Mark Fingar’s experience has taught him all about taking photos of firearms with a smartphone. He recommends not getting caught up with upgrading to a smartphone with more megapixels because some smartphones have fewer megapixels but are equipped with a better sensor, making photographs better.


Fingar recommends keeping a lens cloth on hand to wipe away the dust and dirt that easily collects on smartphones. Avoiding scratches is paramount because it permanently damages the quality of the camera lens. Also, avoid cleaning a rifle with a lens cloth because the firearm will get grease on the cloth. A paintbrush and a can of compressed air works great. If not on hand, an old t-shirt also works.


Photography is all about using reflected light to capture the perfect photo. Fingar explains that firearms are works of art, made up of flats, curves, and various details. Cast light across the firearm, not at it, especially when taking photos of black rifles. Lay the rifle down with the sun in front of it or slightly off to the side so the light glances off the rifle back to the camera lens. The ball should be the light source, with the rifle as the sidewall, and the lens as the corner pocket.


Sources of light are important. Fingar advises to never use the phone’s flashlight feature for photography, but a regular flashlight works fine. He also recommends the sun, car headlights, headlamps, or even candles. Avoid shots that are too deep or too harsh. Use a piece of white poster board or foam core to reflect light into the shadows. Proper lighting is key.


Once skilled with direct lighting, shadows and highlights are also good tools for a great photograph. Fingar recommends finding a shady spot under a tree or on a shaded park bench. When indoors, try bouncing light off the ceiling or use a pillowcase or white card to diffuse the light.


Fingar’s final advice relates to the photo frame and zoom settings. The perfect lighting, shadows, and highlights will be ruined if the frame shows things other than the rifle–like an empty pizza box, underwear, or feet. When zooming in on a photo, physically move forward instead of zooming the camera in because smartphone cameras have digital magnification. This crops the photo, removing detail from it, instead of focusing on specific details.


Following Mark Fingar’s tips for taking photos of firearms will improve the quality of any photograph.