Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your photography! Here are seven ideas to try out the next time you feel artsy.
But it is imperative to remember that taking a great photo from your smartphone is more complex than pointing and shooting.
Let’s explore some simple yet fun ways to use your smartphone’s camera! In this article, we have mentioned seven tips you can work with within the comfort of your home to improve your photography game.
1. Abstract Shots
One of the great things about smartphone cameras is that they allow you to get up close and personal with your subjects. This opens up all sorts of opportunities for taking abstract shots.
For example, try zooming in close on a flower and capturing just a tiny section of it. Alternatively, focus on a single color or element in your environment and see how it changes the overall tone of the photo.
Abstract photography adds a certain essence to your photos. You can take photos of anything in your surroundings that you find interesting, like shadows or frames, and it takes your photography to the next level.
To level up further, switch on the camera’s gridlines, and place your points of interest along the grids. This way, your photo will be more balanced, and it will allow the viewers to perceive it more naturally.
2. Black and White Photos
Convert your photos to black and white to give them a classic look. This can be a great way to highlight detail that might be lost in color photos.
B&W photos also tend to have a more dramatic and evocative impact, so don’t be afraid to experiment with this technique to see how it changes the way your photos are perceived.
To create the best black and white photographs, the most essential factor is editing and knowing which photographs to edit. This is the powerful duo that will help you create some amazing black-and-white portraits.
Some of the photos that would look super in black and white would be candid shots of yourself near a window or a close-up of building architecture, or a shot of your subject sitting on the stairs.
You can even convert photos with negative space into black and white. Taking a photo with negative space makes your subject stand out more and has a more significant impact.
The negative space in your picture can be an open sky, an empty field, a bare wall, or a large water body.
Silhouettes are another great way to add emotion to your photos. They can also be very striking when done well.
To take a silhouette, simply position your subject in front of a light source such as a window or door, then use your phone’s camera app to adjust the exposure until the subject is completely dark against the bright background.
While taking silhouettes, one thing to remember is that you have to focus on the outline of the subject rather than its details or, if it is a person, their expressions.
If you have an iPhone, you can take shots of movement through burst mode or a live photo. Also, to get the best silhouette, capture your image from a low camera angle.
If you want to take a silhouette photograph in natural light, sunrise and sunset are the ideal backdrops for it.
You can even choose to capture a silhouette during the day, but the one setback you may have to deal with is that you will get a single-tone colored sky.
But if that is what you’re looking for, then go for it! If you don’t want the sky, you can also use a bright street light as your light source or any other artificial light source.
Silhouettes also make for great selfies.
Most phone cameras now come with a panorama mode that allows you to stitch together multiple photos into one wide shot. This is great for capturing landscapes or large groups of people.
Just make sure you keep the camera level as you pan from left to right (or vice versa) so that the final image isn’t warped.
Keeping your phone steady and maintaining a correct pace is the trickiest part of capturing a panorama.
The goal should be to maintain a fluid movement because if the movement is too slow, your photos can overlap, and if it is too fast, you might end up with a blurry photo.
If you want a horizontal panorama, hold the phone vertically and if you want a vertical panorama, hold the phone horizontally. If you have an iPhone, you can even change the direction of the panoramas; you can just tap the arrow on the screen, and voila!
5. Long Exposures
While long exposures are typically associated with DSLR cameras, it is possible to simulate this effect with a smartphone camera using apps like LightTracer (iPhone) or Long Exposure Camera 2 (Android).
These apps work by allowing more light into the camera sensor for an extended period of time, which has the effect of blurring moving objects while leaving stationary objects in sharp relief.
The result can be quite beautiful, especially when combined with other techniques like B&W conversion or silhouettes.
If you are an iPhone user and you do not wish to download an external application, there is one little trick that you can try out. Open your camera and take a live photo.
Once you have taken the live photo, open your gallery or photos and click on the “live” option, you will get four options, one of them being “long exposure.” This option has the same effect of blurring moving objects as any other long-exposure application, so try this trick out, and you can thank me later!
Reflections can add an extra layer of interest to any photo, and they’re easy to capture with a phone camera thanks to the built-in camera app’s mirroring feature (on iPhones, at least).
Simply point your camera at a reflective surface, such as a puddle of water or a shiny piece of metal, then tap the mirror icon in the bottom corner of the screen. You’ll see your surroundings reflected at you, which can lead to some very cool compositions—just watch out for people walking by who might spoil the shot!
Another idea for creating brilliant reflective shots with bodies of water, glass walls, ice, mirrors of cars, or sunglasses is to introduce another interesting subject such as people or buildings along with the reflective surface.
Let the imperfections of the distortions of the reflective surface show, thus highlighting the symmetry between reflection and reality.
If you want to avoid introducing subjects into your reflection photographs, you can always rely on the sky to give you the most idyllic picture. People are drawn to reflections, so use that to your advantage and look for opportunities to play with them while you’re shooting.
7. Time Lapses
Lastly, time-lapse videos are always fun to watch, and they’re surprisingly easy to make with just a phone camera and some basic editing skills (or even no editing skills at all if you use an app like Hyperlapse).
To shoot a time-lapse video, simply set up your phone in one spot and let it record for however long you want—anything from 30 seconds to several hours will do—then string all the individual frames together into one video file using an editing program like iMovie (on macOS) or Adobe Premiere Rush (on Windows/iOS/Android).
And that’s it! With just a little bit of planning and effort, you can create some really impressive time-lapse videos that’ll impress all your friends and family.
Creating time-lapse videos take an ample amount of hours, so it is recommended that you are prepared by making use of a tripod. This will ensure that you don’t have to stand for long hours, and your video will be stable.
You can capture the moving clouds or the busy streets or even a flower blossoming or rotting. However, if you are looking to shoot a flower blossoming or rotting, you should keep your phone on airplane mode as any call in between could hamper your video.
Also, make sure that your SD card has plenty of memory and that your smartphone is fully charged for a time-lapse video.
Unique, new, and unexpected angles will help you conquer the smartphone photography genre like no other.
Mix up your routine. Instead of taking your photographs from a birds-view or portrait, create illusions of depth or height to have your image stand out.
So there you have seven photography ideas you can try at home with just your smartphone camera! There’s no need for expensive equipment or complicated techniques; just get creative and have fun experimenting.
Who knows—you might even discover hidden talents that you never knew you had!