There’s an amateur photographer inside each of us. For years, iOS devices constantly outperformed many Android devices in terms of camera quality and built-in camera modes. But that’s about to change.
Now that Android phone cameras are punching up with better hardware and software, you can take stunning photographs akin to a DSLR camera. This guide will teach you how to unlock the features in your Android phone, frame your shots and make share-worthy photographs that look highly professional.
Whether it’s spectacular scenery while on vacation, your favorite people or anything in between, keep reading for tips and tricks to help you capture the best photos possible on your Android phone.
1. Basic tips before you start taking photos
Before you can flip into photography mode, there are a few things we should get in order first. Do these quick setup tips so you can focus on the fun part without running into problems.
Clean your camera lens with a microfiber cloth
Microfiber cloths are excellent because they won’t scratch lenses. Wipe down your lens for 10 seconds to clear any dust or debris. Always store your phone in a case or bag that minimizes the risk of scratching the lens.
Find your camera specifications
Your camera specs will impact what type of photos you can take. Find out what megapixel (MP) resolution it takes pictures in and if it has a high dynamic range (HDR). Optical zoom will also be helpful; the digital zoom is not. You’ll find the specs in your phone’s manual. Don’t have it on hand? Tap or click for thousands of free manuals online.
Double-check your storage
With the correct settings enabled, high-quality photos quickly add up and take up a lot of space. Check your phone’s internal storage and take a practice photo with your correct settings. Check the photo file size to give yourself a rough idea of how many you can take before you run out of storage space. You can always expand your phone storage with a micro SD card.
Now that you understand the basics let’s move on to some pro photography tips.
2. Use natural light whenever you can
Natural light beats artificial light in every situation. Depending on the subject of your photo, a backdrop of natural light creates a much more attractive and authentic atmosphere.
You want the light to separate your subject from the photo’s background. Angle your phone so that the light hits the subject and illuminates the back side of it. This highlights the goal of the photograph.
3. Consider using a gimbal to take even photos
A gimbal is a small device with a handle that you can hook to your phone. These also exist for larger DSLR cameras and usually come with phone adapters.
A gimbal uses three-axis stabilizers to keep your camera completely level. If you have trouble taking photographs that look steady, a gimbal can help. These also work well if you’re trying to get an angle that may be uncomfortable for you to position yourself in.
If you want to take a photo from a low angle (the floor, for example), hook your phone up to the gimbal, lower it on the handle and take the picture using a timer or a small controller. Gimbals help turn small photography spaces into an array of endless possibilities. Tap or click here for great gimbal options on Amazon.
4. Rule of thirds
Just about every camera has a grid option. This places a 3×3 grid on your screen (don’t worry; it won’t show up in the photo). Use this to center the subject of your image.
Your subject shouldn’t perfectly fit into the center box. Instead, use it as a guide. Tall subjects such as trees or buildings should appear to meet the top corners of your center box. Smaller subjects should begin with the bottom line of the center box.
5. Burst photography (because some pictures still come out blurry)
Phone cameras aren’t perfect. In your camera settings, find Pro Mode. Here, you can change a setting called shutter speed. High shutter speed reduces image blurriness but darkens photos. Low shutter speed captures more light but leads to a higher chance of blurring.
If your subject is flooded with natural light, high shutter speed can help balance it while reducing blur. Low light situations almost always call for low shutter speed (and a steady hand).
Take multiple photos back to back. This reduces the number of blurry images and lets you take different angles to decide what works best.
6. Simple filters make a huge difference
You’ll see a list of half-a-dozen filters in your Android photo editor. These provide small, subtle changes in your photographs with color balancing, correction and dynamic range adjustments.
Since you’re taking photos with a phone, you might be in areas with less-than-ideal lighting conditions. Filters can make it look like you took pictures in a studio setting. Make multiple copies of your favorite images and see which filters help enhance them. Tap or click here for free photo editing tools.
7. Get closer if you have a lower megapixel camera
A 12MP camera can take pictures in an amazing resolution of 4247 x 2826. This gives you a lot of room to mess around with in post-production.
Lower-end Android phones may have a lower pixel density. If this is the case, get closer to your subjects and practice taking close-range photographs. Large objects from far distances lose definition with low megapixel cameras.