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Have you ever wondered how to “be smart” about taking photographs with your smartphone? You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take amazing photographs.

Smartphone photography refers to taking photographs with your mobile phone – whether it be an Android or iPhone. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get started on your photographic journey.

Virtual Coffee With Austin From R7c Media

One of the goals of Artisanry Co. is to empower artisans in their business capacity. By assisting with the business side of the creative process, you’re able to focus on making your masterpieces.

The Artisanry community is a fantastic way to network and learn from one another. Our virtual coffee sessions every Monday afternoon offer skills and discussions to improve your ability to market your art.

We recently spoke to Austin Mitchell from R7C Media, based in Stirling, during one of our virtual coffee sessions. Austin shared a few of his top tips and tricks for making the most of smartphone photography.

Top 5 Tips For Taking Photographs With Your Smartphone

As presented by Austin, here are a few tips to help take your photography to the next level.

1.   Lighting Is Number One Priority

Whether you are using natural or artificial lighting; the direction, colour and harshness of your light source directly affects the image you are trying to capture.

Unlike professionals who have tools to manipulate a light source, we just have to take advantage of the light that we have – as best as we can!

A general rule is that the light source needs to be behind you (the photographer) and shining onto the subject. Once you’ve established that position, then you can get creative with angles.

If you’re struggling to find decent lighting inside, you may want to try setting up your subject at a window before heading outside. This lighting is less harsh than the direct sunlight outside. But if you’re still not satisfied, a shady spot outdoors may do the trick.

2.   Use The Right Orientation For The Situation

When taking a photo, you need to think about which platform you want to share the image on. This decision needs to be made before taking the photo because it will ultimately affect the orientation of your phone.

For example, if you intend to share a picture on Instagram Story, then you would need to take your photo in portrait (vertically). If you want to use the image for a website, then you’ll want to snap it in landscape (horizontal).

Having your end goal in mind will help you to determine the orientation of your phone.

3.   Focus On One Subject

In photography, sometimes less is more! Focusing on too many details removes the focus altogether.

Building your photo around one point and making use of negative space helps the subject of your shot to stand out.

Top tip: One great way to use negative space is by following the rule of thirds. This means that your subject only fills one-third of the whole frame.

4.   Be Creative And Try Different Perspectives

Most people tend to take photos from a straight-on angle – so why not try something new?

As a creative, you have every opportunity to use your abstract mind and try different angles when taking photographs. Unique angles make photos more memorable.

Working with angles helps to create illusions of depth and height, setting your photos apart from the rest. Think outside the box and try out different angles.

5.   Be Consistent In The Look-And-Feel

As an artisan, you most likely have a certain style of art. A je ne sais quoi that is uniquely yours. The same concept applies to photography.

Try to remain consistent with your look-and-feel, especially when using the images for social media. Find a style that reflects your personality, brand and strengths and make an effort to generate a brand aesthetic.

Additional Tips

The top five tips are a great place to start, but Austin offered additional tips to give you that extra edge.

Take Advantage Of Your Phone’s Tools

Whether you’re working with an Android or iPhone device, it’s worth exploring the different camera settings that are available. These can be a huge asset in helping to take great photographs.

For example, recent iPhone’s boast a fantastic ‘Portrait’ mode which uses a twin-lens camera to create an artistic depth of field.

Rule Of Thirds

Photographs are more interesting when their subjects align with imaginary lines. These lines essentially divide the photo frame into thirds – both horizontally and vertically.

This grid can help plan the composition of the image, and ascertain where the subject fits into the image as whole.  

Use Mobile Filters And Presets

When used correctly, the use of filters can be a great tool for expression. A few good mobile applications recommended to use when editing your photos are:

  • Lightroom CC Mobile
  • VSCO
  • Photoshop Mobile
  • Snapseed
  • Pixelstyle

While some of these applications are paid for, there are free versions with basic features. Having a mobile editing app allows you to easily apply edits and filters to the photographs on your phone.

Use Reflections

Our eyes are drawn to reflections and there are plenty of exciting places to find them! Play around with these reflections when taking photographs on your phone to help spruce up the image.

Some examples of reflections are bodies of water, sunglasses, metallic surfaces and mirrors – to mention a few!

Use Lines, Symmetry And Negative Space

Another way to be creative when taking photographs is to play around with leading lines, symmetry and making use of negative space.

All of these tips and tricks have one aspect in common- they capture the audience’s eye!

Don’t Zoom In

Whenever possible, you should avoid zooming in on your subject. Rather take your phone one step closer if you can.

Zooming in results in a grainy, pixilated photo and will leave your audience confused as to what they’re looking at. If you’re unable to get physically closer to the subject, there are screw-on zoom lenses that can be bought at an affordable rate.

Touch The Screen To Focus

Always make sure that your subject is in focus – unless you are intentionally striving for a blurred shot.

If your camera focus is not clear, then you can tap the screen in the same place that you want the image to be sharpened.

Shoot Action Shots In Burst Mode

Taking an action shot is not an easy task to tackle – especially not on a camera phone. However, there is one trick that will increase your chances of taking a good action photograph – Burst mode.

Burst mode helps you to capture at least one great shot within a series of bad ones.

Time To Try It For Yourself

These are just a few ways to improve your smartphone photography. Whether you’re playing around in the studio or set up a staged area in the home – try out these tips and tricks.

We’d love to see the results of your photographs, so make sure to tag us on social media @artisanryco and include the hashtag #ShowAndTell. If you’re not yet a part of our community of artisans, you can find out more about joining Artisanry Co. here.