Perfecting Photography With Your Smartphone

Apr 18, 2018 by Lisa Scarpa
10 MIN

Here are 10 tips to capturing great photos with your smartphone. Rest assured we will not talk about any mechanics, only the easiest way for you to capture what you want, when you want, the way you want. Zero experience in photography will be just fine!


1 - Find the best angle

It may seem simple, but to perfect a photo, it is necessary to think of the distance and the height of your objective compared to your subject. The composition of a scene can change completely if the angle is well understood. Feel free to change perspective and do a lot of testing. If you're not happy with the images you see on your screen, take photos at a lower angle, or higher, and move up to find the most flattering angle.

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And here is a video of Emil Parkaklis on how to find the best angle with your iPhone:

Video Credit: YouTube Channel EmilPakarklis


2 - Learn to play with your flash

Flash makes all the difference when it comes to making beautiful photographs, including food. To master it, however,  you must think of some crucial details. Since the flash can crush the colors of your dishes, do not overdo it, otherwise, it could reflect on dishes or food, and make it all unsightly. Also, remember that the flash is only powerful the closer you re to the subject. In this case, your background will look darker. If you take a picture during the day, the flash is a significant asset because, in full sun, it can erase the shadows.

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3 - The Blur Effect

The soft-focus, a trademark of renowned photographer David Hamilton, brings depth to photos. When it is mastered, it allows you to drown certain details to highlight the element of your choice. In addition to erasing the small defects of an image, it gives it a mysterious charm. This technique is ideal when it comes to taking portraits. Thanks to the motion stabilization feature nowadays practically all smartphones, you can manually direct the focus of your shot, directly from your screen.

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4 - More sharpness with the optical stabilizer

If your goal is not to create a soft-focus, use the tripod. Nothing worse than quakes to cause an untimely blur on your photos. Bonus: the tripod also allows selfies without hands. And there is for all smartphone models!

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If you're looking for more information on smartphone tripods, check out The Wirecutter! 

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5 - Photo composition using the grid function

The grid function uses the rule of thirds, essential in the visual arts. By activating it, the screen of your smartphone will be divided according to a grid in nine parts which will allow you to better focus the elements of your choice. To do this, you simply need to place the areas you want to highlight the intersections of the lines. There you go!

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Image Credit: Madame Oreille

6 - Do not underestimate the power of the reflector

Shadows and lights can greatly affect the rendering of the photos you take. If you point a reflective surface such as a reflective panel at your subject, subtle reflections will appear on your photo and instantly give the impression that it has been retouched. On the Internet, this kind of accessory is available at an affordable price.  Alternatively, you can use aluminum materials to achieve a silver and bright effect in your portraits.


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7 - Take breathtaking shots while mastering the lines

In photography, straight lines are often associated with masculinity, while curved S-lines give off more softness and femininity. When taking pictures of dishes with your iPhone, for example, use photos that have curves to create a more appealing and less direct effect. This also applies to portraits. A person who stands straight will appear stiff and frozen while a model who poses by forming curves with his or her body will appear more moving and more refined.


Image Credit: Mango Street Youtube Channel

8 - Secrets to successful selfies

You have probably already triggered your front camera inadvertently and uttered a cry of horror when witnessing your reflection appear in full screen. It’s happened to the best of us.

The golden rule in taking a selfie is mastering your angles. By taking an example from the Kardashian sisters, try to avoid dark backgrounds and look for sources of natural light. For a professional shooting effect, place your smartphone far enough from you, so that your shoulders and arms are visible so that no one is able to detect that you are taking the picture. With these tips, for sure, you will become the king/queen of self-portrait!

Image Credit: Recode


9 - Using mini accessories to unleash the power of your lens

Mini-binoculars, manual filters, fish-eyes lenses... There are plenty of ways to express your creativity. Even a drop of water can have an incredible effect on your photos: if you place a very small drop of water on your lens, fine enough so that it does not run, you will easily get a magnifying effect. For an "underwater" effect, it is also possible to put your smartphone in a glass to protect it from the water when you immerse it. Be careful not to drown your iPhone! Also keep in mind that a spotless lens is the key to taking beautiful, always sharp photos.

Image Credit: Digital Trends


10 - Apps that instantly retouch your photos

Today, the iPhone has the HDR mode (high dynamic range) that allows you to take 3 pictures in a burst with different levels of exposure, and merge them to get the best shot. This tool, which prevents you to go through the retouching box, is very useful, but the post-production is undoubtedly your best ally for successful photos. There are hundreds of photo editing apps. Among the most practical we can mention VSCO Cam, which offers a wide choice of filter pack, free and paid, which are available under several themes. Also, apps that work wonders are Lenka, which is dedicated to black and white editing; and Manual, which provides better control over focus, exposure, and sensitivity.

Image Credit: VSCO

Image Credit: TNW

Image Credit: Apple Store

Now that you have all the right ingredients to cook up beautiful photos using your smartphone, remember that the key is to take your time and do a lot of tests. You do not become a pro by taking photographs quickly!

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