10 Tips for Better Pictures With Your Smartphone

When I got my first mobile phone back in 1998, I thought I was special because I could play Snake on it!  Phones have come a long way since then.  Each new phone that is released has a faster processor, more memory and features which make it that much more convenient.  I remember when phones first came with cameras, that has to be plugged in.  Then the next generation had built in cameras.  The pictures were grainy and not good for much of anything, but hey, it was a camera, so it’s cool, right?

Cameras built into phones have come a LONG way since then.  Yes, different phone models give different capabilities, but overall, most phones can take a pretty amazing picture.  I always thought I had to have an expensive DSLR to take good pictures, but recently I’ve noticed that I can take just as good, if not better pictures than many people with those $500 cameras….and I’m using a Samsung Note 2.  There is one phone that I’m drooling over, the Sony Xperia  comes equipped with a 21mp camera!  It’s also waterproof…which ALWAYS comes in handy.  Waterproof is one of those things that doesn’t normally get used often, but sure will come in handy in case of an accident.

how to take better pictures with your smart phone

People are often surprised to hear I take my pictures with my phone.  They assume I’m using a DSLR.  There are several things I’ve learned that help with my photos though:

1. Make sure your lens is clean.  You might think this sounds crazy…..but you don’t know how many times I’ve taken a picture and find it to be blurry then realize there is a big ‘ol finger print across the lens.  Once I clean it off, I can take a new picture and it’s crisp and clear.

2. Natural light is your best friend.  The more natural light you can get on the object or person you are taking the picture of, the better.  Artificial lighting can often lead to a yellow haze in your pictures.

3. If your camera isn’t the greatest, download an HDR app.  There are several HDR apps out there, several for free, that will take your phone’s camera to the next level.  It will auto correct colors, help with blur and give you an overall better picture.  Currently I’m using HDR Camera + and recently downloaded Camera Awesome on Android, but I know there are many others out there.

4. Get a photo editing app.  Many of my photos are edited with an app to help pull out colors or give an overall better picture.  My favorites at the moment area Snapseed and Aviary, although there are a million out there to choose from.  Download a few, try them out and you’ll find the one that fits your style best.  This is much different from the filters (like Instagram offers) because you an adjust the brightness, ambiance, contrast, saturation, etc.

Here is an example of a picture before/after I edited it with the above apps:

20140520_194335 20140520_194335_1

You can see the picture is the same, but the second picture shows the texture and the colors more vibrantly.  It only took a few seconds with the Snapseed app to correct this picture.

5. Avoid zooming in.  This is a basic photography rule, but oh so important.  When you zoom in, your image will often times become pixelated or blurry.  If you want a specific area to be focused on, crop later, do not zoom in.

6. Disable your flash.  The flash on a smartphone, more times than not, will not help your picture in any way. The glorified LED flashlight lasts much too long and will give you pictures that are out of focus, bad color and can you say red eye?

7. Don’t be afraid of different angles.  You don’t have to take a picture of a flower straight on.  Get down, get close to it, look at it from different angles and see what would make the best picture.

8. Use your focus.  Before you snap your picture, tap on the image you want to focus on and give it a few seconds.  You will see your screen go from blurry to clear and the colors corrected right before your eyes.

9. Hold your phone still.  Sounds simple enough, but if your hands shake at all, your image will be blurry or out of focus.

10. Do not use the front camera.  The front camera is great for a quick selfie, but if you want a really good picture, you won’t get it with the front camera.  That front facing camera has a much lower resolution than the back and will not provide as high of a quality of photo.


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