11 Ways to Get Better Photos On Your Second-Hand Android Phone - CompAsia

IOS devices constantly outperformed many Android devices for years regarding camera quality and built-in camera modes. But that’s changing.

Now that Android phone cameras are punching up with better hardware and software, you can take stunning photographs that rival DSLR cameras. This guide will teach you how to unlock the features in your Android phone, frame your shots, and make share-worthy photographs that look highly professional.

Basic Tips Before You Start Taking Photos

Before jumping into photography, it's important to take care of a few basics. These quick setup tips will help you avoid problems and focus on enjoying the fun part.

Clean Your Camera Lens with a Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth is perfect for cleaning your lens because it won't cause scratches. Spend about 10 seconds wiping off any dust or debris. Also, keep your phone in a protective case or bag to prevent the lens from getting scratched.

Find Your Camera Specifications

Your camera specs will impact what type of photos you can take. Find out what megapixel (MP) resolution it takes pictures in and if it has a high dynamic range (HDR). Optical zoom will also be helpful; the digital zoom is not. You’ll find the specs in your phone’s manual. 

Double-Check Your Storage

With the correct settings enabled, high-quality photos quickly add up and take up a lot of space. Check your phone’s internal storage and take a practice photo with your correct settings. Check the photo file size to give yourself a rough idea of how many you can take before you run out of storage space. You can always expand your phone storage with a micro SD card.

Now that you understand the basics let’s move on to some pro photography tips.

Use Natural Light Whenever You Can

Natural light beats artificial light in every situation. A natural light backdrop creates a more attractive and authentic atmosphere depending on your photo’s subject.

You want the light to separate your subject from the photo’s background. Angle your phone so that the light hits the subject and illuminates the back side of it. This highlights the goal of the photograph.

Consider Using a Gimbal to Take Even Photos

A gimbal is a small device with a handle that you can hook to your phone. These also exist for larger DSLR cameras and usually come with phone adapters.

A gimbal uses three-axis stabilizers to keep your camera completely level. If you have trouble taking photographs that look steady, a gimbal can help. These also work well if you’re trying to get an angle that may be uncomfortable to position yourself in.

If you want to take a photo from a low angle (the floor, for example), hook your phone up to the gimbal, lower it on the handle, and take the picture using a timer or a small controller. 

Rule of Thirds

Just about every camera has a grid option. This places a 3×3 grid on your screen (don’t worry; it won’t appear in the photo). Use this to center the subject of your image.

Your subject shouldn’t perfectly fit into the center box. Instead, use it as a guide. When taking photos of tall objects like trees or buildings, try to align them with the top corners of your central frame. For smaller objects, begin by positioning them along the bottom line of the central frame.

Burst Photography (Because Some Pictures Still Come Out Blurry)

Phone cameras aren’t perfect. In your camera settings, find Pro Mode. Here, you can change a setting called shutter speed. High shutter speed reduces image blurriness but darkens photos. A low shutter speed captures more light but increases the chance of blurring.

If your subject is flooded with natural light, a high shutter speed can help balance it while reducing blur. Low-light situations almost always require a low shutter speed (and a steady hand).

Take multiple photos back to back. This reduces the number of blurry images and lets you take different angles to decide what works best.

Simple Filters Make a Huge Difference

You’ll see a list of half a dozen filters in your Android photo editor. These provide small, subtle changes in your photographs with color balancing, correction, and dynamic range adjustments.

Since you’re taking photos with a phone, you might be in areas with less-than-ideal lighting conditions. Filters can make it look like you took pictures in a studio setting. Make multiple copies of your favorite images and see which filters help enhance them.

Zoom into Your Subject

Up until a few years ago, smartphones lacked cameras with optical zoom. The only option was digital zoom, which often introduced noise and affected the overall image quality.

That's no longer an issue since most flagship smartphones now feature one or more dedicated lenses with optical zoom. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has two telephoto sensors with 3x and 10x optical zoom. This means you can zoom into a subject at two focal lengths without using digital zoom.

Even if your phone doesn't have an optical zoom sensor, you can zoom in 2x to 3x without a noticeable change in image quality. This is because modern smartphones use bigger and higher resolution camera sensors that capture more details. 

Many of them use a digital crop, which takes a smaller subset of the pixels in the sensor to imitate a telephoto lens. This works fairly well and can reasonably make up for the lack of a telephoto lens on your phone.

Hold Your Phone Steady

Having a steady hand helps make sure your photos are not blurry. It's also important when taking photos in low light. Holding your phone steady allows the camera to open its shutter for longer and take in more light and detail.

Using a tripod to keep your phone as steady as possible can make your difficult photos much better. In some cases, you'll need to be innovative and prop your phone against a soda bottle or a rock.

Get Innovative with Your Lenses and Angles

Modern smartphones come with multiple lenses: wide-angle, ultrawide, macro, and telephoto sensors. Don't always capture a scene using the default primary camera. Get innovative with the camera lenses and angles. 

Ultrawide cameras can fit in more of a scene and can be used to take some breathtaking, dramatic photos. Macro lenses can capture an incredible amount of detail of close-up subjects such as leaves. Telephoto sensors can be used to take zoomed-in photos of your subject or to see far-away objects.

Similarly, not every photo needs to be taken with the subject perfectly centered in the photo. Flip your phone or bend down to create new angles while taking a picture. The final results could be more interesting and dramatic.

Master Your Smartphone Camera's Features

Smartphone cameras today are incredibly advanced, often rivaling traditional SLR cameras thanks to improvements in computational photography. To get the most out of your phone's camera, it's important to learn about its features and know when to use them.

For everyday photos, turning on HDR is usually a good idea. If you're taking pictures in low-light conditions, whether indoors or outside after dark, switch to Night mode. Portrait mode, available on many phones, blurs the background behind your subject, creating a professional-looking effect known as the Bokeh Effect. These are just the basics—your phone might have other specialized modes worth exploring.

If you're ready to take your photography to the next level, try using the manual controls in your camera app. Many Android phones have a Pro mode that lets you adjust settings like shutter speed, ISO, and lens options. You can also shoot in RAW format, which captures more detail and gives you more flexibility when editing your photos.

Edit Photos to Make Them Pop

Photo editing capabilities on smartphones have come a long way. They have become powerful thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. You can tweak the colors, contrast, highlights, and more in any of the best photo editing apps. 

You don't always need to tweak each of these aspects. Many of these apps include a one-touch enhancer that uses software tricks to analyze and improve different aspects of your photo automatically.

Find Your Next Camera Phone at CompAsia

Remember to clean your camera lens, use a steady hand, and experiment with your phone's different features and settings. With some practice, you'll be taking stunning photos that rival those taken with a DSLR camera.

If you're looking to upgrade your smartphone affordably, CompAsia offers a range of reliable second-hand phones at competitive prices. Explore our selection today to find a device that suits your needs and budget. Embrace the capabilities of your smartphone and enhance your photography journey with confidence.

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