7 Tips for Taking Better Cell Phone Photos

cell phone photos

Most devices today have a camera attached to them in some form or another, including laptops, tablets, and cell phones. While they may not have the capability of a DSLR, cell phone cameras are becoming quite impressive, making the need for point-and-shoot cameras almost obsolete for everyday users. The popularity of taking cell phone photos and sharing pictures instantly on social media and with family and friends has led cell phone companies to continually produce better smartphone cameras.

Some of the best camera phones of 2016 are shooting with at least a 12-megapixel rear camera, up to 4k (ultra HD) video, 1080p, and some cameras can shoot video at 60 frames per second.

Take advantage of your cell phone camera and learn how to take better cell phone photos with these 7 tips.

1. Try Landscape Position

Using a smartphone to take cell phone photos means that you have the option to shoot in the traditional cell phone position or in the landscape position. As you know, photography is all about perspective, and sometimes that perspective is best when the landscape position is used.

Don't be afraid to tilt your screen to see which position will be best for your photo. The landscape position sometimes provides a better aspect ratio for the photo you are trying to produce. The landscape position is also an excellent choice for shooting video with your phone.

2. Don't Use Zoom

In most cases, you should avoid using the zoom feature for your cell phone photos. Smartphones do not manually zoom like DSLR cameras, and therefore zooming in on something tends to produce lower-quality pixelated photos.

Don't zoom in if you want to keep your photo quality high.

3. Use Natural Lighting

Aim for soft, natural lighting when you're taking photos. Outside, shade or an overcast sky is the best conditions for great pictures. Inside, take pictures near a window or open door, with any artificial light eliminated (artificial bulbs turned off).

The same conditions that create great DSLR photos can also produce great cell phone photos. Use flash only when it's necessary, as it creates harsh lighting. Even in low-light situations, you may find that not using the flash creates a better image.

Look for natural sources of light to add to the scene. If you're unsure of whether or not to use the flash, try taking the photo both ways and see which one looks better.

cell phone photos

4. Hold Your Phone Steady

One area where cell phone cameras are usually lacking is in motion stabilization. Therefore it's important to hold your phone steady whenever you're taking a photo.

Consider investing in a mini cell phone tripod stand if you're serious about cell phone photography.

5. Clean the Lens

We carry our cell phones everywhere we go. They are in and out of our pockets, purses, cars, houses, and who-knows-where-else all day long. The lens is going to get dirty on a pretty regular basis.

Get in the practice of cleaning the lens before taking any important photos. The last thing you want is a dirty lens getting in the way of a perfectly good shot.

6. Change the Focus

When most people want to take a picture with their phone, they turn on the camera, set up their shot, and immediately take the picture. However, you could be getting a much better or more interesting picture if you learn how to change the focal point of your shot.

At the very least, make sure that your focal point is set to the subject of your shot. The focal point doesn't just change the focus. It also has a bearing on the lighting adjustments that your camera makes. If you want to experiment a little bit further with photography, play around with the focal point to focus or blur various parts of your subject matter.

cell phone photos

7. Post Processing

Once you've mastered the art of taking a good photo, only half of your work is finished. The key to getting great cell phone photos to share with family and friends is editing. Post processing adjustments to your photos can take them from good to great.

For instance, you may want some help to make transparent background on photoshop. Following along with online video tutorials can help you become a pro in no time. You can learn how to transform your work for free and gain new knowledge to use for future photos.

Try out some photo editing apps and pick a favorite to use for editing your photos. You can adjust white balance, colors, saturation, and hue, as well as apply filters, effects, frames, and more.

Click here to read about my 4 favorite android photo editing apps of 2016.

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What tips do you have for taking better cell phone photos?

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

9 thoughts on “7 Tips for Taking Better Cell Phone Photos

  1. Pingback: Fun
  2. Great ideas Vanessa! Sincerely appreciate this post. One that is so obvious.. Clean the lens.. made me laugh.. as it’s often overlooked (personally I mean) Have recently seen a lot of ads for a clamp on zoom kinda thingie.. on FB.. Have you ever looked at this as an option? Sorry — will try to find the exact name.. I’ve found that it’s in my feed during last 2 weeks.. In any case.. Thanks again. Photography– a joy and a work in progress!!

  3. Great tips! I only take my phone on vacation because my “good” camera isn’t as convenient and I get great shots! And the good thing is smart phone cameras will only get better!

  4. Seriously….always keeping a steady hand when taking a picture is actually quite challenging. Or maybe it was the morning’s coffee. 😉

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