It is often said that the best camera is the one you already have with you. We all love our smartphones and the built-in camera is often the only one we carry.

Surprisingly, the cameras of modern phones compete with many of the cheap DSLRs on the market. This means you can take killer images without a professional camera. Tap or click to turn your smartphone’s camera into a full-featured webcam.

Nature photography is a great hobby all year round. But if you are struggling to achieve the desired quality, try a few of these tips.

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1. Pay attention to the lighting

Photography is often called light painting. When taking pictures of nature, pay attention to the available light. How can you use it to create eye-catching images?

Turn the sun peeking through the trees into a dramatic starburst by setting f / stop to f / 22 or higher. Look for ways in which light and shadows create exciting patterns on an otherwise bleak background.

Catch the way sunlight shines over the exciting water. Keep your eyes open for dramatic contrast or softer, warmer images.

2. Choose the right time of day

There are various lighting options that change during the day. Golden Hour is the hour immediately after sunrise or just before sunset and is named appropriately for the yellow hue that the sun casts. This warms up every scene.

If you worked during the golden hour and want to try something new, go out during the blue hour. This is the hour just before sunrise or shortly after sunset. It provides an attractive tone for your site and landscape.

3. Think about the composition

If you hang around commodity photographers long enough, you can be sure that the best composition comes with the rule of thirds – (dividing the frame into thirds vertically and horizontally and using the intersecting lines as focal points).

But using creative composition techniques, such as framing your subject with elements such as branches, using reflections, following guides, or making your subject relatively large in a scene, can also create images that stand out.

4. Lens options

Your smartphone can offer many types of lenses. Try using your wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle lens to capture stunning landscapes and wider scenes. Look in your camera panel to create panoramas, lag or macro images.

Avoid using optical zoom (pinch and squeeze). All it does is reduce the number of pixels you capture in the image. It is better to shoot with the best quality lens you have at 100%, then use post-processing applications to cut afterwards.

5. Change your point of view

As you walk, look up, look down, and don’t be afraid to look behind you as you walk. Which scenes do you miss? Climb higher or lower to see your object in a new way.

Try to look at things. Keep your thumb and forefinger together. From this point of view, what stands out? Try a few other techniques to change your perspective, such as colored lenses or looking things upside down.

6. Depth of field

Many cameras allow you to play with the depth of field in the image, which means you can control whether the background is in focus. Tap or click here to learn how to add lenses to your smartphone’s camera.

Setting a very shallow depth of field will make your subject stand out, while a deeper field will capture more of the context of the frame.

7. Long exposure

Using long exposures can lead to some dramatic shots. Look for objects with natural movement, such as a waterfall, stream, flowers in the wind, etc., and set the shutter speed to 20 seconds or more. This creates an attractive blur effect.

It is vital to have a small tripod or other secure support to make sure your camera is as still as possible during the photo shoot. Play with the length of the exposure to create a different look.

8. Photo editing applications

Don’t limit your photos to what you can take directly from the camera (SOOC). When shooting with a smartphone, you have access to many creative applications.

Take a look at the built-in filters that come with your system, or download a free photo editing app to spice up your masterpieces.

Using all these techniques, you should be able to create unique images that capture beautiful photos. Don’t be afraid to play with your settings, try new apps, change lenses and more. Enjoy shooting!

8 tips for taking better nature photos on your phone

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