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3 Tips for Better Cell Phone Pictures

Everybody has one in their pocket. We use them for everything—from connecting with family and friends to banking and beyond. Sometimes we even use them for phone calls! You can take high-quality portraits and pictures with your cell phone, and use these 3 tips for cell phone pictures to transform mediocre snaps to stunning shots.

1. Zoom with Your Feet—Get Close to Your Subject

Professional photographers with thousand-dollar telephoto lenses scoff at the phrase “zoom with your feet,” but when shooting with your cell phone, get closer to your subject.

While the quality of cell phone cameras has improved exponentially over the last few years, when you’re pulling out your phone or tablet to snap a quick pic, “zoom with your feet” is still solid advice.

Using 0.5x, 2x, or 3x will still produce a good-quality photo, but anything beyond that relies on digital zoom instead of physical zoom.

Not only do you get a better quality photo, but you also get better depth of field with the camera better able to focus on your subject than the subject and the background.

2. Turn on Rule of Thirds

Most likely, the rule of thirds/grid feature is likely turned off on your phone’s camera by default. Using the grid makes it easier to see if your horizon is skewed and if your subject is placed correctly in the shot. The Rule of Thirds states that the most essential components in your shot—your subject—should be along the imaginary line vertically or horizontally leaving the other two-thirds open.

The rule of thirds is a simple tip that makes a huge difference in the composition of your photo. Giving your subject space creates a more compelling photo.

Balancing your subject with “negative space” allows your subject to look “into” the picture rather than out of the picture. Leave plenty of spacing around the photo also ensures there is space for cropping or text overlay.

3. Adjust Exposure

Phones are good at automatically getting the proper exposure, but bringing it down just a touch allows for dramatic shadow contouring in your photos.

If your photo is too bright/over-exposed, your photo will be washed out. If your photo is too dark/under-exposed, it’s impossible to see your subject.  Getting the proper exposure will create stunning photos.

Plus, when editing a photo, it’s easier to bring up the exposure than to fix an overexposed photograph.

You’ll also want to turn off your flash. Cell phone flashes just aren’t as good as a bounce flash which can better fill the background of an image. The flash on your phone can only point forward, which can wash out your subject and create harsh shadows.

Bonus Tip

Shoot in portrait mode (vertical) when the content is for social media, such as Instagram Reels or YouTube Shorts. Shoot in landscape mode (horizontal) when content is for print or website use.





Published on: November 28, 2022