In this era of advancing technologies, the quality of mobile cameras has taken a giant leap. The camera, which started as a mere feature in mobile phones, has now progressed to become one of the vital features. As time went by, the mobile cameras have evolved to produce the images, which rival in quality to certain point & shoot and DSLR cameras. The mobile cameras today are equipped with better technologies, have better resolution and extraordinary features.
True, that mobile cameras cannot be used as principal equipment for professional photography; mobile photography has its pros and cons. Smartphones these days come with Auto and Manual or Pro mode. As both the traditional cameras and mobile cameras use similar technology, it is imperative to learn basic camera functions as well as understand some fundamentals of photography.
In the following article, we shall be discussing the tips to improve mobile photography as well as understand some features of mobile cameras to produce visually appealing images.
Understanding your camera: First thing is to get to know your mobile camera thoroughly. Test the various functions and modes of the camera in both well light and low light situations. Experiment with stationary as well as moving subjects. Knowing your camera functions thoroughly will help you control the final image output. This process will take some time and will require a little bit of practice.
Understanding composition: In essence, the composition is an arrangement of visual elements in an image. The well-composed image looks aesthetical as well as pleasant to the eyes. Below are some of the composition techniques, which can be used while photographing a subject.
- Rule of Thirds: One of the best ways to improve your mobile photography is to start with the rule of thirds. Turn on your camera’s gridlines. These lines will divide your screen according to the rule of thirds. In essence, this rule says that divide the image into nine parts using horizontal and vertical lines. If you place the object of interest at these points of intersections or along the lines, the image tends to look more balanced and guides the viewer’s attention to the object.
- Leading Lines: This principle uses lines to draw the viewer’s attention to the object of interest. This rule can be used to photograph staircases, roads, buildings, train tracks and paths through woods. Using leading lines creates a sense of depth.
- Textures and Patterns: We are surrounded by huge varieties of textures and patterns. Be it a tree bark or dried leaves or the abstract shadow patterns. Using these simple elements can also produce beautiful images.
Shooting in Manual Mode: Smartphone cameras use Auto mode by default. However, you can use Manual or Pro mode to control some camera functions along with the exposure and light. Several Android phones have in-built Manual mode. However, if your camera lacks it, you can use any third-party apps, which have similar modes. Below are some of the common parameters in Manual mode:
- Shutter Speed: Increasing the shutter speed (1/1000 or 1/2000) reduces the amount of light and helps in controlling the light in bright situations. Increasing the shutter speed also helps in freezing the motion and can be used in photographing fast-moving objects. Decreasing the shutter speed (1/60 or 1/20) increases the amount of light and helps in low light situations. Decreasing the shutter speed produces motion blur.
- ISO: High ISO value (1600) captures more light but reduces image quality by introducing noise. Low ISO value (100) captures less light but gives better image quality.
Smartphone camera features: Smartphones these days offers some of the amazing in-built features, which can help you to take your mobile photography to the next level. Below is the list of some of these features:
- Portrait Mode: The portrait mode produces the images with a sharp foreground subject and an out-of-focus or blurred background. This mode can be used while photographing human portraits, food items and products.
- Panorama Mode: The panorama mode captures images with elongated field of view. These shots can be taken by moving mobile in the given direction either horizontally or vertically. This mode can be used while photographing cities and landscapes.
- HDR Mode: The HDR mode produces images with high shadows and highlights contrast and striking colour details. This is achieved by compositing multiple shots of different brightness values in one image. This mode is used for photographing skies, nature shots and for better night photography.
- Macro Mode: This mode is used to photograph minute subjects like insects, flowers or fine textures. In this mode, the camera reduces the usual focusing distance thus helping to photograph these micro subjects.
- Timelapse: In this technique, the camera takes the pictures at the pre-decided time intervals. The pictures are then played together as a film in which the subjects appear to be moving. This feature can be used while photographing sunsets, sunrise, or city life transitions.
- Slow Motion: Slow motion is an effect where the motion appears to be happening slower than the normal. Using this feature in normal action videos can give an interesting output.
Mobile Photography Accessories: Accessories like Gorilla pods or Small tripods (for extra support), Clip-on lenses (for effects like zoom, macro, wide-angle, and fish-eye) and Smartphone gimbals can certainly improve your mobile photography.
As said earlier, mobile photography has its pros and cons. Though it is difficult to match the quality of a mobile camera to a DSLR, mobile photography has its advantages. Mobile photography can work as a foundation ground for DSLR photography. Shooting and experimenting with your mobile can help you practice the composition techniques as well as learn camera functions.
My next blog will be about the Mobile Editing Techniques. Just like photography, editing is an integral part of image creation and we shall discuss it in-depth in the next post. Till then, step out, practice and experiment and don’t forget that The best camera, is the one that you have with you!
For any queries or doubts, feel free to drop a line in the comments sections.