Shooting With a Smartphone

Shooting With a Smartphone: an Overview of Curious Effects for Incredible Shots

It is difficult to overestimate the popularity of taking photos and videos on a smartphone. Just recently, it was impossible to get a satisfactory result without a full-fledged camera. But technology does not standstill. Modern smartphones with advanced cameras are no longer inferior in quality to digital cameras.

Let’s consider curious effects and photo processing algorithms, with which even beginners can get impressive shooting. And special programs will show you a way to unblur a photo, slow down a video or create an old photo effect.


The interval timelapse technique has been popular lately. It is a video made of photos taken at a certain interval. Initially, timelapse was used to study the slow processes but gradually migrated to the artistic techniques. The basic idea here is that by taking shots at intervals of a few seconds or minutes, you get a slow-motion image whose speed can be easily controlled.

This technique is ideal for capturing moving objects, shifting landscapes, and other similar subjects. You can achieve better results by attaching your smartphone to a tripod.

Today there are a lot of applications for iOS (Time Lapse Camera or iTimeLapse Pro) and Android (Lapse It, Time Lapse Video Recorder, and others), allowing you to easily create time-lapse videos.

Slow Motion

Another option for obtaining the effect of slow motion, only using the reverse process. The difference between Slow Motion and Timelapsethe is in the smoothness of the video. This solution is more suitable not for capturing long processes, but, on the contrary, for slowing down fast ones. For example, falling various objects, performing complicated tricks with moving objects, and so on.

To create such clips, the camera needs to support high-speed recording and a large sensor size. The more frames per second the smartphone’s matrix can capture, the slower you will be able to reproduce the result later.

To turn the footage into a slow-motion video, you will need to install the appropriate application, which slows down the playback speed. Such programs are plentiful for both popular platforms.


A rather curious effect that allows you to achieve the illusion of a toy world in a photo. In the professional environment, photographers use shift lenses. Their optical system is shifted perpendicular to the axis and parallel to the matrix surface. In smartphones, this idea is realized with the help of a software algorithm that controls the autofocus of the camera module. Visually, looking at such an image, it seems that a certain area is zoomed in, similar to macro photography, and the rest of the frame is blurred.

To take tilt-shift photos, simply install one of the programs that support this effect. For example, Tilt-Shift Camera and Tilt-Shift Maker for Android or Awesome Miniature Pro for iOS.

Spherical Panorama

A very impressive effect with which you can get a really unusual view of the world. To create a photo like this, you’ll need a smartphone with a gyroscope, and the appropriate app. Having captured a 360-degree panorama consisting of many frames, you need to upload it to the utility 360 Panorama for iPhone or Google Camera for Android and select the appropriate function. At the output, you will get a swirling image in a ball, covering the entire space around you. The effect is great for city or landscape shots.

Lens Blur

On your smartphone, you can get a background blur effect that highlights foreground objects. For example, in the Google Camera application for Android, you can select the appropriate mode, take a photo, and then shifting the lens to adjust the degree of blurring. For iOS, there is a special Lens Blur program, which has a lot of manual settings but works with ready-made images.


High dynamic range mode. It allows you to get high-quality and clear photos in difficult lighting conditions.  When you activate HDR, the camera creates three images with different exposures and automatically glues them into one, eliminating unpleasant defects.

Almost all smartphones today have HDR mode in their built-in photo utility. You can achieve better results by installing specialized apps, such as Pro HDR X for iOS or Pro HDR Camera for Android.

Vintage photography

Quite a large group of effects that create an imitation of photos taken on old film cameras. The usual Instagram editor provides ample opportunities for such styling. But there are also many other applications, such as RetroCamera, released for Android or iOS, and others.


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