Simply by virtue of their ubiquity, smartphones have an artistic function that should not be underestimated: they can be brought out at any given moment to capture an instant for all eternity. To make sure the best of these photos bring smiles to many faces rather than merely gather digital dust, the online photo lab WhiteWall has introduced an innovative, mobile version of WhiteWall.com, where users can instantly upload photos, select the perfect mounting and framing options, and order their individual work of art in large-format sizes of up to 47 ¼” x 35 3/8”. There are no boundaries set on photographers’ creativity. Whether they prefer artistic photo canvas or stylish mounting on aluminum Dibond, the digital picture becomes a one-of-a-kind work of art. Here are a few helpful tips to make sure the smartphone photos turn out great!
1. Clean the Lens
Even if you find the most amazing sights or subjects, fingerprints and pocket fuzz will really put a damper on your photos. Before you start taking pictures, wipe the lens with a soft, dry cloth.
2. Optimizing the Resolution and White Balance
Most smartphones have different resolution settings to choose from. To make sure large-format prints don’t become pixelated, use the highest resolution setting. Many smartphone also make it possible to set the white balance, a function that adjusts the camera to the color temperature of wherever you are taking the picture. This corrects reddish, unnatural hues that may be invisible to the naked eye.
3. Turn Off the Filters
Although filters can often smooth over the imperfections in selfies or evening snapshots, they limit the creative possibilities in artistic photography. For instance, if there is already a sepia filter on the photo, the editing possibilities are extremely limited. Therefore, it is always a good idea to turn the filters off and edit the raw image instead.
4. Adjust the ISO Settings
When shooting in low light – at night or in dimly lit interiors for example – the results are often grainy or blurry pictures. The reason is that the camera automatically uses a slower shutter speed to compensate for the poor lighting conditions. Using a lower ISO setting can reduce noise in low light. However, you will want to stabilize your camera, because even the slightest hand jitters will create blur with the longer shutter speeds.
5. Use Natural Light Instead of the Flash
The built-in flash generally results in unnatural, overexposed pictures. Sunlight, on the other hand, works wonders and can create ideal lighting conditions. At the same time, it’s a good idea to avoid contrasts that are too strong and keep the sun from shining directly into the lens. Tip: It is generally a good idea to position the light source behind the photographer.
6. Don’t Experiment with the Focus
If the subject is too close to the lens, the focal length is too short and the camera won’t be able to capture it. Shallow depth of field and difficult-to-master effects like bokeh that consciously produce areas that are not in focus, are generally not well-suited to smartphone photography.
7. Don’t Zoom
Rather than use the zoom, the photographer should get closer to the subject. The digital zoom that smartphones use merely changes what is in the frame, stretching it out through interpolation. This reduces the quality. Tip: some smartphone manufacturers now offer optical zoom lenses to address this problem.
8. Stay at Eye Level for Portraits
For smartphone portraits, it is recommended to shoot from the subject’s eye level, even if they are seated, requiring you to kneel. The subject should look at the edge of the camera above the lens for a good look at the eyes. Soft, warm light prevents disturbing shadows, bags under the eyes, or squinty eyes.
9. Experiment, Change Something and Try Again
For the best results, vary the angles, lighting and composition and let the creativity flow. Photography is an aesthetic process that comes from deep in the subconscious. If something isn’t working, try something new and make a nuanced adjustment. The best pictures will come when you are really in the flow. As a photographer, you have to sense the right interplay between the surroundings and the subject. Use your intuition – that’s how true art is made!
The Alternative for Large Photo Collection: The Photo Book
If you can’t decide on just one picture and would rather be able to hold multiple snapshots of friends and family in your hands, a beautiful photobook is a great way to put all those memories together.
Copyright images 1-5: © WhiteWall.com