I love to make personalised posters using customer's photographs. I think it just makes them a lot more special. Now, most of the photos I get for personalisation purposes are from smartphones and it pains me when I have to ask the customer for a different image because the one provided is too blurry, noisy, or dark.
You see, when viewing photos on a small screen you could easily think some of these issues aren't that bad but when they get blown up to A4 or A3 size, well this is when you really see all the details or lack thereof.
The good news is that a lot of these problems can be helped and I am going to share a few tips that you can follow to ensure you get the best possible photos from your smartphone
Avoid the Zoom
Zooming with your smartphone is a sure-fire way to reduce the quality of an image so aim to zoom with your feet when possible. Remove as much of the background as possible by getting close thus filling the frame with your subject (unless you want the background in of course). Even though the latest smartphones have a better optical zoom to help you get closer to the subject, using it to simulate getting closer to your subject can really lower the resolution and won't look good if you decide to print the image larger later.
Did you know that you can tap on an area of the screen that you want in focus? Most modern smartphones have this feature, but it’s easy to miss. This will adjust the light in the photo and keep your focal point on the subject. These are two things with one tap that can instantly make your photo more aesthetically pleasing.
Camera blur occurs when either you're moving or your subject is moving when taking the shot. Higher-end smartphones can combat this to a degree because of optical image stabilization but you should always look to steady the shot. There are a couple of ways of getting a stable shot Using both hands, take the photo with the volume button instead of the screen tap, lean up against a stable object, put the camera on some books, use the self-timer or a combination of these.
Use flash sparingly
The flash on a camera can blow out your subject, giving them an overly lit face. Instead, try to use environmental light as much as possible. Move your subject closer to a window if indoors and try to have that natural light hit them.
Another tip would be to use another phone's flashlight mode which will give you more control.
You’ll need to have someone shine their flashlight at the subject from about a 45-degree angle, if they point the flashlight directly at the subject, it will be a little harsh, so aim to skim the light past the subject or subjects slightly so it’s a little bit softer. From there you use your phone to take the shot. The results will be much better.
For better group pictures, try holding your phone sideways. This will allow you to fit more people in the frame as well as making the photos look better when viewed on a computer or TV screen.
The same applies to videos. If you don't want them black bars to appear on the side of a video when viewing on a TV screen, again just holding your phone horizontally when recording does the trick.
Clean the Lenses
Your smartphone gets a lot more use than your standard camera. It’s in your pocket or hands all day long, so the lenses easily get dirty. A fingerprint or smudge on the lenses can ruin an otherwise great shot, so before taking photos, clean the lenses with a microfiber cloth.
There are a lot of apps you can edit your photos on. If you do use an app to edit your work, the one main tip I can give is to lower the intensity on any filter you choose.
Bring it down to around 50 - 60%. It’ll be just enough to give it a professional-looking boost without being overkill.
Now go and capture some timeless moments!