To maximize the quality of our smartphone cameras, I still think a tripod is still needed to take great pictures. The most common way to improve any image quality is by allowing longer exposure time. And that means we need a tripod. But the Galaxy Z Flip has a special feature.
In our review of the Galaxy Z Flip, we did mention that we are going to take a lot of pictures with it since it can stand up on its own, creating a “tripod” on its own. Also, thanks to the hinge, we can pivot and lock the camera to point at any angles we choose.
However, all of the steps mentioned in this article are applicable for any cameras with manual mode. We are using the Galaxy Z Flip because… we can.
1. Understanding the basics of photography
I think many of us have heard about the exposure triangle before. We have a total of 3 things to balance – ISO, aperture, and shutter speed a.k.a. exposure time. For smartphones up until today, the aperture is fixed. So, the only thing we can tune is the ISO and the exposure time.
For me, I always like my pictures noiseless – so my ISO is always at its lowest possible – but that means we need a couple of seconds of exposure time. Hence, we need a tripod.
It’s not necessary, but I always carry a tripod in my bag. Be it a small or big one, a tripod is always with me just because I want to take some pictures with Pro mode. I don’t have steady hands and there’s no proper way to make the phone stand.
But it’s no fun to carry yet another tripod around. What if we can integrate a real tripod functionality into the phone itself? Now we have a phone that has a real tripod functionality. And it also folds in half.
Re-introducing, the Galaxy Z Flip. It can function like a real tripod. Just place it on a table or somewhere flat, then it is essentially a tripod! But – not everything is perfect. The Galaxy Z Flip is slippery as heck. To maintain its position and its beauty, we need a non-slip mat. Or maybe, a rubber band.
Ah yes, rubber bands. I have a stack of them on my table here just for this purpose. By playing the rubber band on the table before putting the Galaxy Z Flip on top, we can prevent scratching up the Galaxy Z Flip and also provide grip. That means our long exposure time pictures will look excellent.
3. Framing the shot
This is extremely useful. No matter how beautiful the lighting or colors or even the subject is, the picture won’t look good if the framing is not up to par. Hence, it’s always good to plan your shots and frame it first, before setting up the tripod.
With that said, what tripod head you’re using might make a big difference. Maybe get a tripod with a ball head since it offers free movement.
For the case of the Galaxy Z Flip, I can turn the phone on its side and start taking pictures, too.
4. Dialing in the numbers and take it RAW format, too
For me, I like my pictures with the least noise. So my ISO is always at its lowest. Then, my exposure time (shutter speed) is tuned according to the lighting condition that I am in. If the exposure isn’t right on the first shot, then don’t worry – just retake. It’s quite difficult to know the perfect settings for each environment at a finger snap.
Oh yes – we can set it to take RAW pictures too. Depending on what smartphone you’re using, you might have the option to have pictures taken in RAW format. Just enable the option in the camera app and you’re done.
5. Add some flair
And the benefits of taking pictures in RAW is its versatility after taking the picture. RAW pictures can alter the picture like high-precision surgery. As shown in the video at the top of this article, the picture looks absolutely different but does not have any effect on the image quality.
For phones, I’m usually using Snapseed for editing. It’s a simple to use application that allows a lot of experimentation, and it also has some filters built-in. It’s not as precise since we’re using a phone with touch controls, but it gets the job done.
If you want to edit the pictures on your PC or Mac, then you can also use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
Revisit earlier steps
Photography needs the practice to get better. There’s no point in getting the best camera in the market right now but can’t take good pictures. I started with a Nikon D3100 and learned the basics of photography with that camera. My photography skills still need a lot of improvement, but hey – everyone has to start somewhere.
Equipment is only a small part of the equation – but skills matter the most.