attr: Pxhere, https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1178753

Mobile phone photography is taking off in a big way especially with new features like AI and portrait modes that allow you to change the depth of field. Phones now are better at taking photos that you could’ve taken with a professional camera ten years ago. However, here are basic skills that can help you move from casual phone camera shooter to a mobile photography pro.

Bump up the exposure

Most phones now allow you to focus on your subject and then adjust the exposure. This can help you get brighter photos that look better whether straight out of the camera or with a filter on. To do this, focus on the subject and then hold on the focus icon until you see the two arrows facing up and down. Toggle up to brighten up your photo or toggle down to darken it. Higher exposure is great if you’re in a dark space and you want fresh, lively photos. Darker exposure can work well if you want to take dramatic, moody shots. 

Use the Portrait Mode Wisely

The Portrait Mode is a great feature that allows you to play with depth of field. DoF is what gives your photos soft and creamy backgrounds that make your subjects stand out. The masterful use of the Portrait Mode can help you mimic true depth of field, but only if you know how. First off, avoid going all the way down into the biggest aperture. To shoot portraits, opt for an aperture of 4-7, and higher if you are shooting more than one person. This will give you reasonable bokeh, without making the background look artificially smoothed out.

Shoot in good light   

Good light is the bedrock of good photography. When shooting outside, avoid sharp highlights and shadows by shooting in shade. You can also shoot in early mornings and late afternoons for better lighting. When indoors, get brighter photos by taking photos near doors and windows.

Compose and frame 

You can get creative with framing and composition to get interesting photos. Interesting backgrounds, symmetry,  the use of negative space, the use of foregrounds like branches, the edge of door frames and windows, shooting through glass or a screen can give you various effects that work whether you are using a mobile phone or a camera.

Go Manual

Professional photos look the way they do because the photographer has complete control of all aspects of the photo, from the exposure and metering to the ISO being used. Many phones now have a manual mode which makes it easier to practice your photography skills as if you are using a real professional camera. This is also a good way to practice your shots and make the transition to a professional camera worth all that money. 

Practice is the best way to become better at anything and with mobile phone photography, you can easily practice every day.  Get creative, don’t be afraid to play with the features of your phone and slowly master the basics.  All these will pay off in the form of better photos and a shorter learning curve if and when you decide to upgrade to a professional camera.