Tips for taking better pictures with your phone


Jason Perez

Taken in South Korea with an iPhone 6 HDR setting. The simplest tools can make for great images.

By Jason Perez, Staff Writer

Everyone wants to be a photographer now, and with pretty decent cameras on most smartphones, why wouldn’t they? But with all these photographers out there producing too many selfies and over-filtered photos, maybe it’s time to stop and learn a few quick lessons on how to be an actual photographer. These phones have been updated to take better images, but some people might not be using the technology to its full potential. Everyone has the potential of becoming an amazing photographer no matter the equipment. Here are some tips that will hopefully help phone photographers take the perfect shot. 

1. Stop putting yourself in every photo

This one is simple. To take beautiful photos, please take your beautiful self out of them. The perfect image does not include yourself but what you see.

2.No digital zoom

There might be a time where a bird lands on top of a tree and you really wanna take that shot. Don’t. Digital zooming just creates more pixels and looks very distorted. There will be other chances to get that bird, but digital zoom is not the way. It becomes increasingly more difficult to hold the phone steady when you are zoomed in. If you would like to zoom, an option is to take the image first and get a higher quality image, then enhance the image after. It won’t be perfect, but it’s better than digital zoom.  

3.Horizontal images

Also known as landscape, horizontal images are a bit more appealing to the eyes, computer, and TV. Unless you are doing pure portraits of people, vertical photography should be avoided with the camera phones. There is more you can capture by shooting landscape. An example could be a subject in clear focus and a beautiful mountain in the back. There is more to fill in with a landscape style of shooting.

4.Use Lightroom App

There are alternatives to using filters on Instagram. The filters on there either make the image orange or blue. One alternative app for photo editing is Lightroom, which is highly used among photographers and has a simple function that can enhance shadows or highlights of the image. The more you play with it, the better images turn out. The easiest way to learn is to practice, there are multiple settings that this app has to offer. If you’re feeling like a pro, another app you could try it Photoshop Express. This app has more settings you could use to enhance your photos, but it is a bit difficult master.

5. Exposure

When the phone camera is taking a photo it focuses on the nearest subject. The exposure will either be over or under exposed. This can be fixed by tapping on the screen of what you want it to focus on, and where to add the most light. The problem usually lies when using people as your subject, as they might be too bright or too dark. Tap on their faces and it should adjust as needed. An easy way to remember is tap the lighter areas to darken and tap the darker areas to brighten.

When taping to light up darker areas, keep in mind that the brighter areas will become even brighter.
Jason Perez
When taping to light up darker areas, keep in mind that the brighter areas will become even brighter.

6.Do not use flash

The camera flash may seem like a good idea but then you end up with photos that are harsh. If it is possible move the subject into a well-lit area. That is the simplest way to correct harsh light. The flash is directly in front of the subject, and this can create shadows with an unpleasant haze. The haze will be more noticeable when it is darker outside. An alternative is to use natural lighting when available. If it is nighttime bring a flashlight and play with surroundings to light up the subject. A flashlight can be used to light the subject in certain areas and makes for some creative photos or just to clear up what is dark.   

7.Don’t be afraid to get dirty

There are always different angles that can be shown in one image. One perspective may be appealing, but when you get down on the ground it may change the mood of the photo. Always look at your surroundings and use them to your advantage. There are angels all over, get on top of a table and shoot from above. Get down in that dirt and shoot the sky. There are creative shots that can be taken and in a moment they will be gone. Don’t lose the moment, don’t be afraid and just shoot.

8.Take lots of photos

Always take photos. The more photos you take, the more practice you get. The more practice you get, the better your photos will come out. The better your photos come out, the more followers you get. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that Instagram fame.

In truth, always be shooting. It will help you with a trial and error as one photo may be unfocused but the one immediately after could be clear. Just keep taking photos. When you continually take photos you will eventually find your style. If that may be landscape photography or portraits, there is a style for everyone.  

9.Try HDR

HDR, also known as High-Dynamic-Range images, is the Camera RAW for phones. Although taking photos in HDR does take more memory, the photos comes out clearer with more color. Unlike the JPEG photos taken regularly in a single shot, HDR takes three consecutive shots. The exposure is increasingly better than a non-HDR photo. I know, the struggle is real when it comes to phone memory and photos, but trust me, HDR is worth it.