Mobile Photography Tips and Tricks

Snap amazing pictures on the go

Mobile photography is on the rise as camera technology improves with each new model. Want to learn how to take great pictures on your phone? You'll be a pro in no time following these 10 tips.

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It's All About the Light

Taking mobile photo at sunset

Artur Debat / Getty Images

It's true. It's all about the light.

That's what helps make a good image a great image. Check out the shadows that the sun makes on subjects. Notice the reflective light off buildings. Practice during the 'golden hour,' the period shortly after sunrise or just before sunset. Watch how the light from a window falls inside a room at different moments.

A smartphone is not the greatest in low-light situations. It's best to capitalize on lighting conditions under which your device best functions.

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Avoid the Zoom

Man in old car taking a photo
Brad Puet

Do not ever use the zoom on your smartphone. Zooming in could be the first mistake made when taking a picture. Often the images come out grainy or hazy. Instead, move closer to the object so that you don't have to rely on the camera.

This is mainly due to the size of the lens. If you had a larger lens, the quality of the zoomed image would be clearer.

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Stabilize Your Shots

People in motion walking on the street

Ekely / Getty Images

Camera shake when taking pictures is a factor on all cameras. The key to fixing this is to practice how you hold your phone.

  • Hold it horizontal at all times instead of vertical to get a wider image.
  • Try burst mode when snapping pictures of moving objects.
  • Know what you will use for the shutter (the button assigned, a software shutter button, a timer, or the volume on your headphones). The idea is to get to a place where you take clear images with no camera shake.
  • Use a tripod for stability. This frees you up to focus on better pictures.
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Mix Up Your Angles

Aerial photo of city
Brad Puet

Change your perspective on things. Trying different angles gets you a better shot, and it shows how you see the subject. So get down on the ground, climb to a high vantage point, or move to the side to change your point of view. Try as many angles on your subject as possible.

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Try Some Apps

Close up portrait of a child's face

Danielle Tunstall / Getty Images

Mobile photography is awesome because of the thousands of apps that are dedicated to the camera on smartphones.

These apps are helpful in editing your work. While you can't correct problems like bad lighting, you can improve other details to make a subject look acne-free, sharpen specific aspects of an image, or add text or other effects over the photo.

Find your favorite photo app, learn to use it well, and you can take your already awesome image to the next level.

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Keep It Clean

Close-Up Of Camera Lens

Sinan Saglam / Getty Images

Clean the glass on the camera lens. Much like when you have a dirty windshield, cleaning it can give you a sharper view and improve results. A shot with a clean lens will always be better than a shot through a greasy thumbprint.

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Experiment With the Flash

A person holding a phone camera in front of their face.

Shutterbug75 / Pixabay

Even though your phone camera doesn't have as powerful of a flash as a digital camera, you can still get some interesting results by using it.

The flash can help emphasize shade, make colors brighter, and add other interesting effects. Experiment by taking one photo without, then one with the flash. Make notes and compare the differences.

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Quality and Quantity

Street vendor sitting in front of a hat display
Brad Puet

Don't be afraid to take another shot. Snap away at anything and everything that suits your fancy. The more photos you shoot, the more comfortable you will get and the more you will determine the direction you'd like to take your mobile photography.

The only thing holding you back is how much storage is on your phone and how long your battery can last.

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Use Reflections for More Interesting Shots

Person going down an escalator in a dark hallway
Brad Puet

Mirrors, glasses, puddles and bodies of water, and smooth and shiny surfaces make for good reflections.

Push yourself to look for reflective surfaces and place your subjects at angles or in direct comparison to the reflection. Even simple shades of light can make amazing reflections.

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Have Fun

Tattooed man in front of LA banner holding lizard
Brad Puet

This is the last and really the only rule that you should stick to. If you don't listen to anything given here, "Have Fun" is the one rule that you have to promise yourself that you will use when getting into mobile photography.

Join in photo walks with other photographers and communities in your area. It's always fun when you do it alongside others who are learning and enjoying the art.

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