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Guaranteed to be the one camera that is always on you, your mobile phone’s camera may or may not be your camera of choice, but it’s better than none! Here are a few tips to help you use what you have, or whip your budding mobile photography hobby into better shape.
If you’re anything like me, throughout the day, your phone is constantly being juggled; it’s stuffed in a pocket on the way outside to walk the dog, held with a wallet upon entering the subway, slipped into a bag during your commute, and often misplaced at least once during your waking hours. Regardless of the level of protection your case offers, your mobile phone comes into direct contact with myriad dust- and bacteria-covered surfaces throughout any given day.
The first and easiest way to improve your mobile photography is to make sure the lens on your camera is free of dust, dirt, and smudges on the exterior element. Individually packaged Zeiss Moist Cleaning Wipes are safe and effective when it comes to wiping down your phone’s lens and screen. They come in packs of twenty and include a microfiber cloth that can be used after a moist cleaning wipe, or as a stand-alone method to ensure streaks and spots have been completely removed. Another option is the Nikon Micro-Fiber Lens Cleaning Cloth, which is attached to, and stuffs inside, a little pouch that can clip onto a zipper or thin strap, ensuring fast and easy access. The pouch protects the cloth from dust and debris in your bag so you can give your lens a safe and clean wipe-down.
For an unobtrusive approach to street photography, many headphones, such as the Apple In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic and Koss Porta Pro KTC On-Ear Headphones, allow iPhone and some Android users to take pictures utilizing the volume control buttons on the inline remote as a shutter release, in lieu of pressing the shutter-release button on the screen of your mobile device. Compatible headphones can also be used when your smartphone is mounted on a tripod to eliminate camera shake.
In addition to eliminating camera shake, long exposures are easier to set up and capture when your mobile phone is paired with the Joby GripTight Gorillapod Stand for Smartphones. The Gorillapod fits any phone (case included) 2.1-2.8" wide, enabling a portable and reliable support system for long exposures. Or, if you’re traveling with a travel- or full-sized tripod, grab a MeFOTO SideKick360 Smartphone Tripod Adapter to attach your phone for greater height and stability—also useful when composing a timed self-portrait! If composure is not your primary concern when taking a self-portrait, no mobile photography article is complete without mention of a selfie stick; the Polaroid Selfie Stick with Bluetooth Shutter is a sleek monopod-style holder that extends from 8 to 40" for an even wider shot that can be easily taken via Bluetooth, allowing you to release the shutter with the remote control built into the selfie-stick handle.
Similar to photographers with advanced DSLR and mirrorless systems with multiple lenses; mobile photographers can now attach telephoto, fisheye, wide-angle, and even macro lenses to their smartphone. The Olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens for iPhone 6/6s/6 Plus/6s Plus includes four different options; a fisheye, wide-angle, a 10x macro lens, and a 15x macro lens mounted to a clip that slips over the top of your iPhone. Another option is the Manfrotto KLYP+ Wide-Angle/Macro and Telephoto 1.5x Lenses for iPhone 6/6 Plus, which includes a wide-angle lens that unscrews to reveal a macro lens and a telephoto 1.5x for portrait and long-range photography.
For the more advanced mobile photographer looking to capture and save bigger files, the DxO ONE Digital Camera is a 20.2MP 1" sensor that attaches to your iPhone or iPad via Lightning connector. The 32mm equivalent f/1.8 lens works with a dedicated app to offer camera control, image playback, and live view shooting. For a pretty penny, it will turn your smartphone into an advanced compact camera without losing any portability and connectivity.
Along with any and all mobile photography accessories, a number of apps may be used to capture and edit your images, and basic photography principles can always be relied upon to help guide you when you feel apprehensive about how to take the perfect picture. Make sure your subject is in focus, utilize leading lines, shoot from a different perspective, follow the rule of thirds, or ignore all of the “rules!” Regardless of what rules, apps, and accessories you choose to take advantage of or ignore, expanding your mobile photography hobby or career is just a click away.