How to get the best from your smartphone camera

How to get the best from your smartphone camera

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It doesn’t matter how good a picture might look, if you tell people it was taken on a smartphone, their opinion is likely to immediately change.

It doesn’t matter how good a picture might look, if you tell people it was taken on a smartphone, their opinion is likely to immediately change. A lot of people are of the opinion that you can’t take a good picture on a smartphone camera. However, with the majority of smartphones having a camera that’s 8-megapixels or more, it’s actually a lot easier than you think.

Don’t zoom

Almost all smartphone cameras have a zoom function and, although they can be useful, if you want to take an impressive shot then you should avoid using them if possible. When you use the zoom on your phone you’ll be able to see a noticeable reduction in the quality of the image being produced. Your smartphone zoom function is simply extrapolating the image that is already there and essentially guessing what it looks like close-up – hence the loss of detail.

Cropping the picture means that you maintain the resolution and therefore don’t jeopardise the clarity and the fact that there’s been no upscaling will help mask the fact that it was ever taken on a phone.

Don’t filter, edit

Instagram is great, it makes sharing photos easy and has bought out the amateur photographer in pretty much everyone. However, simply covering your photos with the same filters and washes that are available to everyone, isn’t enough to make you stand out anymore.

Rather than sticking to Instagram, download a proper editing app like Photoshop Express or Photoshop Mix. You’ll be able to make adjustments to the sharpness of images, colour temperature and contrast and you’ll be making your photos unique in the process. There’s no reason you can’t share your images over social media afterwards but this will allow you to start to develop your own style, that you can maintain and share.

Avoid fake blur

One of the biggest challenges of smartphone cameras is achieving depth of field. The combination of wide angle lenses and small sensors mean that background blur is not easy to achieve, and adding it in afterwards almost always looks terrible.

When you use an editing app to add blur, it usually applies it across the entire image. This looks unnatural because it’s not the way that a lens works. It’s also difficult to select the object you want in focus when adding blur which means you end up with harsh transitions – a major giveaway that it’s not natural and you’ve been messing with the original image.

If you feel like taking your photography skills up to the next level then take a look at our selection of home learning courses and wow your friends with your new found talent.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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