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Tips for taking images with your phone

Use a third-party manual camera app instead of the native iPhone or Android camera app that came with your phone.

Here are a few of favorites that will help you unleash the full capabilities of the camera built into your phone.

  • ProCamera: has great features, including a built-in pro timer, a tilt meter for straight images, a selfie mode, a self-timer, anti-shake functionality, and lowlight ability
  • Obscura Camera
  • Manual
  • ProShot
  • Hydra
  • ProCam 2

Target your shooting mode to your end use

Shoot in the mode you plan to use the final image in. If you’re planning to post on Instagram, shoot square or crop afterward.

Shoot vertical for images with one to three people in them. Remember, however, that most websites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are suited better for horizontal photos.

Follow the Rule of Thirds

iPhone and Android phones both have grid options built in. This aids you in lining up photographs so that they follow the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is a photography guideline for composing photos. Rather than centering your subject, points of interest should fall on one of the four gridlines or the points of intersection.

rule of thirds

Turn off your flash

While the latest Android and iPhone cameras have better flashes than their previous versions, the flash is still a small LED light that’s not very powerful. You’re better off to open the curtains and keep natural light at your back to illuminate your subject. Use the exposure slider to boost brightness into the photo or purchase an external light, like the Neewer 50 LED Portable Multi Functional Mini LED.

Use burst mode for action or lowlight images

Burst mode is great for moving subjects and lowlight situations. Burst mode will often capture at least one stable image that is usable.

Turn on HDR

Depending on the model of your phone, you may have an auto high dynamic range (HDR) setting. For best results, leave the function on auto—it will allow you to capture images that have bright spots and high contrast light sources.

Hold down to lock focus

Tap on your subject and hold down to select and lock the focal point. After you take the image, tap anywhere on the screen to unlock the focus.

Use the built-in exposure meter

If an image is too bright or dark, tap on the focus square and use the slider to lighten or darken your image to your liking.

Avoid camera shake

Camera shake makes getting sharp photos difficult. People often get blurry photos with iPhones because they are light and thin and awkward to hold compared to a full-sized camera. To avoid camera shake, shoot horizontally with both hands holding the camera and use the volume button to snap the image. Some other techniques to prevent your hands from moving as much:

  • Lean against a vertical surface to steady your body.
  • Rest your elbows on a low wall.
  • Brace your phone by holding it in both hands and tucking your elbows into your body.

Now, take a deep breath and let out a slow, steady exhale as you gently tap the shutter release button or the volume button.

Keep your images simple

Don’t clutter your pictures. When photographing objects, keep the focus on the object and declutter your image by moving around to isolate the subject or move distractions out of the frame or image. When photographing people, try to shoot horizontally and keep the number of subjects to no more than 3-5 people—2-3 are best.

Move closer

Try to leave a little room above and below your subject. When making images of award presentations, frame your subjects from just above their head to below the waist. The critical part of the image is the subject and the award. Head to toe images are not necessary.

Upload your images

Please upload your images to Photoshelter and email lbrems@citadel.edu a description of the images and the name of the event or activity taking place in the photo. Each department should have one person designated to upload the images of your classroom and departmental events.

To request permission to access Photoshelter, email lbrems@citadel.edu.

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