These days, technology makes it possible for anyone to take amazing photos with nothing more than their smartphone. After all, it’s not the camera itself that defines the photographer, but rather the skills that they possess. In this article, we’ll give you five phone photography tips you can learn and practice to help you shoot photos just as well as any professional.


1 – Practice the rule of thirds

Creating a balanced photo where all the elements work together in harmony can be tricky to achieve. One way to do this is by thinking about the composition of the picture, which simply refers to the arrangement of the different objects present in the scene.

For amateur photographers, a good rule to follow is the rule of thirds. Essentially, the rule entails mentally dividing the shot into a three-by-three grid separated by vertical and horizontal lines. By placing important elements of the scene along those lines or where they intersect, you can achieve a shot that’s pleasing to the eye.

A good way to start practising this is by placing linear features, such as the horizon, on one of the lines. You can set your camera to display gridlines to make it easier for you. Keep in mind, however, that the rule of thirds isn’t the only rule that you can apply in composing good photos. Once you get the hang of it, you can start experimenting with other, more advanced methods.

Smartphone photography rule of thirds

2 – Hone in on your subject

Practically any photo you take will require some sort of subject or focal point to draw in the viewer’s eye. Without one, a photo will just look mediocre and uninteresting. The good news is that your subject can be whatever you want it to be. However, you should try to limit your subject to just one area of the photo, or you risk adding too much clutter to the scene.

Take advantage of your camera’s built-in autofocus feature to really bring out the details of your subject. Some phone cameras can automatically add a slight blur, called a bokeh effect, to the background to further enhance your subject.

3 – Pay attention to the light

Lighting is another key ingredient to taking amazing photos. Not only does it illuminate scenes, but light, as well as the shadows it casts, can have a huge effect on the overall mood and visual impact of your photograph. 

Use readily available light sources when taking photos. When shooting in the daytime, nothing beats the natural light given off by the sun. Try to time your photos during the golden hours early in the morning and late afternoon. This is when the sun is low and not too intense, allowing for long, soft shadows, and richer colours.

On the other hand, nighttime photography can be a lot more difficult. You’ll have to be a bit more creative and rely on other sources of light when it’s dark. Just try to avoid using your camera’s flash, as it can be too harsh and make your photos look washed out.

4 – Learn to edit

Your phone’s camera app is likely to have editing tools built right into the software. These are a lot of fun to use and can transform an average photograph into a stunning one. Even professional photographers use tools to edit their photos, so it would be a good idea for you to learn how to use these tools to their full potential.

For starters, practice how to crop and straighten your photos properly. Doing so can lead to better composition by adjusting how objects are arranged in the scene. You can also tinker around with the brightness, saturation, contrast, and colour temperature levels to achieve a more visually-pleasing photograph. A little bit goes a long way, so try not to overdo it, or you’ll end up with unnatural pictures.

5 – Try out different lenses

Finally, you can also play around with various clip-on lenses that can completely alter the look of your photos. These can come in several varieties like wide-angle, fish-eye, and macro lenses and they’re extremely easy to use. Just snap them onto your phone, and you’ll be able to take photos you wouldn’t normally be able to with just your phone.

Taking eye-catching pictures is not at all difficult, but it’s definitely not something that comes naturally to everyone. It takes a good grasp of basic photography rules and proper use of the tools that are available to truly shine. We hope these tips put you on the right track. Remember, it takes a lot of practice to develop your skills, so take plenty of photos, and you’ll eventually get better at it.

If you’re looking for more phone photography tips, get in touch with us for our half-day photography course in London

Kav Dadfar is a travel photographer and author of almost 400 articles on photography. He has years of experience shooting assignments and his images having been used by some of the biggest brands in the world.

This phone photography tips article and images are subject to copyright. Words and photos by Kav Dadfar (That Wild Idea). Copying or reposting of photos or article elsewhere is strictly forbidden. Please contact us if you would like to use this feature on your website