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[Tips & Tutorials] [MIUI Photography Classroom] Lesson 1: Smartphone Photography Basics

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18:08, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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Go to reply no.
This post was edited by allakazoo at 20:43, Jul-30-2014

MIUI_Photography_Classroom_Banner2_output.png
Lesson 1:
Smartphone Photography Basics

Hello MIUIers, welcome to the inaugural post of MIUI Photogrpahy Classroom! About 3 weeks ago, we ran a give your feedback contest. the response was tremendous and we have taken note of all your feedback. Be rest assured that we will roll out content based on what you have asked for. In the meantime, here's the first.  

A smartphone camera is like any other camera. What you need to do to get keeper shots is actually similar. However, many people in their excitment, tend to just whip out the phone and shoot without giving any thoughts to how the photo will eventually appear. A quick glance at your own social media feed is evidence. Poorly composed shots aside, most shots are blur and washed out (or over saturated). Here are some tips that will put you on the way to better photographs.


Learn how to operate your smartphone camera properly.
Many smartphones have a shortcut button to open the camera app. The MIUI ROM has it, once you activate this in Settings - Buttons.

CameraShortcut.jpg

Knowing how to operate your camera properly is very important. You won't want to be fiddling with the camera while the photo opportunity slips away. If you have a Xiaomi Mi 3, you can hop on down to this post to learn a thing or 2 about the default camera app.


Hold the camera properly.
Remember, I mentioned earlier that a blur photo is most guilty of tear inducing social feeds? Well, you do look very cool when you take photos with only 1 hand. However, do take note that the result will be the direct opposite. The phone, which is usually a thin slab, is already quite hard to hold steady. Do aim to take your photos 2 handed. You can try this method of holding, keeping your elbows tucked into close to your body.


My son's hand is small, but an average adult will be able to use the left hand (finger/thumb) to touch and focus, while using the right thumb to touch and release the shutter. This 2 handed approach ensures a fair bit of stability in camera operation. You should also take note of your breathing while releasing the shutter. Quick rule, breathe in when composing and focusing. Breathe out gently and touch the shutter release at the end of the breath. (Our NS boys from Singapore will tell you that this method is also good for target practice.) The purpose of my example is to emphasise the important of keeping the camera steady. Do what works best for you. While we are talking about holding the camera properly, it is important to note that you should always try to take your photos in the brightest conditions (outdoors, daytime) possible. This ensures that the shutter speed will be high and further reduces the chance of blur photos.

Keep the lens clean.
NoteBack.jpg

Our camera spends alot of time in pockets and handbags. When we hold the phone to use, the oil from our skin transfers to the phone. When it goes into the pocket/handbag, it picks up dust. Unlike a proper camera, there is a lens cover to protect the lens. The smartphone? Nothing. There is a clear cover over the camera lens. To get it clean, simply wipe it with a clean tissue, or if you have no time, the end of your tee shirt will do nicely. Or if you are really desperate, rub the clear cover over your clothes/pants/any cloth material a few times. The aim is to get rid of any dust or grime that's on it.

Concentrate on taking the photo.
I've mentioned it before in another article. Do not use the digital zoom on your phone. Go home and crop the photo instead. Also, do not use any built-in filters. Again, you can do it at home during the photo editing step. Concentrate on achieving a sharp and properly exposed photo, because no amount of editing will fix a blur photo. Plus, a poorly exposed photo will take a lot of effort to correct during the editing phase. If you need a free photo editor, pixlr will do quite well.

Think out of the box and take lots of photos.
DiffPerspective.jpg

Photography is a way of expressing yourself. In this day and age, an 8GB SD card can store hundreds of high resolution photos. What excuse do you have to not have a photo(s) of something that you want a photo of? Unlike the days of film where you really need to plan and consider all aspects of a photo before releasing the shutter. Now, you just snap away and IMMEDIATELY check the results and snap away again, until you are satisfied. Those that fail your inspection, you simply delete. So, do not restrict yourself to the Golden ratio, Rule of the thirds, blah blah blah... Try out different perspectives and compositions, you will surprise even yourself. At the end of the day, enjoy what you do and have fun. Lots and lots of it!


Now let's see what other MIUI-ers think are the most important Smartphone Photography Basics:
@Fortinho
"I've done target practice a lot of time, and the breathing technique is to breathe out and shoot, not the opposite. When you breathe in you're unstable to keep the air inside; you're more stable when the air it's outside."

@rahulraimarine
"Best way to take a picture is to hold the device still..."

@MyloC
"Use Mi gadgets such as Mi combo lens to enhance the pic output such as wide angel for scenery and macro lens for upclose tiny features eyes barely can see :)"

@backlash23
"In order Of Sequence
1. Imagination- Think Out Of The Box
2. Story - Photos With Stories are Good and They Explain what is the intent of the photo.
3. Steady Hands - Good Firm Hand Takes Clear and Crisp Picture. ( A Tripod does the same as well.)
4. Never Be Camera Shy - Opportunities Lurks at every corner. The simplest thing can evolved to the most beautiful picture at the right place, right time and right person."

@xP4th
"Practice practice practice."

@Connect2U
"Most important is to keep the lens clean..  all my lens are protected with screen protector ... at least 99% safe..."

This is a long term project. Do drop @KateZ or @allakazoo a note via PM, if you would like to share your expertise by contributing articles related to photography. Before you go, complete the poll for today's post. What are the tips introduced above, that you find useful? Ok, till the next time, bye!


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KateZ Feel free to share what you think should be the "Smartphone Photography Basics" by replying the thread!  19:41, Jul-29-2014

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19:34, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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Simple but useful tips to take photos with smartphone. Wonderful job done allakazoo!!

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19:39, Jul-29-2014 | Via mobile
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Thanks for the tips

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19:44, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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Useful guidance. Nice job, allakazoo !

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19:46, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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Think out of the box! very few people use this while taking pictures! thumbs up for this :)
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19:51, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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The information is helpful n useful to me. thanks.

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19:54, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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Awesome now i get to learn about photography. Great Job.

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This is so awesome! I love this forum more and more day by day!

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awesome and great job...

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20:05, Jul-29-2014 | From PC
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Thank you Professor allakazoo! I'll learn carefully and try to take more photos!

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