Photography and social networks: art through the smartphone
Technological advances have enabled mobile phones to become high quality photographic devices, even better than some of the digital cameras on the market. Smartphones enhance our creativity and turn us into potential artists, as we are capable of sharing our photos at a single click over the social networks.
Manufacturers of mobile devices have realised that the camera has changed from being a simple telephone accessory to becoming one of the main features borne in mind in choosing a certain model. Their small size, their versatility and the fact that we always carry them around turn smart phones into the ideal companion to become a great photographer. We give you some keys and tricks for you to get the most out of your telephone camera.
Your main enemy is darkness
One of the most important aspects for quality artistic photographs with the smartphone is to make maximum use of the light available, and if this is not possible, to light up the room or the object to be photographed. One of the greatest drawbacks of mobile device cameras is that the lens cannot be adjusted to allow light in for a longer time and the sensitivity of the photographic film cannot be regulated (as in reflex cameras). Even the most powerful smartphones on the market take mediocre photographs if there is not sufficient light.
A simple trick that few people know about it to use the flash outside if portraits are required, even on a sunny day. As Mario Pérez, the founder of the photographer’s blog, says, the flash helps to prevent areas of shading occupying the person’s face. The purpose of the flash is not to light up the darkness, but to flood the subjects faced with light so that it is uniform with all elements it has around it.
There is no art without composition
Taking a photograph with the mobile phone does not mean forgetting the main rules of traditional photography. Focusing adequately within the possibilities of each device and choosing a suitable frame and composition are vital aspects in achieving a quality image. Don’t worry if you are not familiarised with the bases of professional photography, it is enough to follow the two thirds rule (based on golden proportion) to give your photographs a sensation of depth and balance, guiding the spectators’ eyes directly to the point of greatest interest.
In addition to this millenary rule, we also recommend you play with your camera doing different focuses from different unusual angles to enhance the artistic capacity of the small devices. You can look for objects reflected in the water or in mirror sunglasses, fearlessly approach objects using your camera’s macro function to take details, or change the height from which you take the photograph.
Clean the lens and use a good sleeve
The cleanliness of the lens is a decisive element that many people forget in taking a quality photo. The intensive use we make of smartphones, means that the lens is almost always dirty, which is not usually borne in mind when taking a photograph. But you must take care; although they seem bombproof, mobile device cameras are delicate and cannot be cleaned in any old way.
You must never use your finger, blow or even less use saliva, since in addition to this being rather unhygienic, the acids can damage the protective layer of lenses. The ideal thing is to use special cleaning cloths, and if not, a soft cloth or microfiber (a glasses cloth is ideal) which you can wet with a little water if the lens is very dirty. You can also use cotton buds to access difficult corners.
Another aspect to bear in mind is the quality of the sleeve. There are many models prepared for using the telephone as a professional camera which, in addition to protect the lens, allow photographs to be taken under extreme conditions.
Configure the quality of the image
Smartphones are generally factory configured for taking good quality photographs without taking up much storage space in the terminal, which means that the camera is not used as it might be. The first thing of all is to seek the size/quality of the image in the application adjustments and to set it to maximum. If you do not have much memory in your mobile phone, you must use an SD card or in the case of IOS devices, the cloud storage.
More modern smartphone models also include the possibility of configuring the focus to give greater stability when taking a photograph, and avoiding movement. Consult your telephone’s manual to make the most of this, as each model and manufacturer has its own options and you must know them well if you want to make professional use of your camera.
Use accessories and applications
Having an extra battery or portable charger for your telephone will save you more than once if you use your mobile device intensively. The screen is what consumes most energy and when photographs are taken it is always alight. Another very useful accessory is the tripod because one of the main difficulties in taking photographs with the telephone is stability. Look for one that is light and has an adapter to fix it to your smartphone model.
In addition to the physical accessories, there are a large number of applications to facilitate the work of editing, touching up, storing and sharing photos. Many of them are free, although the paid versions are generally more professional and are affordable. Amongst those free and valid for Android and IOS are particularly Snapseed, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Express, VSCO, PicsArt Photo Studio, Photolab, Moldiv and Aviary.
As for applications for sharing images, Instagram is that which overwhelms the rest, especially amongst the young, although the leader is still Facebook with more than 2,000 million users, while Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger have 1,300 and 1,200 million respectively. In the case of Instagram, the total number of users is around 700 million, exceeding Twitter (328 million), Pinterest (175 million) and Snapchat (166 million).