Smartphone cameras have come a long way in the last decade. The best Android smartphones now come with larger, higher-resolution camera sensors, making taking great photos easier than ever. If anything, you’ll struggle to take potato-quality pictures, given advances in image processing.
How can you take better photos from your Android phone? A great camera is only as good as the person using it. So, it’s time to improve your photography skills if you want to take some awesome photos from your Android phone.
Always know where the light source is
When taking a photo with your smartphone, knowing the position of the light source is vital. Smartphone cameras can only receive a limited amount of light. Too much light can overwhelm the sensor. You can also alter your exposure, especially if it’s a challenging scene.
You should always make sure that the light falls directly on the subject. Therefore, when clicking images indoors, make sure the subject is standing facing the light source. The light should never come from behind. That will lead to your subject being underexposed.
Look at the photo below. It was taken in broad daylight, but with the sun behind the subject, the phone’s camera can’t balance the exposure correctly, leaving the subject severely underexposed.
Standing with the sun behind your subject, you can see the colors of the t-shirt fade.
In the next shot, the subject is looking at the sun and the results speak for themselves. It is true that this is not always possible, especially when it comes to capturing a landscape like the one in the background of the image below. In such cases, you can lower the exposure level a couple of notches before taking the shot.
Facing the sun, the colors are much better.
You can dramatically improve the final photo by making sure your subject is in the correct position in front of the light source. Also, use as much natural light as possible, as it gives the best results unless you’re clicking photos in a controlled studio setting. When shooting indoors, if available light is less, turn on a few bulbs to supplement the limited natural light. And keep your hands steady, as smartphones tend to compensate for limited light by holding the shutter down longer. If the subject or the phone is moving, it could cause motion blur, especially on Samsung phones.
Keep your phone’s camera lens clean
Your phone’s camera lenses are bound to get dirty and smudged over time. Dirty camera lenses can cause unwanted flare, glare, and focus problems.
The quickest way to improve the quality of photos on your phone is to clean the camera glass before taking a photo. And you do not need a special solution for this. Simply wipe the lenses with a clean cloth. It would be enough to clean the stains from the glass. Ideally, it’s best to use a microfiber cloth, but your t-shirt works in a pinch. Avoid using jeans or a dirty cloth to clean as you could end up scratching the lens, doing more harm than good.
The improvement in image quality with a clean lens may not be noticeable when shooting in daylight, but it is immediately apparent in difficult and low-light conditions.
Zoom on your topic
Until a few years ago, smartphones lacked optical zoom cameras. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not zoom in on your subject while taking a photo, as using digital zoom would only introduce noise and affect the overall quality of the image.
That is no longer the case, as most flagship smartphones now feature a dedicated camera with optical zoom. For example, on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, you get two telephoto sensors with 3x and 10x optical zoom, respectively. This means you can get closer to a subject with minimal impact on image quality. Another benefit of the telephoto sensor is that it allows you to take photos with a tighter frame, which brings the subject fully into focus.
Left: shot with the main camera. Right: The same scene stands out much more when captured with the telephoto sensor.
Avoid using the telephoto sensor in low light as it can’t absorb as much light as the main camera. In such situations, take a photo with the main camera and crop it as needed.
Even if your phone doesn’t have an optical zoom sensor, you can still zoom 2x to 3x on a scene without a noticeable change in image quality. This is because modern smartphones use larger, higher-resolution camera sensors that can capture much more detail.
Edit photos to make them stand out
Photo editing apps for phones have come a long way. They have become extremely powerful thanks to AI and machine learning (ML). You can modify colors, contrast, reflections, and much more with one of the best photo editing apps for your phone or tablet. You don’t even need to bother manually adjusting these aspects. Every app these days comes with a one-touch enhancer that automatically adjusts a photo to make it look its best.
In the swatches below, you can see how the colors in the original photo were a bit muted. A quick edit later, the photos pop much more.
That’s not all, however. You can remove unwanted objects from your photos with Google’s Magic Eraser. And don’t worry if you don’t use a Pixel; there are many Magic Eraser alternatives that you can try on your Android phone.
Keep your phone steady
When taking photos in low light or using Night mode, place your phone on a stable surface. This allows the camera to open its shutter speed longer by eliminating unwanted shake and shake from your hand. In turn, the sensor captures more light, which should help improve the final photo.
Admittedly, this won’t always be possible, and in some cases you’ll have to be a bit innovative and prop your phone up against a soda bottle on the table. However, the results could be worth the effort. Look at the example below.
Be innovative with lenses and angles
Smartphones come with various cameras: wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, macro, and telephoto sensors. Do not always shoot a scene with the main camera. Be innovative with camera lenses and angles. Ultra wide cameras can fit into much more than one scene and can be used to take some impressive photos.
Left: Shot from the main camera. Right: The same scene taken with the ultra-wide camera.
Likewise, you don’t need to click every photo with the subject looking directly at the camera. Flip your phone or crouch down a bit to create new angles while taking a photo. The end results could end up being much more dramatic.
Take out your camera and record your memories
The tips above are not that difficult to follow. But once you get the hang of them, you’ll notice that the images you click on from your Android phone come out much better. After that, to better manage your ever-growing photo library, check out the best Google Photos tips and tricks for help.