10 Tips to Better Mobile Photos

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on July 24, 2015, How To Guides

These days we’ve pretty much all got a decent camera on our smart phones, and we’re quite happy snapping away and then being able to post our pics immediately to Facebook, or download them to Dropbox, or even to email them. Mobile photography is very convenient, not just because you have instant connectivity for your pictures, but also because it means that you don’t need to carry a digital camera around with you at all times. And the good news is that mobile cameras are improving all the time, there’s no need to worry about picture quality with some of today’s top phones. Well, as long as you’re taking pictures properly, that is. If you want to get the best out of your phone’s camera, then we’re here with ten tips that are going to make your pics absolutely stunning, so read on!

1. Don’t Zoom…

Unless you’ve got a real top end phone that’s offering you optical zoom (where the lens itself moves closer to the focus of your picture) then avoid using zoom on your mobile phone at all. Why? Because you’re simply cropping the picture, not getting better quality. If you’re not getting the detail that you want then simply move closer or further away from what you’re photographing, rather than pinching to zoom in or out, you’ll get MUCH better pics this way, trust us.

2. Maximise Your Settings…

We’ll be the first to admit that default camera apps aren’t always quite as intuitive as they really should be, but you should take the time to learn the settings in the app that you’re using to take your pictures. Many phones these days allow you to take pictures in low, medium and high resolutions, but have low res as the default setting. Up that resolution to high, and if you’ve got HDR then switch it on. You’ll get better, clearer pics this way. Oh, and an added tip: use your default camera app for taking pics, you can edit pictures with another app later, and this will save you time when you’re actually shooting.

3. Clean Your Lens…

This is probably the simplest of our tips, and yet it’s amazing how often it’s overlooked. Your phone probably spends a fair amount of time in your bag or pocket and that means that the camera lens is picking up dirt. Use a damp cloth or one of those special tissues for cleaning your glasses and gently wipe away dirt from the camera lens. You’ll be surprised how much lighter and clearer your pics turn out.

4. Flash is a Last Resort…

Chances are that the flash on your smart phone is pretty bad. Most are. Avoid using flash if at all possible. Work with the light around you, moving lamps if necessary, or even using the screen of another phone or a torch to illuminate your pictures, but switch off that colour bleaching awful flash or at least use it sparingly.

5. Move Yourself…

If you’re looking for truly great and artistic shots then look for a different angle. So many of us still just stand in front of what we want to shoot and take the picture. Getting down on the ground, or taking pictures from above, will add creativity to your photos, and result in pics that are more interesting to look at.
6. Be a Pro…
If you want professional looking pictures, then obviously you should be a professional, right? What does that mean? It means holding your phone with both hands, just as you would a normal camera, to get a steady shot. And it means shooting and shooting and shooting. If you watch pro photographers you’ll notice that they take tens, sometimes hundreds, of shots of the same thing and then go back and choose the best later. Statistically, this gives you more chance of getting the picture you want. You can always delete the extras.

7. Frame and Focus…

Composition and clarity are the two things that really make a picture. Look at what you’re planning to shoot and make sure that there is good composition, you capture a focus (your subject) as well as foreground and background. Then make sure that your camera focusses properly on your subject. With most camera phones that’s as simple as touching the screen over the subject, and your camera will then automatically focus giving you a clear shot.

8. Go Manual…

Phone cameras are very automatic, but if you want truly great pictures then you’re going to want to be able to manually adjust certain settings. There are apps that will allow you to do this, but it’s going to be a bit of a steep learning curve. Don’t be afraid to experiment though until you find out which settings change your pictures in which ways. It’s a rare great picture that’s taken with automatic settings…

9. Turn on Grid Settings…

Nearly every camera app will have a setting that allows you to superimpose a grid over the screen, so switch it on! The grid will allow you to see with a picture is straight or not, as well as making the composition of your shot easier. Most photographers use the rule of thirds, where you divide the screen horizontally into three then vertically into three. Placing your subject on one of these “third” lines will make your photo look more balanced and more professional.

10. Practice….

Finally, just like with anything else, practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to take great looking pictures if you only use your camera once every couple of months. If you’re intent on getting awesome photos, then you need to take as many pictures as you can, allowing yourself the time to learn the settings on your camera app as well as to gain experience in what makes a picture look great.

There are tons of resources that will teach you how to take better picture, and these are just ten of the most basic mobile photography tips. But using these will get you started, and once you’ve got