Capture the Beauty of DeKalb County with Your Phone: Top Tips for Stunning Photos

Capture the Beauty of DeKalb County with Your Phone: Top Tips for Stunning Photos

By Kerry Scott

With the technology of today’s smartphones, capturing images of vibrant wildflowers and dramatic waterfalls has never been easier. No matter where you’re visiting in DeKalb County, whether it’s Tigers for Tomorrow, High Falls Park, the breathtaking DeSoto Falls or any other attraction, take your mobile photography to the next level with these tips.

  1. Switch on HDR for Improved Highlight & Shadow Detail

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is a powerful feature on most smartphones that combines multiple shots into one, balancing the light and dark areas of your photo. This is especially useful in DeKalb’s diverse environments, such as the contrasting light conditions found at Little River Canyon or Brow Park during sunset. By switching on HDR, you can capture the full range of details, from bright skies to shaded canyon floors. Check out the difference in this shot at High Falls Park.

2. Use Night Mode to Capture Incredible Color & Detail in Low Light

DeKalb County’s natural beauty doesn’t fade with the daylight. Use your phone’s night mode to capture stunning low-light scenes, whether you’re photographing the serene waters at High Falls Park after sunset or the starry skies on Lookout Mountain. Night mode enhances colors and details, providing clear, vivid images even in minimal light.

Hiking DeSoto State Park

3. Master Composition: Rule of Thirds and Beyond

Great composition is the backbone of any beautiful photo. Use your phone’s grid feature to apply the rule of thirds, positioning the most important elements along the lines and at their intersections. This simple technique can dramatically improve your photos. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to create more dynamic and engaging images.

4. Experiment with Exposure

Most smartphones allow you to manually adjust the exposure. By tapping on different parts of the screen, you can control the amount of light in your photo. This is particularly useful when photographing bright waterfalls or darker forest trails. Adjusting exposure helps you highlight the details you want to emphasize and avoid overexposed or underexposed shots.

5. Get Low for Unique Perspectives

Changing your shooting angle can make a big difference. Try getting low to the ground to capture unique perspectives of DeKalb’s landscapes. This works wonderfully when photographing wildflowers at Town Creek Field and Farm, the flowing waters of Indian Falls or changing the angle of this bridge at High Falls Park. Lower angles can add depth and interest to your photos, making them stand out.

6. Don’t Zoom, Move Closer

Digital zoom on smartphones can reduce the quality of your photos, making them look grainy. Instead of zooming in, move closer to your subject. Whether you’re photographing the intricate details of flora along a hiking trail, capturing a kayaker on the water, or capturing the stunning architecture of the historic Fort Payne Depot Museum and Collinsville’s Cricket Theatre, getting closer will help you maintain sharpness and clarity in your images.

7. Turn the Phone Upside Down

For creative shots, try turning your phone upside down. This technique can be especially effective for capturing reflections in water or giving a fresh perspective to familiar scenes. Imagine capturing the reflection of DeSoto Falls in the river below or the mirrored image of a sunset. While the image on the screen will reorientate to upright, the camera lens itself will be lower to the ground when doing this, allowing you to capture unique angles and compositions.

8. Use the Grid for Better Alignment

Turning on the grid feature helps you keep your horizons straight and your compositions balanced. This is particularly helpful when photographing landscapes like the sweeping views at Little River Canyon or the orderly rows of lavender at Grand Oaks Farm. A well-aligned photo is visually pleasing and professional looking.

Great Spots in DeKalb County to Capture

  • Tigers for Tomorrow: This exotic animal preserve offers unique opportunities for wildlife photography.
  • High Falls Park: Known for its dramatic waterfalls and scenic vistas, perfect for landscape shots.
  • Brow Park: A prime spot for stunning sunsets and panoramic views.
  • DeSoto Falls: One of Alabama’s most beautiful waterfalls, ideal for both wide-angle and close-up shots.
  • Little River Canyon: Offers breathtaking landscapes and diverse hiking trails.
  • Town Creek Field and Farm: A fantastic location for capturing vibrant wildflowers and rustic farm scenery.
  • Grand Oaks Farm: Fields of fragrant lavender and other flowers make this a delightful place to visit.
  • Sally Howard Memorial Chapel: A unique building that melds architecture with nature and offers many photo opportunities, both outside and inside.
  • Historic Architecture: DeKalb County is rich with historic homes and buildings that feature architecture that makes stunning photos and interesting compositions.
Tigers for Tomorrow
Sunset at Brow Park in Mentone, Alabama

Share Your Photos and Tips

We encourage you to share your favorite DeKalb County photos on social media. Tag us and use the hashtag #VisitLookoutMountain so we can see your amazing work. Share your own tips for mobile photography and help fellow visitors capture the beauty of our region.

By following these tips and exploring the stunning locations DeKalb County has to offer, you’ll be well on your way to capturing unforgettable photos with your cell phone. Happy snapping!