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    Updated on Aug 31, 2020. Posted on Nov 10, 2016

    17 Easy Little Ways To Improve Your Phone Photography

    Because who says you need a big fancy camera?

    Rebecca Hendin / Getty / BuzzFeed

    Photography is great fun. But carrying round a bulky camera can be pretty impractical.

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    Plus they're expensive, and not super suitable for someone like me who is clumsy AF and drops everything.

    But here's a secret... you don't really need all the gizmos and doodahs, because the camera on your smartphone will do just fine!

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    Honestly, if you have a new (ish) smartphone, the cameras on them are pretty blimmin' brilliant. Not to mention how portable they are.

    So here's a bunch of tips to help you make the most of your phone camera!

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    Tried and tested by yours truly.

    1. Try out different lenses on your camera for different effects, like Magniband, OlloClip or Moment.

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    You can get so many different clip on lenses to take your phone photography to the next level; fish eye lenses, zoom lenses, wide angle lenses, the list is endless. I love Magniband, which is a band with a magnifying lens in it that magnifies everything you want to take a picture of, and is cheap as chips at £4.99. Then for more lens options, you should 100% check out OlloClip and Moment who both do a wide range of optics!

    2. Soft natural light is always the best light to shoot in.

    3. Use a separate torch instead of your phone flash to downlight in low-lighting.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    DON'T USE YOUR PHONE FLASH IT SUCKS. You'll lose all detail in the picture, get harsh shadows and if you're taking a picture in a bar the flash is going to jar all the other patrons.

    Instead, if your friend has a smartphone, ask them nicely to turn their torch on (or if you're totally tragic like me, you can get cheap pocket torches from Ebay), then hold it directly above the thing you want to shoot. This is a food stylist trick – food and drink always looks better in photos when the light is being held directly above it, rather than to one side. Feel free to play with this though!

    4. Or use the torch to create interesting effects.

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    If you want to take a photo of a drink at a bar or restaurant and the table surface is dirty or cluttered, you can use a phone torch or pocket torch to create really interesting effects by holding it directly against your glass.

    5. Make sure your exposure is right.

    A handy trick to quickly fix exposure (on iPhones) is to tap the screen, and a square with a little sun next to it will appear. Then put your finger on the screen and move it upwards or downwards to adjust the exposure – this is especially handy in low lighting.

    Always remember: it's better to be under exposed than over exposed! Over-exposure will lose detail from the photo that you won't be able to get back, but usually with under-exposed pics you can fix it by manually brightening it later.

    6. Use FaceTune to edit your images.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Yes, I know, FaceTune is ~meant~ for photoshopping your face. But if you forget about that, FaceTune is actually the best general photoshop app I've ever used. I actually PREFER it to regular photoshop on my computer as it's so user-friendly, plus you can use your fingers to edit, which I find easier.

    The best functions on the app, in my opinion, are "Tones", which you can use to remove unwanted background objects, "Details" which is like sharpen but you can apply it to a specific area of the photo, "Smooth" for faking depth of field, and "Patch" which is basically the photoshop Clone Stamp tool.

    7. To get rid of unwanted background objects on FaceTune, you need the "Tones" and "Smooth" function.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Go onto "Tones", select the colour of the background surrounding the unwanted object with your finger, then start colouring the object (i.e. a hand) in with that (again, use your finger). This might leave some weird lines, so go onto "Smooth" and just use your finger to smooth out the lines. Alternate between these until you're satisfied with how it looks.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Before vs After:

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    8. To create depth of field on FaceTune, use the "Detail" and "Smooth" functions.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Go onto "Details" and with your finger go over the bits of the picture you want to be in focus. Next, go onto "Smooth" and smooth out the background so it's a bit blurrier. This might not work with every pictures, but if you have a clear focus point, this can be a great way to fake depth of field.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Before vs After:

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    9. Abide by the rule of thirds.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    An easy hack to make pictures look better is to imagine your picture has been divided into three, with guidelines (as shown above). Then, you want to make the focus point of your photo slightly off centre, or have a nice flow of the lines in the picture across all three sections.

    You also want to have your horizon completely level, and placed nearer to the top or bottom of your photo, rather than dead centre. If you can't see a straight horizon, then just try to create balance within the photo. This isn't a hard and fast rule though; If you think something looks good, then just go with that!

    10. Symmetry is also great.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    I dunno man, there's just something about a ton of lines all matching up in symmetry.... when in doubt, try and take a symmetrical image, people go crazy for that shit.

    This is especially good if you have no horizon at all in your photo – just try to make a beautiful, symmetrical image with what you have in the frame.

    11. Or get dead centre.

    12. Don't zoom in when you take a picture – crop it afterwards instead.

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Zooming makes your camera run slower (especially in lower lighting), and it produces exactly the same quality (if not worse quality) as cropping into an image. Plus, cropping rather than zooming gives you more options when you edit the picture.

    13. For food shots, avoid a background that's the same colour as your subject.

    14. Don't filter your images.

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    Instead, play around with the effects on your phone or on Instagram to up the brightness, the contrast or the saturation, for a photo that is it's best self but still looks real. My preferred combo is a little bit of contrast, structure and saturation.

    If you really want to filter though, don't use Instagram's... VSCO and Colour Story are the best for filters IMO. If you also want better editing control than Instagram for things like saturation, contrast...etc Snapseed is brilliant. The native edit features on iPhones are also really great!

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    Before vs After:

    Emma Cooke / BuzzFeed

    15. Use your earphone volume buttons as a shutter.

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    If you have an iPhone, (this may work for other smartphones too) the volume buttons on your headphones double as a camera shutter. So you can prop your phone up against something for super stable photos, or selfies without arms in.

    16. For added fun, check out Burzt, Slow Shutter or Boomerang!

    17. Have fun!

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    Photography "rules" are really just there for guidance when you need it – only follow the ones you want to follow. You do you, and just have fun. Happy photo taking!

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