Mobile photography tips

Mobile Photography Tips – Shoot better pictures with your phone

Mobile photography tips which we are sharing will sure make your mobile pictures stand out from your other friends. Surely your mobile camera is not the best quality camera, but I always believe “The best camera is a camera you always have on you.” Follow my given mobile photography tips and you will sure see the difference in no time. So lets get started with this already.

I know what you’re thinking… “Shoot like a pro” is not something you typically associate with mobile photography. And I admit, professional photographers aren’t using their smartphones as their primary camera. But, that doesn’t mean that professionals never use their smartphones to take high-quality photos.

When you think about it, the cameras on our phones today have better resolution, more megapixels, and more robust supporting features (like in-camera panoramic and time-lapse controls) than even the most expensive cameras did few years ago. So before you think that you can’t take incredible shots with your smartphone, consider these essential mobile photography tips.

Mobile photography tips – Understand and learn your camera features

You can be good with something, only if you know how to use it properly. Now a days smartphones comes with lot of auto features, as well as so many professional features like Manual mode and HDR.

So First things first: Get to know your camera. Test out its various modes (panorama, HDR, video, etc) in different conditions – like low light, direct sun, and when your subject is moving – to see what the different modes excel at and where they fall a little short.

My default is to shoot on HDR, as the resulting shot looks more true to life in its gradation of light to dark tones and its color (counterintuitive, but there we are!). I switch over to the standard mode whenever I need to seriously increase or decrease the exposure, or in low light conditions (where the HDR mode struggles to focus).

Knowing how your camera’s different modes work will help you have more control over the final look of your shots. All it takes is a little bit of practice! And don’t forget that you can download 3rd party camera apps that can give you additional functionality.​

Mobile photography tips – Work on your composition

If your spend sometime watching good photographer’s portfolio, you will understand what they all have in common is, ” Good Composition “. What is composition, you ask? In essence, when you compose a shot, you’re choosing how to arrange the visual elements in your frame – elements like lines, shapes, colors and light. The resulting arrangement is your composition. 

Composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a work of art, as distinct from the subject of a work.


Use gridlines to balance your shot

Mobile photographyOne of the easiest and best ways to improve your mobile photos is to turn on the camera’s gridlines. That superimposes a series of lines on the screen of your smartphone’s camera that are based on the “rule of thirds” — a photographic composition principle that says an image should be broken down into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, so you have nine parts in total.

According to this theory, if you place points of interest in these intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced, level, and allow viewers to interact with it more naturally. The image on the side represents this rule with ease of understanding.

Use leading lines

Mobile photographyIn some photos, there’s a line that draws the viewer’s eye toward a certain part of the frame. Those are called leading lines. They can be straight or circulinear — think staircases, building facades, train tracks, roads, or even a path through the woods.

Leading lines are great for creating a sense of depth in an image, and can make your photo look purposefully designed — even if you just happened to come upon a really cool shape by accident.

Other than these given rules there are many other rules and elements to take into consideration. You can search on google for learning more about composition.

 Mobile photography tips – Shoot Manual

Mobile photography

If you really want to get the most of your images, learn to adjust settings such as the shutter speed, aperture and ISO.Many Android and Windows phones have a manual mode option built-in, whereas there are a plethora of apps on iOS (VSCO, Manual are some good ones) that let you do the same.

Shooting on manual mode give you full control over the exposure. So you can go out of your auto comfort zone of your camera and shoot something amazing.

 Take the time to learn when it uses high ISOs, when it uses long shutter speeds, and adjust how you take photos accordingly. It especially helps to know when the auto mode struggles, as you can then decide to override the default settings where appropriate.

 For helping you out understand them quickly, following is the relation of all these settings relative to light


– Increase the number to control/reduce the light in your images

– Decreasing this number will give you more light and better quality

– This setting also helps you with background blur but most of the mobile camera has focal lengths which does not support shallow DOF

Shutter speed

– Increase the number and you will be able to reduce the available light. Can be used to control the light in bright situations.

 – Decrease the number and you will be able to add more light to your exposure. Helps in low lighting situations. But reducing the shutter speed may add us some motion blur to your images, specially if you have shaky hands.


– Increase the number to get more light on your images

– Decreasing this number will give you less light and better quality

Other than these given two settings, there are settings like White balance and manual focusing. White balance is used for getting proper colours in your images. Good white balance can be the difference between natural colours and looking like you have alien skin and yellow teeth. The lower the light, the harder it is for your camera to guess the correct white balance, so mess with your phone’s settings to see what works best.

 Mobile photography tips – Use Good Posture

 A key method for reducing blur is knowing how to hold a smartphone camera in a stable way. Holding your arms outstretched or far away from your body can make them sway more when photographing. Moving your elbows into the sides of your body can give a bit of extra stability where needed, as can physically resting the smartphone on a stable object.

If you want perfect stability, it is possible to get a tripod attachment that you can slot your smartphone into. You’ll probably look a bit silly bringing a tripod out and about to use with your phone, but we have seen and achieved some fantastic shots with a tripod in hand. Tripods are especially useful if your smartphone camera doesn’t include blur-reducing optical image stabilisation (OIS), or if there’s a manual mode that supports long-exposure photography.

 Mobile photography tips – Take Multiple Shots

 There is plenty of storage in your smartphone, so for every shot that you want to absolutely nail, it’s worth taking several photos in quick succession. When photographing dynamic or fast-moving objects – such as people, pets, cars, etc. – taking multiple photos will allow you to choose the best shot later, without worrying about getting that one perfect image in the first take.

Better yet, many smartphones offer neat burst photography features. Most will collect a sequence of shots into a single ‘photo’ and allow you to set whichever photo from the bunch is the best shot. Some phones will even analyse the photos for you and pick out shots it thinks are the best, often looking at whether everyone is smiling, or whether the subject is in focus.

 Mobile photography tips – Never Digitally Zoom . Zoom With Your Feet 

 Digitally zooming before capturing does not allow you to reframe the image after the fact: you’re essentially losing data and reducing quality with no way backwards. Yes, the image will appear to show an image in the distance closer than it would otherwise, but you can very easily take the photo without zooming first, and then crop it afterwards. Taking the photo without zooming provides flexibility and the ability to change your mind later. It’s the best of both worlds.

 But still it is better habit not to digitally zoom your images, or crop them. Because doing this will make your image resolution very low, and thus you will end up with low quality images.

 Mobile photography tips – Capture in RAW

Shot with One Plus2 using Manual mode

For years now, DSLR users have been capturing in RAW to assist with the editing process and get the most out of their shots. Today, a small handful of smartphones support RAW capture, so if you’re serious about editing, considering switching to RAW instead of basic JPG capture.

For those wondering, RAW is an image format that captures unprocessed (raw) data from the camera. When you capture using JPG, aspects such as white balance are baked in to the final shot, and detail is lost in the compression process. The RAW format captures everything, before white balance and other parameters are set, and without lossy compression. Editing using RAW images provides the most detail, and allows you to modify things like white balance and exposure with far less quality loss relative to JPG.

While RAW is best for editing, photos captured used in this format are typically 3 to 5 times larger than their JPG counterpart. If storage space is a concern, RAW is not for you.

 Mobile photography tips – Light it Right

Mobile photography
Shot with natural available light during day time using one plus2

It’s true.  It’s all about the light.

That’s what will help make a good image a great image. Watch how the light from a window falls inside a room at different moments. Understand the light quality and direction. Shooting into the light gives you more contrast and vivid colours. Shooting against the light gives you less contrast and less saturated colours. The smart phone is not the greatest in low light situations. So best time for shooting such images is during the light is full. I prefer over casted sunlight diffused with sheer materials.

There are some particular time during the day when you can take amazing natural light images. Do your search for Golden hours, blue hours to know more about the best time for natural light shots. Click here for lighting setup for this shot and some shots from the same session using DSLR

 Mobile photography tips – Edit

The final piece of the puzzle that often stops a photo captured with a smartphone from looking truly awesome is the post-processing stage. All the detail and necessary information has been captured, but it may not look as vibrant as you were after, or as sharp, or as beautiful.

It’s easy to fix this: chuck the photo in an editing program on your computer, like Lightroom or photoshop, or even use an app on the device itself and begin playing around. After moving a few sliders and ticking a few boxes, the results might astound you and your friends.

 A Clean Glass is a Happy Glass 

It’s a simple rule of thumb. Clean the glass on your lens. Much like when you have a dirty windshield, cleaning it can give you sharper view and improve results.

A shot with a clean lens is always going to be better than a shot with your greasy thumb prints.

 " Best camera is a camera you always have on you " So keep on shooting and have fun

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Varun Patel is big name when it comes to Fashion Industry. His work has been published in magazines like FTL, Femina and many others. He also conducts Fashion Photography Workshops and shares his knowledge with other photographers. He mostly shoots Fashion and Commercial Portraits, during his free time he also likes to experiment with the conceptual editorials.

23 thoughts on “Mobile Photography Tips – Shoot better pictures with your phone”

  1. Awesomeness at its highest level. Fantastically explained. It would be now pleasure to surf FB and Whatsapp, hopefully. Great article.

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