Cool Smartphone Photography Doesn’t Require a Fancy Smartphone

Smartphones have come a LONG way in the time they’ve been invented, and now it’s possible to do some WAY cool smartphone photography. I recently experimented with a few photography techniques using a smartphone. My phone is a pretty basic Samsung phone, with a 13 megapixel camera but not a lot of fancy features. I took most of these pictures with this basic phone, proving that cool smartphone photography doesn’t require you to have a fancy phone!

Well, some cool smartphone photography does.

Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography waterfall
Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography long exposure

These two pictures are the only pictures in this post that were taken with an iPhone, using the long exposure feature. What I did was take a live photo, and then afterwards I went in to the photo and changed it from “live” to “long exposure.” It took the footage from the 3 seconds of live photo footage and combined it into one image, just like a more fancy camera will do with a 3-second shutter speed. This long exposure technique always produces “fuzzy” or smooth water, as shown in these photos.

Lens compression: Possible on any smartphone

Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography no lens compression
Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography lens compression

For these next photos, we’ve gone back to my basic Samsung smartphone camera. This is something I think is a SUPER cool smartphone photography trick: lens compression. I took the first image standing fairly close to the tripod and camera, about the distance you’d expect based on looking at the picture. Maybe a foot, foot and a half (not sure though; I’m terrible at judging distances :D). The second picture is me standing several feet back, and zooming in on the camera. The result was that the background now looks much closer. Only a small part of the background shows up compared to what it showed in the other picture. This is a result of lens compression, which is something cool that any smartphone can do by standing back and zooming in.

Portrait Depth Mode

Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography not portrait mode
Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography portrait mode

This is an example of how not all cool smartphone photography tricks are possible on a basic phone camera. This was an experiment in portrait mode, which my camera doesn’t do very well with. I think both pictures still turned out pretty well, but I don’t feel like there is a lot of difference. I know a lot of nicer phone cameras these days take some FABULOUS portraits with the background blurred out! But my phone didn’t do too well. And that’s okay! That’s one reason I have a “real camera” too, because I love portrait photography! The first image is without any special mode, and the second is with portrait mode.

Panorama: The classic cool smartphone photography

Photo Design by Rachel - Cool Smartphone Photography panorama

Sometimes, you just NEED to capture everything around you, and fortunately nearly every smartphone camera these days has a panorama feature. This picture was taken at Yellowstone, while the sun was setting, while geysers were going off. I wanted to show the sunset and the steam, and how wide the expanse was. The scene called for some this cool smartphone photography technique: the panorama. The result? This beautiful image, which almost makes me feel like I’m there.

I love having a camera with me everywhere I go because of my smartphone, and I’m always looking to learn new cool smartphone photography tricks. I’d love to try some gadgets like this one by Lensta, but I haven’t yet. Have you? Let me know in the comments what you think, and tell me some you’d recommend!!