There is a well-known saying in the field of photography: ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you’. Photographers love to boast about having the latest camera, and a store cupboard filled with lenses for every occasion. With a super telephoto lens for zooming into the furthest away of objects, and a macro lens for being able to channel the inner David Attenborough and getting stunning pictures of microscopic dew drops between the grass on the ground. It can be easily disheartening for someone without all of this kit who maybe wants to get into photography, when browsing online to find out that to buy these cameras and lenses you might need to take out another student loan! It’s all just FAR too expensive. I must argue, that often enough the camera that is in all of our pockets – our mobiles – is often more than suitable to take just as impressive photos as the photographer on the street who is stood balancing their tripods, lenses, cameras, and speedlights between their legs.
I posit that it is not what camera or camera equipment is being used, but how the camera is being used. Phones now are shipped with some of the best cameras on the market. With high megapixel stats, built-in telephoto and wide-angle lenses, optical image stabilisers and adaptive flash technologies just to name a few features, there is no reason to disregard the camera that is in our pockets!
So then, how can mobile phone photography ever come close to the photos produced by the multi-thousand-pound DSLR cameras? Here’s three tips:
Number One: I cannot stress enough how influential just altering the exposure of a photo can have on the finished product. It transforms a picture from being either way too bright (over-exposed) or far too dark (under-exposed). The outcome of playing around with the exposure can lead to some rather creative and even abstract images. On modern phones, altering exposure is extremely easy to do, and there are loads of videos online to help you master adjusting exposure on your phone.
Number Two: Your phones are LOADED with so many features to help your pictures look as great as they possibly can be… so use them! One of my favourite features is the panorama capture tool that is found on almost every modern phone. Using this feature is so incredibly easy, and due to the advanced calibration software on phones, automatically produced panoramas are often of far higher quality than panoramas taken with a DSLR or other dedicated handheld cameras. Another feature I love, that can produce studio-quality photos on latest iPhone models is portrait mode. Software on the phone and using the built-in telephoto lens creates layers to the picture, to automatically remove the subject from the photo, and can leave very impressive results.
Number Three: You absolutely do not need to break the bank buying expensive photo editing plans. The truth is on latest cameras, the inbuilt editors can be just as powerful. The trick is not to be too ‘over the top’ with editing images – subtlety is key! I often find that making small adjustments to lighting, vibrance and saturation levels can make an image develop a completely different presence.