Yes, you can take photos on your phone

Professional photographer Adam Coupe offers some useful tips on making sure the photos you take on your mobile are good enough to use in marketing and PR.

The cameras in mobile phones are hugely impressive these days. In fact, they’ve become a key differentiator between manufacturers and one of the main reasons why people choose to upgrade models.
Even as a professional photographer, I use my mobile phone on location to create quick social media updates, and there’s certainly no reason why photos taken on a phone can’t be used for marketing and PR purposes. However, they are not suitable for every project or every marketing platform, so it’s worth bearing the following advice in mind before you get snapping.

Get plenty of practice. If you’re taking photos to illustrate a press release or to post on your website, make sure you get plenty of practice beforehand. You need to understand how your phone camera behaves in different lights and when taking photos of people or objects, before you launch into the real thing.
Take some shots around the office or factory to see how they come out with artificial and natural light and if you’re out on site, try taking some installation shots to practice getting them squared up – that’s actually harder than it looks.

Don’t zoom in. When you pinch an image on a mobile phone screen, it looks as though you are zooming in. What you’re actually doing though is applying a digital zoom effect, which just crops into the existing pixels in the image, making it less sharp. My advice is to move closer to what you’re photographing and stay zoomed out as much as possible to keep the clarity and resolution as good as it can be.

Don’t use your phone’s flash. In-built flash is the achilles heel of most mobile phones because it almost invariably produces an unnatural looking shot. My advice is always to turn the flash off and rely on natural or ambient light wherever you can.

Avoid indoor shots. For the same reason, it’s always best to avoid indoor photos of people or products unless you have some secondary lights you can use. If you’re not very careful, your photos will have a distinctive ‘orange’ tinge.

Use the sun. Any building looks better on a bright sunny day so it’s always worth being patient and waiting for some sunshine before you take shots outdoors. Make a note of the direction of the sun as well and try to make sure you’re taking photos at the time of day when the building looks its best.

Tap the image. Make sure you always tap the image to choose where you want the scene to be focused – don’t allow the phone camera’s own software to decide where the area of interest in the shot should be.

Steady the phone. It’s common sense, but try to steady the phone while you’re composing the shot so that your verticals stay vertical and your shots aren’t blurred. Even a selfie stick with a remote release button can sometimes be better than trying to hold a very sensitive camera steady.

Don’t compress the image. Always try to work with the full-size version of any image you take. Your phone will prompt you to select a small, medium or large version of the image before you email it, and, while the small size will be fine for social media or even your website, only the full-size version will have the clarity you need for it to be used in the trade press.

Be realistic. Everyone thinks they’re a budding professional, but have a look through the trade magazines like Glass Times before you submit anything to them, and be realistic about whether your shots are up to the standard required. If not, keep practising.