SMALLER mockDrop_reading the news

Guide for Citizen Journalists Taking a Photos on their Smartphone

Some quick tips on using your smartphone to take photos or videos to later share or sell to newspapers.

Most important!

  • Don’t apply any filters or post editing to the image.
  • Take photos horizontally (see the top photo? that’s the WRONG way! see below). Photos taken horizontally conform to a better standard for both print and web usage.

Photo being taken horizontally

Basic tips

  • Take many photos.
  • Capture the subject matter within the centre of the frame, and imagine most photos will be cropped.
  • Don’t zoom-in, typically this reduces quality as it uses ‘digital zoom’.
  • If possible, be mindful of the position of the sun. Shadows over people’s faces are a no-no.
  • Avoid Flash. It takes away from the natural setting and introduces a false element into the photo.
  • Try to capture the subject without any telephone cables, pilons, lights, trees or other objects obstructing the view.
  • Use a good smartphone. Anything in the last 3 years should be fine. The minimum print resolution for newspaper print is about 4MP camera – and even then that will be very touch and go, so it will depend on how important the story is (iPhone 4, circa 2013 is 5MP, Samsung S5, circa 2015 is 16MP).

‘Depends on the moment’ Tips

  • Smaller groups of people are better than huge crowds – typically this means emotion, is more expressive and easier to relate with. It gives the person viewing the photo a better feeling of being in the action.
  • Be subtle when taking photos, ie. take photos when your smartphone is at your hip instead of eye level. Increases the chance of a more sincere photo when the subject is people.

Interesting links

Samsung S5 vs iPhone 6 camera

iPhone 6 appears to have superior night time shots.