How to take great photos on your phone

5 easy to remember tips for brilliant photos on your phone.

A girl takes a picture on her smartphone

When it comes to taking better photos on your phone, there are a load of tips all over the internet that can really help you elevate your photography game, but they’re not always easy to remember or put into action without prior planning, like using a tripod or have everyone in co-ordinated clothes.  Sometimes you just have to take the shot, and that’s OK, but most of the time you’ll at least have a few seconds to make some quick adjustments to get that perfect family photo. That’s where these tips come into play, easy to learn and easier to put into practice without any extra tools. 

Find the Light to improve your phone photography

If there’s one tip you take from reading this, let it be this one. Light is the biggest single factor in how your photos will look on a phone, compact camera or a Professional DSLR. With your phone being so small, the processor ends up doing a lot of heavy lifting when there isn’t a lot of light so help it out and set your phones camera up for success. All you have to do if quickly decide where the light is coming from and have your subject at an angle towards the light, like my little friend Ron below.  By having the light at around 45 degrees from head on, it casts just enough of a shadow to create depth and add a little bit of shape to his face. Natural light from a window is always best, but where possible avoid sunshine without a little shade as it not only makes subjects squint, but also kills shadows and and makes photos look really flat. 

Change Your Perspective of your phone photos

By moving from where you may normally take a photograph from, you can yield incredible improvements in how your subject looks. The photos below of my dog, Ted, were taken just a couple of days apart, but by changing the position of the phone camera from above him to on the floor beside him made a huge difference. By getting low beside him, I can now see the light and shadow on his fur adding depth and texture as well as allowing me to have his face be the focus of the image.

Remove distractions

Space can be at a premium at home, especially if you have kids. But to help your subject pop and stand out from the rest of the photograph, try removing as many distractions as you can. If you don’t have a wall space, you can even use a door as a background at home as they are usually solid colours. 

Bring faces to the same height

When you are taking photos with more than one person in the shot, or even if you are including pets, think if there is a way to get every ones faces closer together. They don’t have to be all on the same plane horizontally, but particularly when it comes to pets and small children, either raise them up on a chair or have an adult in the frame lift them up to get the faces as close together as you can. This helps keep the focus area small and helps portray closeness between the subjects. 

Portrait mode is great for isolating the subject

While it’s not perfect, portrait mode on Android and iOS is a really great tool when used at the right times. If you can’t get that tidy background like I talked about above or you simply want to have the photograph just be about your subject, portrait mode is the mode to use. If you’ve ever seen a photograph with a out of focus (or ‘blurry’) background, this is essentially what portrait mode achieves through software rather compared to via the lens on a professional camera. 

Already maxed out your smartphone's camera potential?

If you already have mastered your phones capabilities and still want more from your family photos, it might be time to book a family photo session to get something worthy of a place on your walls at home.

 Drop me a message at (or click here), and we can start planning your perfect family photographs!

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Want to take your phone photography to the next level? Try a course on something like skillshare for in depth instruction and practical examples.