By Ron Mazhindu

Before the days of smartphones, if you can remember such a time – taking a great photo was a labour intensive process. You’d have buy a fancy camera and editing software for your desktop computer and invest some serious time and energy into learning how to use them. But thanks to our mobile devices and the editing apps that come with them, we can now take high quality photos and edit them without too many bells and whistles all from the same device that we use to make calls. Taking a great photo on your smartphone is not as simple as pointing and shooting. SO, here are some tips to improve your smartphone photography game.

1) Focus on one subject

Many of the best photos include just one, interesting subject. Some professional photographers say that the subject shouldn’t fill the entire frame, and that two-thirds of the photo should be negative space that helps the subject stand out even more. But be sure you tap the screen of your smartphone to focus the camera on your subject to ensure that it’s focused and the lighting is optimised. Once you’ve taken your photo, you can use filters and apps to make the subject even more vivid, or to crop it to frame the subject correctly. The brightness, contrast and saturation of the photo can also be adjusted accordingly all from your phone.

2) Play with reflections

There’s something so idyllic about seeing the sky reflected in a body of water, our eyes are drawn to reflections. So look for opportunities to play with them in photos. There are plenty of out of the box places to find reflections; puddles, larger bodies of water, mirrors, sunglasses, drinking glasses and metallic surfaces are just a few.

3) Keep an eye out for repetitive patterns

Repetitive patterns are very pleasing to the eye. They appear whenever strong graphic elements are repeated over and over again such as lines, geometric shapes, forms and colours. These patterns can make a strong visual impact and photographing something like a beautiful, tiled floor can be enough to create a striking image. Other times, it’s more fun to keep an eye out for where they appear naturally or unintentionally.

4) Use natural light

Using a smartphone’s flash tends to make a photo look overexposed, negatively altering colours and making human subjects look washed out. Instead, take advantage of the sources of natural light you can find, even after dark. That gives you a chance to play with shadows or create a silhouette with other ambient sources of light, like traffic and surrounding buildings. Once you’ve taken the photo, play with the “Exposure” tool in your favourite photo editing app to see if you can make the image slightly brighter, without making it too grainy.

5) Don’t be afraid to edit

Before editing

Composing and taking your smartphone photo is just the first step to making it visually compelling. Editing your photos is the next important step. Filters can be a valuable photographic tool, particularly when it comes to two goals: i) Removing blemishes from a picture, and ii) making food look even more delicious. One of my favourite apps is the Adobe Light Room App. With this app I can use pre-sets that I have created on my computer and sync them to my mobile app and editing will be done faster and it’s quicker because my phone is always with me.

After editing