Tips for Improving Your Smartphone Photography

A Few Recommended Apps:

PhotoShopPhotoshop Express (iPhone and Android) – Free
A stripped down and free version of Photoshop. Features basic editing tools (crop, straighten, rotate, and flip) and color correction (exposure, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, tint, and temperature).

SnapSeediconjpgSnapSeed (iPhone and Android) – Free
A photo filter app that lets you control how much of the filter to apply. Also features basic editing tools like crop, rotate, tune and auto correct.

tumblriconjpgTumblr (iPhone and Android) – Free
The blogging platform designed primarily for visuals rather than text. Social networking is also built-in which makes it easier to share, favorite and re-blog photos. One of the best options for photoblogging.

WordPressiconjpgWordPress (iPhone and Android) – Free
You don’t have to wait to get to a computer to post photos to your WordPress blog. Do it from your phone.

10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of your Cell Phone Camera:

1. Pay attention to the light.
Cell phones generally don’t capture light as well as cameras. And the flash can help in some situations, but can often make matters worse. So make the most of natural light. Move to different locations. Avoid direct sunlight. Take photos at a different time of day – morning and evening can often be best.

2. Zoom with your feet.
The digital zoom feature on cellphones can result in pixellated, lower quality photos. If the subject is too small, take several steps forward.

3. Use rule of thirds.
Dividing an image into thirds with two vertical and two horizontal lines like a tic-tac-toe game can help in composing an image. Place important elements where the lines intersect and use horizontal lines to place lines in your image, like a horizon. If it helps, turn on the grid function on your phone.

4. Lock focus and exposure.
On the iPhone, tap and hold on the screen where you want your focus and exposure. When it blinks, it’s locked. Some photo apps allow you let you set focus and exposure individually.

5. Fill your frame.
On the cell phone it can be difficult to differentiate your subject from the background. Get closer and fill the frame.

6. Post photos on the go.
Try posting your photos online a few minutes after you take them. Also try experiment with a variety of platforms and services like TwitterFlickr and Tumblr or posting directly to a personal blog. Explore what works and what doesn’t.

7. Filters don’t replace good photography.
Filters like Instagram and SnapSeed are fun and creative tools for enhancing photos, but they can also be overused and can create issues for journalists striving for accurate and informative images. Spend your time making more – and stronger – images, rather than putting a filter on every photo.

8. Shoot. Then shoot some more.
Take photos every day. Give yourself assignments. Think of something you want to photograph and go find it. The more photos you take the better.

9. Edit. Then edit some more.
After you have filled your phone with photos, take time to review them on a larger screen. Find the best ones. Learn from them. Resist the urge to post every photo you take online.

10. Shoot like a journalist.
Photojournalism is distinct from creative, artistic or personal photography. Things like accuracy, photo manipulation, context and ethics matter.

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About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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