11 tips & tricks for better outdoor photos with the phone

Do you ever wonder how your favorite accounts on Instagram manages to capture such nice photos from their trips? Do you really need a super expensive camera with lots of different lenses, or does it maybe boil down the knowledge? We will now reveal our 11 best tricks to help you step up your photography game!

Most people today have their mobile phones with them out in the woods. And the fact is that most cell phones today also have very competent cameras. It’s just about learning to handle them. The truth is that the basic rules of photography are applied to both expensive DSLR cameras and those you find in smartphones. The difference is usually that the owner of the expensive system camera takes the time to learn how to properly capture a good photos. But you can easily learn how to do the same and raise the quality of your own photos!

In addition to having an interesting motif to fill the picture with, which could be a cozy camp, a fireplace, or maybe a couple of hikers on a trail, there are several technical aspects that must align for the picture to turn out good. We, therefore, present 11 tips and tricks to keep in mind when photographing. These tips and tricks work for both smartphone cameras and DSLR cameras.

1. Make sure the focus is right

This may sound obvious to some but is really strange to hear for others. Putting the focus right is about getting the right part of the image sharp. On most phones, you can easily click where you want the focus. Try this, so you minimize the risk of a blurred tent but sharp trees in the background.

2. Make sure the lens is clean

There is a reason why photographers are careful with lens protection. A dirty lens can greatly ruin the result. And the same, of course, applies to smartphones.

3. Skip zooming

As long as your phone doesn’t have optical zoom, we advise you to avoid zooming. The digital zoom quickly eats up the image quality. Then it is better to use your legs and walk closer to the object you’re trying to capture in the picture.

4. The sun - Friend and foe

Taking pictures in the middle of the day when the sun is the strongest is considered by many to be optimal because you then have plenty of light. They couldn’t be more wrong! The shadows become hard and unflattering. To get the very best pictures, you should take photos during the golden hour. It is the first and last hour that the sun shines on the day. That’s when you then capture those real magical images.

Also, make sure to avoid strong backlights if you do not intend to use this from an artistic perspective.

5. Natural framing

Try framing if you want to draw your followers’ eyes to a special part of the picture. You can use elements in the surroundings, foreground, background, or other elements in images to create a sense of framing around your main object. Maybe some branches, blueberry rice, or a pile of snow.

6. Keep the horizon straight

When photographing landscapes, it is very important to get the horizon straight. Especially if you are photographing seas or lakes. You can easily adjust the horizon using a photo editing app afterward if you discover that the horizon wasn’t completely straight.

7. The golden ratio and the rule of thirds

The golden ratio and the rule of thirds are used for placing the objects you’re trying to photograph to satisfy the human eye. An image can be thought of as being divided into nine equal squares (rule of thirds). Place your main motif along the lines between the squares or on the crosses. On many phones, you can turn on this grid so you can more easily compose your pictures.

8. Clean up your photos

To create a harmonious image, you have to look at the whole and not just the main motif. Be sure to avoid unnecessary elements in the image that may take focus away from the main subject. In many cases, the environment requires more time than the main motif. There are several tricks to use here. Either you move on yourself, the main motif, or both. You can also start making changes to the background if it is absolutely not possible to change places.

9. Movement inwards in the image

When you photograph people, animals, or things in motion, you should try to make them move inwards in the image. This is so that there will be space in front of the object to continue forward in the viewer’s imagination. This also applies to portraits when a person’s eyes can symbolize which direction he is heading.

10. Perspective

A sea with blueberry rice has probably most people stood and looked over. But how do you make the blueberry rice you are going to shoot to stand out from the crowd? With a different perspective of course! This is one of the most common mistakes beginners make, taking photos from the angle you normally see things. Try to get down on your knees, or lie on your stomach. Maybe climb a rock? Dare to experiment with perspectives! Another advantage for working with perspectives is to clean up a messy background (see tip number 8).

11. Dare to edit the picture

We promise that very few of the images you have seen in the popular feeds came directly from the camera. In most cases, they have passed through at least one editing software. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s just another tool to produce a good image. But avoid the ready-made filters that are available, they can often do more harm than good. A really good mobile app that we often use is called Snapseed.

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Cover by: Andreas Fridh
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