In this post you will learn about the main things you can do to add volume to your photos. Even if this applies to full-sized cameras, our target is to help you improve your smartphone photos.
Digital photography has advanced so much in the past years. Technology became cheaper and cheaper, while the photo quality became better and better. So much so that our smart phones became the versatile little cameras that we all need and didn’t know we did.
Now I’m not here to argue the value of even an entry level DSLR or mirrorless, in comparison with your best mobile phone camera. But what I can do is shed some light on how to get the best bang for buck with what you have in your hand right now. So, again, just to make it clear as daylight, a premium mobile phone will never replace a full-sized camera.
With that in mind, always remember: the best camera is the one you have with you. Now that we’ve cleared that out, I feel that I need to point out that any camera is as good as the light it receives.
Proper lighting can be achieved
in two ways:
1. By using reflectors
2. By using LED/flash lights
If you’re shooting outdoor during the day, you can never go wrong with reflectors. The more the merrier,
if you ask me. The main issue with reflectors is that they may require (multiple) assistants. But without them, you might very well get your photos overexposed and underexposed in the same shot. That’s right, too much contrast. Not to mention un-editable shadows.
Now here’s how you get the money shot with reflectors: you have the sun in the back (contre jour) and you use reflectors to light up your model/scene. The model/scene will have a good contour because of the sun, and your only job is to get enough light in there from the front.
If you’re going indoors, you need LED or flash lights. Guess what? You require more or less the same setup as with reflectors: a powerful directional light from behind and a more mellow light from the front/sides. Be sure to check the links at the bottom for more goodies.
The only way to get depth of field with your mobile is to focus as close as possible. Even though that’s not necessarily a good thing, depending on the type of shots you plan to take, it’s definitely a possibility. Think of food, pets, flowers, toys, toy models, insects, spots on glasses, or just… Any other type of macro.
Now if you’re doing a close-up and can help the scene with good lighting, you can definitely get away with your smartphone without even thinking of your full-sized camera. You could also do some digital zooming-in for an extra grain of blurred background, but too much of it will ruin your photo entirely.
Zoom lens will help you zoom into that depth of field that you can get with macros, but without the wide-angle shots. The more zoom, the more light you’ll need to keep things looking good. But unlike the digital zoom, optical zoom will get you a blurred background and no pixelation.
There is a downside to those cheap tele-lens, though: chromatic aberration.
All in all, mobile phone cameras have come along a great way. And they’ve become a great go-to camera for photographers and photo enthusiasts alike.
But do you know the difference between an amateur and a professional? A pro always invests in his assets. That’s right, you need to get yourself the right gear to keep becoming better and better. Not just a new phone, but lights, tripods, flashes, reflectors, lens and software.
I hope this post will help you in your journey to becoming a professional smartphone photographer.
Good luck and good light!