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How to Make Your Smartphone Photos Better

I’m Isabel Crist, a photographer, videographer and member of Beta Pi Chapter at the University of Florida. The past few years, I’ve had many opportunities to grow my artistic talent, including taking graduation photos for fellow KDs and filming and editing Beta Pi’s recruitment videos.  

While I love to use a great camera, fortunately, we are all equipped to take amazing photos with our smartphones. Whether you’re taking photos of your friends on a sistercation, your favorite four-legged friend or your family, here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for capturing memories with your phone: 

  • Wipe off your phone.  

This may sound trivial, but there are many times when I take a photo and wonder why the image isn’t as crisp or vibrant as it can be. Nine times out of 10, the camera needs to be cleaned. Use your shirt or another clean, dry cloth to wipe dirt and fingerprints from the lens.  

  • Find a good angle.  

The best photos are made by the way you frame and angle your subject. I recommend eliminating the ground as much as you can and pointing slightly upward toward the subject, making her appear taller for a full-body image. For the most flattering look when taking portraits, hold the phone level with the subject’s upper body to photograph the subject from the waist up. 

  • Edit with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  

Lightroom is my favorite phone app for photo editing. When I edit a photo in Lightroom, I love to increase the shadows slightly, increase contrast, increase the whites a lot for a fresh look and decrease the highlights. In the color section, I like to turn down the luminosity of the reds, change the hue of orange toward red, turn down the saturation slightly and lower the luminosity. Under the yellows, I turn up the luminosity. The last thing I change is the blues, which I make slightly more aqua. Presets are helpful, but it’s always best to adjust the preset after to best suit the photo and your preferences. 

Presets are a group of photo-editing settings designed to transform your digital images into a beautiful, finished product at the click of a few buttons. They come in many forms, such as phone applications and computer software, and are known by many other names, such as styles, photoshop plugins, and photo filters.

  • Make a mood board. 

If you know you’ll be taking photos at a specific event or celebration, it can be helpful to browse Pinterest for inspiration for fun poses, unique angles or editing techniques. Art is often inspired by other art.  

  • Capture genuine moments.  

My favorite photos are those that have memories associated with them. So, practice capturing a beautiful place or a moment with friends in a way that represents the memory. Maybe you take a photo of a friend laughing or a photo with the sushi you made instead of a posed photo smiling at the camera.