7 ways to take better photos with your phone

Photography has never been easier than it is right now. Once upon a time we needed to buy film, take carefully planned photos, get them printed and then see how we faired with our photo-taking skills. Now we don’t even have to lug around a big camera with us, most of us have one right in our own phones.

Here are seven ways you can make the most of photos that you take with your smartphone:

Shoot something more than once

I mentioned above about using film. When we used to shoot with film we had to have a pretty good success rate, otherwise we were wasting film and money. Now we can shoot as many photos as we like without any fallout. So when you’re taking a photo of something be sure to take around five photos so that you can choose the best from the lot.

When I started shooting on my phone I’d take up to 15 photos of the same scene/object and pick the best. Now I’m down to two-three photos and it’s usually the first one I go with. Taking a few photos will help you capture the perfect photo, allow you to try different composition and better your photography skills.

Use your feet

Your phone has a zoom feature on it, doesn’t it? Forget about using it. It’ll just compromise the quality of your picture. Instead let your feet do the walking and get in closer to your object. Moving in a few metres, or even just one step can make a huge difference to your picture, and you won’t get the graininess in your picture that you would if you used the zoom.

Have fun with apps

There are loads of photography apps available to play with. They give your photos a range of different filters and fun processes. My favourite and most used apps are Camera+ and Snapseed. Camera+ has a whole host of filters that you can run over your photo for different effects (I’ve used a cross processing filter across the photo above to make the sky pop a bit more). It can also crop, add frames and more. Snapseed is best for making your photo more crisp, tweaking the lighting and allows you more control over the effects. Apps let you make an ordinary photo a little bit extraordinary.

Light is your new best friend

For the best photos possible, try to avoid using your flash where possible. Take photos using the best light source around, the sun! The light for photography is most beautiful in the early morning and late afternoon (it’s soft, gentle and doesn’t cast as many shadows as the harsh midday light).

The photo above was taken in Cairns at the end of a busy day. The scene would look completely different if the photo was taken in the middle of the day, or even in the early morning.

Remember your rule of thirds

One easy way to make your photos interesting is to play with the rule of thirds. On most phone cameras you’ll see a grid with nine boxes made from four lines (you can go to your settings on your iPhone and make the grid visible if it isn’t already). When you’re taking a photo you want the focus of your photo to sit on one of those four lines.

For example, take a look at the photo of the sugar cane field above. The top of the sugar cane sits on the bottom third of the image, and the sky fills the other two-thirds. If I’d cut the photo in half by placing the field in the middle and having the sky fill the other half, it just wouldn’t have worked as well.

Capture the moment!

Sometimes it’s all about taking a beautiful photo, and other times it’s just about capturing something to share. Photo taking should be a social experience, especially if you’re uploading your photos to a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

I uploaded this photo above, while on a Tourism Queensland trip, with the caption: They have strict rules in Tropical Queensland. Wear budgie smugglers & the octopus will get you.” It had a huge response with over 4000 likes and 225 comments. It’s not a brilliant photo, by any means – but people found it interesting and funny.

Clean the lens

This may seem really obvious, but when was the last time you did it? Don’t forget to clean the lens on your phone to get the clearest, crispest photo possible.

What techniques do you use to take awesome photos with your mobile phone? Share with us in the comments!