It is easy to mess up what would be a beautiful image if you do not know different smartphone photography techniques. Understanding how to use your smartphone’s camera can enhance the quality of your images. Some tips you can use include straightening the horizon, using RAW or HDR settings, and watching the location of the sun in your picture.
Straighten the horizon
Your beautiful shot can easily be ruined by a crooked horizon. Taking a few moments to straighten your image can make a big difference. It may not be easy to capture, but it is worth trying your best to get a level image. A tripod made for smartphones can help you stabilize, level, and frame your shot.
Shoot with the RAW setting or in HDR Mode
If your smartphone has it, using a RAW setting will give you more data in the light and dark ranges of an image. When it comes to editing your photo, RAW gives you the most image information. Camera apps like ProShot and Camera+ can give you access to this if your phone isn’t already equipped with the feature. While processing and editing an image in RAW, you may need an app like Adobe Lightroom Mobile to take full advantage of the extra data.
Setting HDR mode on your smartphone camera allows you to take several images in quick succession. These images are then combined into one. More details are captured that might otherwise disappear in dark shadows or become faded because of bright light. High contrast scenes with bright daylight are some of the scenes this might be helpful with. The HDR setting combines both low and high contrast images to create a more even tone. However, remember to carefully look at your images after using HDR mode, as they can appear to be unnaturally flat in tone or color.
Take pictures during the proper time of day
Depending on your personal taste, you may want to shoot at a particular time of day. Harsh overhead light can easily ruin a majestic picture and can be the downfall of even the best photographers. Best results can be achieved by photographing just after sunset or just before sunrise, often called the blue hour. Also, keep in mind the golden hour, when lighting is beautiful and warm, occurs roughly an hour before sunrise and an hour before sunset.
There are various apps and websites that can help you quickly and easily find the golden hour based upon your location. Remember that because subjects and locations vary, these may not be the best times to take the shot.
Examine all the details
Beautiful nature photography is often anchored in smaller details that can help frame a shot and set the scene. Leaves lit by golden sunlight, the textures in trees and rocks, or the flow of moving water are just a few examples of small, yet dramatic details. Detailed shots are great stand-alone images, but given context with accompanying features, a simple photo can become a masterpiece.
Watch the placement of the sun
You can make or break your nature photos by where you place the sun. If you include the sun in the frame of the image, it can causes lense flares, destroying the contrast. Try to keep the sun out of your image and from shining on the lens. You can do this by shading your smartphone with your hand, notebook, or even a hat.
Be cautious when using the rule of thirds
Probably the most basic composition principle is known as the rule of thirds. This rule illustrates the idea that on one of two lines on your smartphone’s grid feature, split the image into thirds. By lining up the landscape with these lines, you will get a balanced photograph. However, the rule of thirds doesn’t always work. Following it could result in a boring photo with mostly blue sky in the upper part of the image or flat ground at the bottom. The best thing to do is to fill your frame with what interests you most and find a balance that’s appealing to you.
Scale is important to include in your images
There are times when you see a spectacular scene, but when you take a photo of it, the image is much less impressive than in real life. You can fight this disappointment by looking for ways to include scale into your image. Waiting for a bird to fly into view or simply having a friend step into a scene are two examples of adding scale to improve your images.
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