Capturing Great Landscapes Photographs With Smartphone

When it comes to outdoor photography, bringing along a smartphone is now a necessity for taking instant point-and-shoot landscapes. Based on the 2012 Prosper Mobile Insights study, 57.7% of travellers use mobile devices for documenting their trip and sharing photos instantly on social media.  Though the quality of images is still incomparable to the outputs produced by full-fledge DSLR cameras, these handy gadgets are easier to use and highly portable, perfect for taking quick snaps of the Snowdonia National Park, Westcoast of Britain.

Mobile devices also have access to multiple applications that can be used for instant image processing, editing, and sharing. Most of the latest flagship devices also come pre-installed with the ability to capture widescreen panoramic photographs of your subjects with just a single tap.

If you are planning on using a smartphone to document your next outdoor adventures, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll give you a handful of tips on how you can capture great landscape pictures with a mobile device.

Hardware Matters

The initial feature you need to check is its imaging functionalities (lens, light sensitivity, and built-in camera apps). The best thing about today’s mobile devices is that it offers exceptional imaging capabilities that are comparable to professional DSLRs. As featured by Techradar, one of the powerful smartphone’s, the HTC One, is equipped with a much larger sensor (called ‘UltraPixels’) that are capable of capturing 300% more light than a standard mobile device. In case you need to take pictures of landscapes at nightfall, the handset offers great low-light performance, can give you outputs with less digital noise. Even the latest Samsung Galaxy device is also equipped with a 16-megapixel sensor with HDR (High Dynamic Range Imaging), which is capable of capturing detailed images of sceneries, even when there is not enough natural lighting and even if you are far from your subject. As highlighted by the S5 on O2 page, it also comes with a fast auto-focus mode, so you’ll never miss the all-important action shot of moving subjects such as birds and wildlife creatures.

You may also consider bringing an extra battery pack to make sure that you’ll never run out of battteery. In case you need to take shots of sceneries that need massive zooming, you may also want to consider investing on some external photography lenses for your smartphone, as suggested by Caroline Morse of We recommend the iZZi Orbit 3-in-1 add-on lens that comes with a rotating dish with three types of interchangeable optical lenses: a 67X Wide-Angle-Macro lens, a 2x telephoto lens, and a 180-degree Fisheye lens.

Composition Is Still Your Ultimate Pal

To achieve great landscape photographs, you still need to master the rules of photo composition. For you to capture breathtaking view of trees, green fields, and mountain ranges, here are some of the composition tips worth looking at:

– Rule of Thirds

You don’t need to be an expert to do this. All you need is your default camera’s built-in grid in its viewfinder. Try placing the subject or interesting elements of the scene along one of the intersecting lines as opposed to the middle of the frame.

– Foregrounding

One element that can make your landscape shots stand out is the inclusion of a natural foreground, shared Darren Rowse of Digital Photography School. Once you’ve established your subject, look for a rock, a swinging branch, or any object to be included in your framing.

– Depth of Field

Similar to foregrounding, this technique adds drama to your landscape pictures. The only difference is that you only select a portion of your subject to be clear by tapping the said portion in your mobile viewfinder, while everything else will be blurred out (example: a green pasture in front of your mountain subject).

– Experiment With Angles

You can play with the angles by capturing your subjects from the normal ‘eye level view.’ For instance, you can capture a tree by placing your smartphone lying on the ground to bring a more dramatic low angle view. If you are on top, you can take interesting pictures of the scene below by doing a high-angle/bird’s eye shot.

Use Photo Enhancement Apps

While high-end smartphones have great camera optics, some of them still struggle with colour contrast and blurriness, especially at night. With photo enhancement apps such as NightCap (for iOS), you can enhance your mobile camera’s light sensitivity to allow more lights to enter the frame, producing clear images on low light condition. In case you have a phone with no panoramic camera feature, you can download panorama apps such as AutoStitch (for Android and iOS) to virtually stitch multiple images into a single wide-angle shot.

These are some of the tips we can impart for outdoor mobile photography enthusiasts. Always remember, it doesn’t matter if you have a smartphone or a professional camera. Your creativity and photocomposition are enough to capture breathtaking landscape images.

Reese Jones is a techie learner, who loves researching a lot. Every time a new educational tool is released, she can’t wait to get her hands on it, and see if it’s a perfect fit for her online studies. For more of these insights and ideas, Reese hangs a lot on Twitter and on Google+.

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