How to take good photos with a phone

10 tips to take stunning photos with a phone, including understanding composition, using natural light, and editing for better results.

Gone are the days when you needed a fancy camera to take great photos. With the rise of smartphone cameras, it’s easier than ever to capture stunning images right from your pocket. But just because you have a high-quality camera on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll automatically take amazing photos. It takes some practice and a bit of know-how to get the most out of your phone’s camera.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll go over some basic tips and tricks for taking great photos with your phone. From understanding the basics of composition to using natural light to your advantage, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also talk about editing your photos and getting creative with camera apps and accessories. So put down that DSLR (for now) and let’s start taking some amazing photos with your phone!

Choose the right phone camera settings.

Sure! Here is some more information on choosing the right phone camera settings:

When it comes to taking good photos with your phone, choosing the right camera settings can make a big difference. Here are a few things to consider when adjusting your phone’s camera settings:

  • Resolution and image format: Most phone cameras allow you to choose the resolution and image format of your photos. A higher resolution means that your photos will have more detail, but they will also take up more space on your phone. If you’re planning on printing your photos or displaying them on a high-resolution screen, choose a higher resolution. If you just want to share your photos online or via text, a lower resolution will do just fine. As for image format, JPEG is the most common and works well for most purposes. However, some phones also offer the option to save images in a RAW format, which provides more flexibility when editing but also takes up more space.
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range): If you’re taking photos of a scene with a wide range of tones, such as a landscape with both bright skies and dark shadows, HDR can help balance the exposure. When HDR is turned on, the camera takes multiple exposures at different exposures and combines them into a single image. This can result in more detail and better overall exposure. Just keep in mind that HDR can take a bit longer to process and may not work well for fast-moving subjects.
  • White balance: Different lighting conditions can affect the color temperature of your photos. For example, photos taken under a warm light (such as a candle or a sunset) may have a yellow or orange cast, while photos taken under cool light (such as a cloudy sky or a fluorescent bulb) may have a blue cast. You can adjust the white balance setting to match the lighting conditions and ensure that your photos look natural. Most phone cameras have several white balance options to choose from, such as “auto,” “daylight,” “cloudy,” and “tungsten.”
  • Grid lines: Using the rule of thirds is a basic principle of composition that can help you take more balanced and visually appealing photos. By dividing the frame into a 3×3 grid, you can place your subject along the lines or at the intersections to create a sense of movement and tension. Most phone cameras have an option to turn on grid lines, which can be a helpful visual aid as you compose your shots.

Understand the basics of composition

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Composition refers to the way elements in a scene are arranged within the frame of a photograph. It’s one of the most important aspects of photography and can make or break a photo. Here are a few basic principles of composition to keep in mind as you take photos with your phone:

  • Rule of thirds: As mentioned earlier, the rule of thirds is a basic principle of composition that involves dividing the frame into a 3×3 grid and placing your subject along the lines or at the intersections. This can create a sense of balance and tension and draw the viewer’s eye to the most important part of the photo.
  • Angles and perspectives: The angle and perspective you choose can have a big impact on the mood and feel of your photos. For example, shooting from a low angle can make your subject look powerful or dominant, while shooting from a high angle can make them look small or vulnerable. Similarly, shooting from a close-up perspective can create intimacy, while shooting from a wide angle can give a sense of place. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to see what works best for your subject.
  • Leading lines: Leading lines are visual elements in a scene that lead the viewer’s eye towards the subject. These could be natural lines like roads, fences, or rivers, or they could be man-made lines like buildings or bridges. Leading lines can help create depth and movement in a photo and draw the viewer’s attention to the main subject.
  • Fill the frame: Sometimes, less is more when it comes to composition. Filling the frame with your subject can create a strong, impactful image that leaves no room for distractions. This works particularly well for portraits and close-up shots. Just be careful not to cut off any important parts of your subject.

Use natural light to your advantage.

Natural light can be a photographer’s best friend. It’s soft, warm, and free and can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos. Here are a few tips for using natural light to your advantage when taking photos with your phone:

  • Avoid using flash: Flash can be harsh and unflattering, and it’s often not powerful enough to light a scene properly. Instead, try to use natural light as much as possible. If the light is too low, consider using a tripod or other stabilizing device to help keep the camera steady for longer exposures.
  • Shoot during the golden hour: The golden hour is the time around sunrise and sunset when the light is warm and soft. This is a great time to take photos, as the low angle of the sun creates long shadows and adds depth to your images.
  • Use backlighting: Backlighting occurs when the light source is behind your subject. This can create a beautiful halo effect around your subject and add interest to your photos. Just be careful not to overexpose the image, as the camera may struggle to expose the scene properly.

Edit your photos for better results

So you’ve taken a great photo with your phone, but it’s not quite perfect yet. Don’t worry, that’s where editing comes in! With the right tools and techniques, you can turn a good photo into a great one. Here are a few tips for editing your photos for better results:

  • Adjust exposure, contrast, and saturation: Exposure refers to the amount of light in a photo, contrast refers to the difference between the light and dark areas, and saturation refers to the intensity of the colors. By adjusting these three elements, you can fine-tune the overall look and feel of your photo. For example, increasing the exposure can make a dark photo brighter, increasing the contrast can make the colors pop, and increasing the saturation can make the colors more vibrant.
  • Use cropping and straightening tools: Cropping can be used to remove distractions or improve the composition of your photo, while straightening can help fix crooked horizons or converging lines. Most phone photo editors have these tools built-in, so it’s easy to make these adjustments. Just be careful not to crop out any important parts of the photo.
  • Remove distractions and blemishes: If there are blemishes or distractions in your photo that you want to remove, you can use the clone or healing tool to do so. The clone tool allows you to copy a section of the photo and paste it over another part, while the healing tool automatically blends the copied area with the surrounding pixels. These tools can be a lifesaver when it comes to removing unwanted elements from your photos.

Get creative with camera apps and accessories.

Your phone’s built-in camera is great for most purposes, but sometimes you might want to try something a little different. That’s where camera apps and accessories come in! Here are a few ideas for getting creative with your phone’s camera:

  • Experiment with different camera apps: There are plenty of camera apps available that offer advanced features and creative options beyond what your phone’s built-in camera offers. Some apps allow you to manually adjust focus, exposure, and white balance, while others offer filters, overlays, and special effects. Try out a few different camera apps to see which ones you like best.
  • Use lenses and filters: External lenses and filters can change the look and feel of your photos in interesting ways. For example, a wide-angle lens can allow you to capture more of the scene, while a telephoto lens can bring distant subjects closer. Filters, such as polarizers or neutral density filters, can change the way light interacts with your camera’s lens and create different effects. There are a wide variety of lenses and filters available for phone cameras, so have fun experimenting with different options.
  • Try using a tripod or other stabilizing device: A tripod or other stabilizing device can help you take sharper photos, particularly in low light or when using a long exposure. This can be especially helpful when using a telephoto lens or shooting with a slow shutter speed. Some tripods even have phone mounts specifically designed for phone cameras, so you can easily attach your phone to the tripod.

Practice, practice, practice!

They say that practice makes perfect, and this is certainly true when it comes to photography. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with your phone’s camera and the more confident you’ll be in your skills. Here are a few tips for practicing your phone photography skills:

  • Experiment with different subjects and settings: One of the best ways to practice is to take photos of anything and everything simply. This can be a great opportunity to experiment with different subjects and settings to see what works best for you. Try shooting portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and action shots, and see what you like best.
  • Take photos in different lighting conditions and locations: Lighting can have a big impact on the look and feel of a photo, so it’s important to practice shooting in different lighting conditions. This can include shooting in bright sunlight, overcast skies, and low light. Similarly, shooting in different locations can help you learn how to adapt to new environments and find interesting subjects to photograph.
  • Review and critique your photos: After you’ve taken a bunch of photos, take some time to review and critique them. Look at what works and what doesn’t, and think about how you can improve in the future. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but be honest and try to learn from your mistakes.

Take advantage of burst mode.

Burst mode is a feature that allows you to take multiple photos in quick succession by holding down the camera shutter button. This can be especially useful for capturing fast-moving subjects or fleeting moments. Here are a few tips for using burst mode effectively:

  • Hold down the shutter button: To use burst mode, simply hold down the camera shutter button while you’re taking a photo. The camera will take multiple shots in rapid succession until you release the button.
  • Choose the best photos: After you’ve taken a burst of photos, you’ll need to choose the best ones to keep. Most phone photo editors have a burst mode feature that allows you to easily scroll through the photos and select the ones you want to keep.
  • Edit and share your photos: Once you’ve chosen your favorite photos from the burst, you can edit and share them just like you would any other photo. Some photo editors even have features specifically designed for burst mode, such as the ability to create a collage or an animated GIF.

Use the self-timer or a remote shutter release.

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The self-timer and a remote shutter release are two useful features that can help you take better photos with your phone. Here’s how they work:

  • Self-timer: Most phone cameras have a self-timer feature that allows you to set a delay before the camera takes a photo. This can be helpful if you want to take a photo of yourself or a group of people and don’t want to fumble with the camera button. To use the self-timer, simply set the delay (usually 3 or 10 seconds) and then press the shutter button. The camera will count down and then take the photo.
  • Remote shutter release: A remote shutter release is a device that allows you to take photos without touching the phone itself. This can be especially helpful if you’re using a tripod or trying to minimize camera shake. There are several types of remote shutter releases available, including wired and wireless options. Some even work with Bluetooth or WiFi, allowing you to control the camera from a distance.

Get close to your subject.

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Getting close to your subject can be a powerful way to take more interesting and engaging photos. Here are a few tips for getting close to your subject with your phone camera:

  • Use the zoom feature: Most phone cameras have a zoom feature that allows you to get closer to your subject without physically moving closer. This can be a convenient way to get closer to your subject, but keep in mind
  • that using the digital zoom on your phone can result in a loss of image quality. If possible, try to physically move closer to your subject rather than relying on the zoom feature.
  • Use a telephoto lens: If you want to get closer to your subject without physically moving, a telephoto lens can be a great option. These lenses are designed to bring distant subjects closer and can be a helpful tool for capturing close-up shots.
  • Get creative with your composition: Sometimes, simply changing your composition can make a big difference. Try getting closer to your subject and filling the frame with the most interesting or important parts of the scene. This can create a more intimate and impactful image.

Experiment with portrait mode.

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Portrait mode is a camera feature that allows you to take photos with a blurred background, also known as bokeh. This can be a great way to create a more professional look and draw attention to your subject. Here are a few tips for using portrait mode effectively:

  • Choose the right lighting: Portrait mode works best when the lighting is good and the subject is well-lit. Try to avoid shooting in harsh sunlight or very low light, as these conditions can make it difficult for the camera to create a good bokeh effect.
  • Position your subject correctly: To get the best results from portrait mode, it’s important to position your subject correctly. Try to get your subject to stand or sit a few feet in front of a plain background, and ensure they are well-lit.
  • Experiment with the depth of field: Most portrait mode cameras allow you to adjust the depth of field, or the amount of bokeh in the photo. Experiment with different settings to see what looks best for your subject and background.


In conclusion, taking good photos with your phone is all about understanding the camera’s capabilities and learning how to use them effectively. By following these tips and practicing regularly, you’ll be well on your way to taking beautiful, professional-looking photos with your phone. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things; remember to have fun! With a little bit of creativity and effort, you’ll be amazed at the great photos you can capture with your phone.

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