How to Take Good Pictures with Your Phone

Now that we all carry cameras around in our pockets and purses, it's easier than ever to capture magical family moments, scenic views and even that beautiful stack of pancakes at your favorite brunch spot. But sometimes you want to elevate your phone photography. We can help you figure out how to take good pictures with your phone, from landscapes to portraits, there are tips and tricks anyone can use. Even award-winning professional photographers occasionally end up capturing important shots with their phones rather than their cameras— it's simply closer to hand sometimes. Level up your photography skills with some general tips as well as our Android and iPhone camera tips.

General Photography Tips

Taking good pictures with your phone isn't just about the features. These tips will help you take better photos regardless of what type of device you have.

Steady support

If you want the crispest picture, your best bet is to steady your phone. You don't have to lug a tripod around with you (although some designs are small, lightweight, and can attach to a variety of surfaces, so it isn't that hard to do anymore). Just prop your camera on a table, shelf, or even steady it on a chair back as you hold it. Sitting down or kneeling can help decrease the risk of wobbles, too.

Take photo bursts

You can use the burst setting on your phone to get a series of cool action shots. Even if you don't use this setting, taking a series of pictures in a row is a good way to make sure everyone has their eyes open and that no one/nothing photobombed your shot. It's a great way to take candid shots of people: taking a bunch of photos in a row will help you grab the ones with the best expressions and postures.

Rule of thirds

Think of the field of your camera as a grid with 9 boxes. The subject of your shot, whether it's a person, animal or landscape, should line up in some way with either the lines or the intersections on the grid. For example, the horizon of a landscape could line up with the line marking the bottom third of the photo. If you're taking a picture of your friend in front of the Grand Canyon, consider lining them up with one of the vertical lines rather than plopping her in the middle. There are lots of ways to frame a shot, but the rule of thirds can help give you some ideas in the moment, especially as your phone may have a grid overlay setting in the camera app already.

iPhone Camera Tips

If you have an iPhone you'll be able to access your camera even when you're in other apps. This is great for when you suddenly spot the perfect shot on the go. Many iPhones have different camera modes that can help you optimize shots: Photo, Square, Portrait, Pano, Video, Time Lapse and Slo-Mo. Portrait, for example, will blur the background so that your lovely subject stands out even more (this mode might only be available on certain iPhone models). iPhone cameras will allow you to edit your photos' lighting to get the best look, this can help you adjust your exposure as well as help you set the focus for precise shots. Make sure to lock the focus and exposure for action shots, as the camera might otherwise re-focus on things that move within the frame.

Android Camera Tips

Each Android has different features, so our main tip here is that you should familiarize yourself with them. When you get a new device, take the time to read the camera section of the manual, or search for tutorials online. Experiment with your camera's settings for shutter speed, white balance, HDR and more. Don't forget not to use zoom when you're trying to capture something more artistic rather than meme-worthy. It can make your picture look blurry and low res. Similarly, selfie-mode won't be as high resolution as the actual camera lens on the back of your phone.

Remember that many phones make the camera accessible without unlocking. This is helpful when time is of the essence and you only have a few seconds to get the shot. Whether you're using an Android or iPhone, it's easier than ever to take great pictures you'll cherish. For more tips, phone hacks and useful information, check out the rest of our blog.

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