Getting More Serious

28.08.2017 |

Episode #10 of the course Master smartphone photography by Tom Ang



After a week with loads of handy tips, I hope you can already see an improvement in your photos!

In the months ahead, your photography will surely improve. The more you shoot, the more you see, and the more you’ll gain confidence. But let’s not forget: What you’re using is a basically a telephone.

To go further, you need to help it out.


Essential Accessories

Using your smartphone as a camera requires a great deal from it, so you can make your experience more enjoyable with a few accessories.

• Battery packs are batteries made to fit onto your phone. Good designs for photographers keep your phone topped up and also provide a physical shutter button. This operates much faster than touchscreen release, and we know a shutter button (Lesson 8) is best for shake-free photos. But battery packs make your phone bulkier and heavier.

• Portable chargers are separate rechargeable batteries that you can plug into your phone to charge up. They are the solution if you don’t want to bulk up your smartphone. It’s good to get into the habit of using the charger whenever you break off for lunch or coffee, to keep your phone topped up.

• Protectors for your phone range from a plastic screen cover to full-body armor that makes the phone underwater proof. The sturdier ones help your phone survive drops onto concrete floors too! If you’re photographing anywhere tough—seaside, desert, or jungle—it’s well worth investing in phone armor. Even the costliest are cheaper than a repair.


Essential Apps

Smartphones are computers, so adding applications adds much more power. As your demands in photography grow, you may need extra apps to meet them.

• Third-party camera apps replace the camera app that comes with your phone.They offer many more options and controls and may also operate more quickly than the original app. However, some take longer to load and may not be accessible from the lock screen like the default camera app. This means you have to unlock your phone before being able to snap a photo. That’s a drag!

• Image manipulation or processing (also called “image effects”) apps in the phone can be very convenient. There are hundreds of different apps. Some offer filter effects, some give you black-and-white film simulations, and others superimpose two images. Try the free trial or “lite” version, if possible. When you find an app that works for you, it’ll be worth purchasing for the fun it will give you.

• Picture-sharing apps are those that make it easy for you to post your images from your phone to a picture-sharing service. Some build in image-processing features so you don’t have to move out of the app to enhance your images. A wide range exists to cater to different types of users. For social sharing, Instagram is the undisputed leader. Flickr, Zenfolio, and 500px are popular with keen photographers. Cluster is good for private group sharing.

It’s apt that we end this course with photo-sharing sites. As your skill and confidence develop, you’ll want to join the great worldwide community of photographers to exchange photos of the beauty and glories of our wonderful planet. That way, we can all share in looking after it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this course and are already using a few handy tips you’ve learned. Let us know how you get on.

Happy shooting!



Recommended book

The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer’s Place in Picture-Making by David duChemin


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