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Ten Top Tips For Better Mobile & Cell Phone Photography

Civic Building, Fareham

The cameras in our mobile / cell phones are now powerful enough to rival the compact cameras of a few years ago. We've got the ability to edit our photographs using software downloaded to our phones, then share those photo's with the world. There's iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and a whole host of others. So how do we take better photographs with our mobile / cell phones?

1) Get closer! There probably isn't an optical zoom on your phone camera (and don't be tempted to use the digital zoom - it'll degrade your images) so use those feet and fill the frame with your subject. Then get a little closer again!

2) Get down! The wide-angle lenses on our cell-phone cameras can give us photo's with fantastic perspective distortion, you know, the look where buildings are "leaning back" and parallel lines seem to shoot away and converge really quickly. Take advantage of this, and enhance this effect, by taking photographs from really low down close to the ground or other unusual angles!

3) If it's wonky, make it really wonky! We all know to use the built in guides to keep our horizons and horizontals straight, and your camera may even have a grid-lines option, but when you want a different look, tip that horizon over, tip the camera back, and get things over on a Dutch Angle!

4) Avoid The Middle! An oldie but goodie - get that subject away from the centre of the frame, and the middle hozontal or vertical. Stick your subject towards the corners! (Think of someone's eyes in a close portrait, you'll want them towards the top right or left corners).

5) Embrace the flare! Not known for having the best lens coatings, our phone cameras are great at exaggerating the effect of the Sun. Don't worry about it, in fact the low-contrast, retro looking images are some of the coolest!

6) Shoot Blind! Hey, its digital, so it doens't matter how many photographs we take, we can delete the duds and just take some more. Try just walking along, pressing the shutter without even looking at the screen. Try taking some candid shots by shooting from the hip. 

7) Flip that camera over! Get into the habit of taking one portrait and one landscape shot every time you see a scene - you'll be amazed at the times you'll prefer the orientation that you didn't choose first...

8) Import, import, import! Use the built-in camera app to take your photographs - it's faster and you'll get full-resolution images, then choose an app that will let you add your efects afterwards. I love Vignette for Android Phones (the paid version).

9) Look for the light! Great photographs rely on great light, so look for the Sun to light your subject in a beautiful way. I could be when the Sun is low in the sky, or maybe when some clouds are doing you a favour. You'll know it when you see it!

10) Forget you're using a camera phone. It's a camera! It's easy to be dismissive of the cameras in our phones, that they're no good for serious work. I beg to disagree - we can take beautiful photo's with our camera phones, and after all, it's the camera that we've always got with us!

Thanks, Rob.

What Do You Think?

What phone do you take photographs with? What software do you use? What are your top tips for taking better photographs with your mobile / cell phone? Please add your comments below! 

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