6 golden rules to perfect your smartphone photography skills

Remember these essential tips and you’ll never commit smartphone photography sin

Every photo is the expression of an idea. These days, digital photography is more accessible than ever and everyone's got something to say.

Luckily, no one has to reinvent the wheel. Here are some basic tips for fixing the common problems with shooting with your phone.

[Image source: Flickr]

Focus up

Don't let the perfect shot slip away, tap to focus. Your camera's got auto-focus for a reason. If you're too close to your subject, your camera may not be able to find the right focus. Don't be afraid to set up the shot again.

[Image source: Tech Hive]

Stop zooming

Smartphone cameras are notoriously poor at zooming. Pop quiz, Hotshot. What happens to the camera sensor when you zoom in? Instead of re-sampling the image, the camera crops the original, un-zoomed image and re-sizes it. Bottom line, a surefire way to get a poor-quality image.

[Image source: All About Symbian]

Mind your light

Be aware of your lighting source - how much of it, and which direction it's coming from. Light is the essence of photography, so make sure there's enough light on your subject. If there isn't, change the shot. Move the camera or the subject. Just don't manhandle your model.

 If the background has more light on it than your subject, then you might run into some problems. In fact, you can't even see your subject due to the strong backlight. Use flash as a last resort to counter the strong backlight and add more shine to your subject. Alternatively, you can adjust the exposure value.

Hold still

Can't stop shaking? Here are a few tips.

Hold the camera closer to your body. When we take a photo, we like to extend our arms, like we're at a Taylor Swift concert. Instead, bring them closer to your body, like you're in a crowded train.

The amount of light affects how noticeable the camera shake is going to be. The more photos you take, the more you'll notice that camera shake is harder to get rid of in night-time or indoor shots.

Flash can be a quick fix. But the more stable your body, the sharper the shot. Rest your hand or arm or whole body on something to stabilize yourself: a wall, a chair, a table, a friend, a stranger.

Or take tai-chi, work on your core. Sometimes, art demands sacrifice.

[Image source: funnymail.co.za]

Rule of threes

Stop sticking your face in the centre of the photo. Get creative!

Rule of threes is an easy composition trick to use, hard to master. Enable gridlines and practice using them to compose your photos. Bonus points for hitting more than one point in your photo. Bonus bonus points for using composition to tell a story.

Before you jump on us for rejecting one way of composing a photo for another, we just want to say that there's no wrong way of framing a shot. But if more people used the rule of threes, then we'd have more interesting shots overall.

[Image source: Jay Wennington]

Stop flashing

Flash capabilities on your smartphone are dismal. The short throwing distance might not even give you the necessary light to fill up the shadows. So it's really, really only to be used in dire situations, but take heed, it should be a close-up shot. Pro-tip: borrow your friend's phone and use the LED light to act as torch and fill in those shadows.

Master these few steps, and you'll be on your way to becoming the next Annie Leibovitz.

Still lost? Check out our primer on smartphone photography jargon. Now, if you could only find the time to sort your photos...