How to take good pictures with a phone?

How to take good pictures with a phone

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December 19, 2018

Taking a great photo used to require a lot of money, equipment, and know how. We have unlimited opportunities to take pictures. We take many pictures a day but most of them we don’t share or print. The question now is “How to take good pictures with a phone?” Try these secrets to take good pictures with your phone.  

1 Get Great Composition with the Rule of Thirds 

The rule of thirds is the most basic rule for composition in photography. By using the rule of thirds, you can quickly improve the flow and direction of your photography and create stunning images. 

The first step is to divide the image in thirds horizontally. Where do the horizontal lines lie? Are they on the top third, middle or bottom? It is more aesthetically pleasing if the lines stay away from the center and are either on the top or the bottom third.  If you are shooting a sunset, you want to make sure that the horizontal lines are on either the bottom or top third of the image.  By taking the image of the horizon in the center, then the image may look flat. Try shooting from left to right make sure the subject is in the right third or the left third.   

To become a better mobile photographer, start by using the rule of thirds by turning on the grid in the camera settings on your phone. The grid feature will show faint lines as you take a picture so you can easily position your shot.  Once you set the grid lines it will stay on until you turn it off.  

Rule of thirds Smartphone Photography

2 Adjust the Exposure  

To learn how to to take good pictures with a phone, exposure is very important. When you take a picture, exposure is the amount of light that is collected by the sensor in your camera. It is the way to control the light and darkness of the image. Traditional SLR cameras have a light meter that tells them what the lighting should be set at. A smartphone can adjust the focus and exposure. You can do this by touching any part of the screen and a little circle or square will come up depending on the type of phone. This will adjust the focus and exposure on your phone. Getting the right exposure for mobile photography can be hard but here are some ways to adjust the exposure to take good pictures with your phone.    

Explore each smartphone touch screen by just tapping anywhere on the screen to adjust the exposure. By tapping on a dark portion, the image will instantly become brighter. Tap on a light part and the shot will become darker. The trick is to find the right spot where your phone will have lights and darks are even. There are no blinding lights and black blobs in your image. 

Smartphone exposure

Tap to find the right exposure. This image is almost right but the top right corner is a little over exposed.


The sky in this image is overexposed. Tap other areas on your phone to get better exposure.

3- Use Natural Light  

How to take good pictures with a phone using natural light. First, you need to pay attention to the direction of the light. Is it too dark or extremely bright? A quick tip for inside photography is to use the natural light from a window. Take a picture of someone standing so the light hits them evenly. You can increase the light by increasing the exposure on the slider on the side or the bottom. Look for the image of a sun or a light bulb and slide your finger up or to the side. When taking a close-up picture shadows can quickly mess up your photo. If the image has many harsh shadows, you can stand between the sun to reduce the glare on the subject. Taking pictures at sunrise or sunset is the best time to get good lighting. 

4-Try Different Angles 

Camera angles can create very intriguing stories. Most photos are taken at eye level but changing the angle of your smartphone can drastically improve your photography. In drawing, it is hard to create depth, but by using perspective it can create images that have depth. This is done by choosing a vanishing point and drawing diagonal lines leading to the point. This creates depth in the image, in photography; the image is created by paying attention to where these lines are. It is the key to better composure and great cell phone photography. 

Angles with Mobile Photography Dog Image

5-Guide the Viewer with Leading Lines 

It is a simple composition technique that can be easily mastered. Our eyes naturally follow lines due to the clarity and distinction they create. Lines lead us on a journey and add depth as the story is portrayed. Lines can lead us into a straight direction through a street or it can lead us on a path winding next to a river. Capturing these lines in an image will lead the viewer to gain powerful meaning in the story.  Leading Lines guide the viewer throughout the story without being present. Leading lines can be the main composition focus, or it can be used with other tools like the rule of thirds, or symmetry. 

Leading Lines mobile Photography

6- Try Mobile Photography Lenses and Tripods 

It is very hard to take great shots without gear. The slightest motion can make your close-up image out of focus and blurry. If you cannot hold perfectly still while you take the shot you will need to invest in a tripod and a shutter release button. A tripod will help you stabilize the image.  The Joby Tripod is one of the best tripods in the industry and can be put in many positions and surfaces for better close up images. The Joby Impulse Shutter Remote is a perfect tool so that you can shoot your image from a distance. You will notice that your images turn out better because you don’t have the movement from tapping on the screen. A lens will make it so you can get even closer. The Olloclip macro lens allows you to get even closer at 10x or 15x and see every detail. 

Joby gorillapod iphone tripod

7- Use Live Photo to Capture Children or Animals 

Live Photos helps with photographing fidgety children and people. Taking a motion shot on a mobile phone captures a 1.5 second video of audio both before and after you press the shutter button to take the photo. The shot captured is the still image that was saved when you tapped on the shutter. You can press play to see the 3 second moving image of the before and after of the shot. Live photos show the details that are so important in the before and after of the shot. This tells more of the story of the still image. It is an easy way to capture children or animals who can quickly move. You can then go in the edit option and save a clear image from the camera roll.  

Live Photo iPhone

For additional tips and tricks please read the blog posts below or subscribe to our newsletter at 

Rule of Thirds 

Take a Live Photo or Motion Shot on a Mobile Phone?  

How to use Exposure for Mobile Photography  

Creative Ideas for Your Mobile Photography- Angles 

How to Take the Best Cell Phone Photos Using Leading Lines


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