“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” – Chase Jarvis, Photographer
One of the best advantages of using a smartphone camera is that it is always with you – on a dog walk, on a drive to the coast, on a family meal, or at a special celebration. You can capture the stunning sunsets, the rich autumn colours or the beautiful spring blossoms as you see them, without having to plan to take the ‘big’ camera out. Record these memories so you, and your family, can look back on them in years to come and remember the good times.
We used to have phones that took pictures. We now have cameras that make phone calls
Technology has come such a long way in recent years, that the phones in our pockets can now rival more expensive, professional cameras. As Rankin says on his 2020 Rankin Sky Arts programme, ‘Now we all have cameras in our pockets, I think it’s time to use them.’
But you don’t have to be a professional photographer to enjoy the freedom of taking photos. Once you understand the three basic elements of photography – light, subject, and composition – the rest will fall into place.
5 top tips when taking photos using your smartphone
As with everything, if you learn how to use your tools better, you will get the most out of it. Here are a few tips on how to get the best out of your smartphone camera.
1. Before you take any photos, give the lens on your camera a wipe.
It sounds simple, but because our phones tend to live in our pockets or bags, the amount of dirt that gets on the lens is unbelievable (mine is normally covered in dog biscuits or chocolate!). This will make your colours look clearer and more vibrant.
2. Turn the camera gridlines on to help with your composition (Google how to do this for your specific phone).
Not only does this help with getting straight lines, but you can also apply the Rule of Thirds in your images (where you keep your main subject OUT of the middle square so you are off-centre).
3. Look for the light and work with it. Turn your flash off as this produces really harsh and flat photos.
4. Don’t always shoot at ‘chest’ height.
Think about crouching down low, or standing on a table to get a different perspective. For a totally different effect, turn your camera upside down and place it on a flat surface and see the difference it makes. If your camera is waterproof (and you are brave!!!), use the same technique and place it on the edge of a puddle, or on a reflective surface – you will be amazed at the reflection you can get.
5. Zoom with your feet
Move closer wherever possible and don’t be tempted to zoom in on the camera. Every time you zoom in, you are reducing the quality of the image. Take the photo as normal and then crop it to keep as much quality as possible.
For more top tips, watch Jet’s live smartphone photography session where you can see in ‘real time’ how to get the best out of your smartphone camera.
Jeanette ‘Jet’ Lendon is the founder and Creative Director of Jet Black Squares. Combining her former teaching career in the East End of London with a more recent corporate photography business of 13 years, she has created a hub for everything creative surrounding the smartphone. Her passion is showing people of all ages how to get the best photos from their phones – she believes that photography should be available to everyone and not just those who have a ‘fancy camera’.
Do you want to find out more about photography? Join Jet’s live photography masterclass on Tuesday 24th May 2022. To find out more and to book your place, click here.