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9 Expert Tips for Amazing Phone Photography

As easy as it is to just whip out a smartphone to capture a beautiful moment quickly, some pictures can leave you doubting your ability to maximize the full potential of your phone’s camera. Luckily, there are guidelines for amazing phone photography, plus a smartphone gives you the additional ability to edit and enhance pictures in an instant. We’ll explore a few of these tips and tricks to help you get started, and once you get the hang of things, it’ll be easier to distinguish your style and get a little more creative.

Even the best camera phone has what photographer and YouTuber Jamie Windsor describes as a mediocre camera, and compared to even the most basic camera lens, this may be true. The benefit of this is it almost always forces you to channel your most creative side and focus on the fundamental aspects of photography.

1. Clean Your Lens

Before you even open the camera app, make sure that the camera lens isn’t smudged with fingerprints. This may seem like a very obvious first step, but all too often we come across pictures on social media that could have looked better if that one-minute detail was taken care of. Always remember that even though pictures can be edited to remove imperfections, the camera is only as good as its lens. This rule also applies to a full-size camera.

2. Focus on a Subject  

A majority of camera phones come with standard autofocus, but sometimes the details that the camera focuses on are not what you wanted as the focal point or subject of your image. If for instance you’re sitting under a tree and you have the perfect view of the full moon at dusk, you can capture that entire scene by focusing on the moon while including the essence of the tree, so the leaves would act as the foreground of your image of the moon.

Manual focus on a smartphone camera is as simple as tapping your desired focal point and giving the phone a few milliseconds to adjust. To make the subject stand out even more, you can adjust the light by sliding the exposure bar up or down for an increase or decrease of incoming light. 

3. Remember the Golden Rule of Thirds

Another standard feature on camera phones is the option to include grid lines on your display while taking pictures. The nine blocks that appear are designed to not only help you section the image into thirds, but the lines can assist you with the alignment of the picture so you can achieve a more balanced final image.

According to, the rule of thirds is a guideline that helps to place your subject on the left or right-hand side of the image, and balance is achieved with the use of negative space.

4. Use the Best Lighting

There’s absolutely no question about it, the sun is the best source of light for photography. However, because it’s so bright and powerful, it’s important to identify the best type of natural lighting for your image. The School of Photography suggests that lighting determines not only the brightness of the picture, but it can define the mood, tone, and atmosphere of the image. 

5. Hold Your Phone like a Camera

The natural way to hold your phone is quite far off from the way a camera is held. As such, it may be beneficial to hold your phone with both hands in the landscape position to properly get a feel of and accurately frame the image. This will minimize shaking, and Jamie Windsor suggests that it’ll get you into the composition mind space of photography, especially if you’re used to taking pictures with an actual camera.

6. Take Multiple Shots

Sometimes you need to see an image in order to understand what needs to be improved in your next shot, so don’t be scared to take a ridiculous amount of pictures. Capture more shots than you need, and then employ the process of elimination as you decide which shots on the camera roll are worth keeping. 

7. Make Stills with Movement

Burst mode is a feature that lets you capture a series of images very rapidly by simply holding the shutter button instead of pressing it just once. Because the images are captured at a rapid speed, it’s the ideal tool for capturing stills of moving subjects. The images that are captured are the equivalent of a video that’s broken into multiple frames, ensuring that you don’t miss the crucial moments of a performance.

8. Make Artificial Adjustments

Photo editing apps have honestly made capturing images with your smartphone more enjoyable because even an image that’s less than perfect can be enhanced to make it the perfect shot. For minor adjustments like lighting and color, there are apps like Adobe Lightroom and Instagram that can add a minimalistic and natural-looking filter to pictures

9. Practice

Photography is a type of art, so even though there are basic rules to follow for the best results, it’s a creative process that requires patience and practice. Capture images over and over again until you’ve established a photography style that works for you, and does the best job of showing the world from your perspective. There is no right or wrong way to create art

Make Timeless Memories

Arguably, the best part about phone photography is the fact that they’re always readily available for you to access on the cloud. There is absolutely no limit to how many pictures you can take on your phone, so there’s always room to make memories. Do you have personal phone photography hacks that make capturing memories all the more pleasurable for you? Share them with us on the Heyup community page and see how other photographers create beautiful images using their smartphones.