7 Commandments to taking better smartphone photos with the Huawei P20 Pro

So, you’re carrying around this powerful device that you are sinfully not taking advantage of. You’re most likely investing thousands of Rands into this device that you take random photos with all the time. Sometimes your photos make you think you might have been a photographer in your past life and other times you might as well grab the photography equivalent of a wooden mic.

You also happen to be part of a generation of people who can tell a really amazing photograph from one that gives your phone a bad name. So, what’s stopping you from taking full advantage of your phone’s ability to take kickass photos?

Lauren Theunissen, is an artist whose Insta feed could very well be an art exhibition. She teaches Smartphone Photography (yes, it really a thing!) at the ORMS Cape Town School For Photography, to people who want to be inspired by their phone’s ability to bring out their artistic superpowers.

Here, she gives us the commandments for taking good smartphone phones:

1. Know thy phone

As a rule of thumb, you might want to get to know what the phone you’re using is capable of. Says Theunissen, “Make sure you understand the settings on the camera, so it can give you the highest quality from the get-go.” She adds that she appreciates that Android phones give you full access to your manual camera settings - giving you full creative control of your phone - rather than making you pay to download features that essentially enable you to use your camera optimally.

2. Keep it clean

To be a decent photographer, do what real photographers do – take care of your gear. Theunissen says that this is the golden rule for taking the craft seriously. She advises that you keep your phone in a hard case and keep your lens clean by wiping it often. “People will eat slap chips for lunch, use their phones and wonder why their photos are blurry. Look after your phone,” she says.

Tip: With Huawei P20 Pro’s Artificial Intelligence and 6-second shutter speed, you can reduce the risk of blurry pictures (you’d still need to wipe the grease off the lens though!).

3.  Save your shot – and your battery

If you’re going out on an outdoor shoot, Theunissen says you could put your phone on flight mode. She says that this could help save your battery life. “It also means that you don’t have a potentially stunning shot ruined by your mother’s call to come home and wash the dishes,” she jokes.

4. Think before you click

We are part of a shutter-happy generation. Click-click! Says Theunissen: “Not every cup of coffee is a beautiful cup of coffee. Consider what you’re photographing before you take your shot.” She adds, that to make a beautiful photo, you have to put a bit of effort and consider your composition etc, to save time on editing later.

5. Take it easy with the zoom

“A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that they can zoom in with their fingers on the screen. You’re not actually zooming in - your lens is not extending – you’re actually cropping into a tiny section that is captured from your cellphone sensor and losing picture quality,” says Theunissen. She suggests that you rather move closer to your subject or take advantage of an optimised zoom function some phone cameras have.

Tip: You could try Huawei P20 Pro’s remarkable 5x Hybrid zoom feature, which combines the zoom on the camera’s lenses and artificial intelligence to bring you a more focused picture without degrading the image quality.

6. Covet others’ Insta feeds

Theunissen says it’s not a sin to scrutinise others social media feeds to figure out what you like. You may like photos where the subject is off center of the frame. “Therein lie the clues to help you learn more about the style you like.” You may want to use that and apply it to your shots until you grow your own way of photographing.

Tip: Huawei P20 Pro has an ultra-cool aperture mode which allows you to blur or focus the image background of your image. This gives your picture depth of field, while making it look very fancy.

7. Have patience, your inner Picasso is on the way

Theunissen says she finds people want to learn things really quickly. They might have taken an amazing photo once because the stars were aligned, and they captured a moment. “It doesn’t always work like that. The trick is to take time to pick up on cues like when the best light to photograph in is, as well as what works and doesn’t. Generally being aware of the world around you means, that you can even anticipate the moments when that amazing photograph will happen,” she says.

Tip: Give your picture some character with the Huawei P20 Pro’s mono chrome function, where you can take a shot in black and white, achieving more sharpness than you would with a filter. 

While you’re at it, discover Huawei P20’s cutting edge camera features to instantly ramp up your pictures’ quality.

This content is sponsored and paid for by Huawei for Fin24.

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