big plus for portraits in front of famous landmarks in smartphone photography. With the notable exceptions of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, it’s generally a good idea to keep upright structures perfectly vertical in your photos.

Add-On Lens

A quality add-on lens will cost you—the bargain-basement ones we’ve reviewed have been universally terrible. Go with a trusted brand like opens in a new windowMoment or opens in a new windowOlloclip.

Picking the type of add-on lens is important too. I think a macro adds the most versatility to your phone’s camera, but you may prefer an ultra-wide, a fish-eye, or a telephoto conversion lens.

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