When you flick your gallery app on your phone, you would be forgiven for thinking that many of the photos wouldn’t make a good print. They rarely are. To get high-resolution print quality photos, the shots should be taken with intention. That requires planning.
Planning your shoot with consideration to the light quality, the camera settings, lens cleanliness, which lens you will use to take the photo (front or rear facing lens on a phone), and how the camera will be kept steady.
Getting the light source right
Natural light is the best source of light for shooting photos, but direct light hitting the subject will create problems. In direct sunlight, no settings on your phone will filter out direct rays of sunlight. You would need to change location.
Indoors, opening blinds is ideal to let plenty of natural sunshine fill a room. It will still only illuminate a subject partially. For equal lighting, you’ll need a light source whether that’s from a table lamp, makeup light, or ceiling light. Directional lights are better as those can be maneuvered to cover a subject to remove shadows.
Exposure and aspect are two of the fundamental settings to play around with. Without tinkering with your phone camera’s settings, it will do its own thing. Out of the gate, cameras on smartphones use an auto function. Auto enhance, auto adjust etc. The tech makes a best guess at the adjustments to make. For total control over your photo quality, turn off auto enhancements.
Controlling the exposure is done with the f settings, which control the shutter speed. The lower the number is, the more light the lens captures.
Set your settings then lock them down. On most devices, when you change the settings, long-pressing on the screen locks them in. A padlock will show when your settings are locked. When the padlock is showing on your camera settings screen, the camera will not make adjustments to the settings. You’ll be back in control.
Clean the lens before shooting
This applies to all cameras but especially the camera lens on smartphones. Being in your pocket or handbag a lot, they will get all sorts of smudges and debris. The best tool for cleaning the camera lens on smartphones is a cotton bud dipped in rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol.
Front facing or rear facing camera
Smartphones have camera sensors on the front and rear. The front is nicknamed the selfie camera. This is used when you are making video calls or taking selfies. Any photo or video that needs you to be facing the camera is what the front facing lens is for. These are usually lower quality lenses than the rear facing ones, likely because people rarely print their selfies. They print the better-quality photos.
The rear facing lens is used to take high-resolution images and there is often more than one lens. As an example, a phone could have a single front facing lens that is 10MP, but on the reverse, have a 12MP wide-angle lens, and a 16MP ultra-wide lens. Newer models may also have telephoto sensors which produce sharper photos when using the zoom function.
A 3x or 10x optical zoom captures sharper images than older devices with regular zoom, which is essentially just magnifying the subject. Traditional zoom creates noise in the photos, detracting from the focus scene.
Keep the phone steady to prevent blur
Camera shake is hard to control so for the photos that you take that you plan to print, save some hassle by using a stand. Tripods for phones are ideal. The best height to shoot a subject is from is just below the height of the camera lens.
Once you have the photos taken, printing is as easy as sending them to the printer. For the really good ones, don’t use a home printer. Upload them to a professional print service. At The Picture Gallery, we print and frame single photos or create a collage frame from your photos.