3 Tips for Better Smartphone Photography

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A picture is worth 1000 words. An old adage that was crucial to #KoikoiUg at its inception. We believed that pictures would tell more than words ever could, and that they had the power to change perceptions about Uganda and break stereotypes. But 1000 words when not strung together beautifully with the right anecdotes and references make for some pretty boring reading. This blog post shows you how to make the most of your words, in one single frame. Even better, without having to hustle with expensive gadgets, utilising what most of us already have, a smartphone.

  1. The Right Picture

You have heard that the story is king. So before we delve into the intricacies of accessories and application, simple basics like The rule of thirds and Focus are a must. Ensuring your picture is in good focus makes it easy to look at without straining the eye. For most phones now days, holding the screen for a couple of seconds on the area you wish to focus on should do the trick.

As for the rule of thirds, think of your camera with 3 horizontal lines top to bottom and another 3, left to right. The rule basically states that if vertical your subject should be either on the first on third line left to right, and if horizontal, it should be on the first or third line top to bottom. the Rule of Thirds is a technique designed to help artists and photographers build drama and interest in a piece.

2. The Right Tools

These aren’t a necessity but a few accessories never hurt anyone. Especially as a traveler, we recommend getting your hands on some lenses. Travel happens so quickly and often a time you don’t have the time to go through the motions of getting closer to your subject for a tighter shot, or going further  for a wider shot. Such adjustments can easily be made by a DSLR, and a wide angle & telephoto lens, although not giving you the same capabilities, close the gap for a fraction of the price.

Pro Tip: Never use the zoom on your camera. Because smartphone cameras don’t have an actual lens that moves, digital zoom works just like cropping the picture before you take it. You lose a lot of the quality in the process. Get close or use a telephoto lens.

3. The Right apps

So after you take a great picture, then comes presenting that picture. Lets go back to the analogy of the picture being worth a thousand word, not all the words are the point. Some work to paint the scene, other support the main character. It is the same with a picture. You have to think about what you want to say, and adjust the dials of contrast, and brightness accordingly. You can do this natively in most camera apps but not like you will be able to achieve in Adobe’s Lightroom for mobile, VSCO or Google’s SnapSeed (a favourite for #Koikoiug mobile photographers). Download them, and toggle the controls, you will soon realise they bring so much more color to your story.

Now that you have the right stuff, how about you show us Uganda through your eyes. Don’t forget to tag #KoikoiUg on Instagram or twitter.

Guest Post by Daudi Ogutu.

  • stewart

    Such a great write up! You should know more about the most commonly used handheld device today 🙂 Check out frootvpn blog for infographics