Tips for Mobile Photography


Want to learn how to take great pictures on your phone? You’ll be a pro in no time following these ten tips. We can also take you on a journey through mobile photography; to your left is a series of articles that can help you in a variety of photographic situations. Regardless of how your photographic journey unfolds, take plenty of time to enjoy the view.

It’s All About the Light

Taking mobile photo at sunset
Artur Debat/Getty Images

It’s true.  It’s all about the light.

That’s what will help make a good image a great image. Check out the shadows that the sun makes on subjects. Notice the reflective light off buildings. Practice during the ‘golden hour,’ the period of time shortly after sunrise or just prior to sunset. Watch how the light from a window falls inside a room at different moments.

The smart phone is not the greatest in low light situations. It’s best to capitalize on lighting conditions your device functions under best.

Zoom With Your Feet

Man in old car taking a photo
Brad Puet

Do not ever use the zoom on your smart phone.

I think this is the first step towards taking a bad smartphone picture. If you want to zoom in on something, use your legs and move!

There is technical mumbo jumbo but all you need to know is that the zoom on mobile devices is never good.

Shake Hands, Not Your Phone

People in motion
Ekely/E+/Getty Images

Camera shake when taking pictures is very overlooked even on the large cameras. The key to fixing this is to practice how you hold your phone.

  • Hold it horizontal at all times instead of vertical. This gives you a wider frame.
  • Try burst mode when snapping pictures of moving objects.
  • Know what you will use for your shutter (either the button assigned, a software shutter button, a tripod and timer, or the volume on your headphones). The idea is to get you to a place where you take clear images with no camera shake. You’ll be happy with the result.

It’s All About the Angles, Man (and Woman)

Aerial photo of city
Brad Puet

Change your perspective on things. I recently had a student whose friend told her that changing angles on a shot is not the best practice for getting a great shot.

I beg to differ. I think changing your angles and your perspective not only gets you a better shot, it also shows how you see the subject.

So get down on the ground, climb up on a high vantage point, move to the side and change your point of view. Try as many different angles on your subject as possible.


Scientific portrait of a boy
Danielle Tunstall/Moment/Getty Images

Mobile photography is awesome because of the thousands of apps that are dedicated to the camera on smartphones.

These apps are incredibly helpful in editing your work. While you can’t correct problems like bad lighting, you can improve other details to make a subject look acne-free, sharpen specific aspects of an image or let you add interesting text or other effects over the photo.

Find your favorite, learn to use it well, and you can take your already awesome image onto the next level.

A Clean Glass is a Happy Glass

 Taken with an iPhone 4. Brad Puet

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 a sharper view and improve results.

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

Quality AND Quantity

Woman sitting in front of hat display
Brad Puet

Don’t be afraid to take another shot. Snap away at anything and everything that suits your fancy.

The important thing here is that the more photos you shoot, the more comfortable you will get and the more you will determine the direction you’d like to take your mobile photography.

The only thing holding you back is how much storage is on your phone and how long your battery can last.

Mirror, Mirror… Who’s the Fairest?

Taken with a Nokia Lumia 1020
 Man on escalator. Brad Puet

Here’s one of my favorite tips: Mirrors, glasses, puddles and bodies of water, smooth and shiny surfaces…all make for awesome reflections.

Push yourself to look for reflective surfaces and place your subjects at angles or in direct comparison to the reflection. Even simple shades of light can make amazing reflections.

It’s just fun, try it out.

Have Fun

Tattooed man in front of LA banner holding lizard
Brad Puet

This is the last and really the only rule that you should stick to.  If you don’t listen to anything I’ve given you here, “Have Fun” is the one rule that you have to promise me you will use when getting into mobile photography.

Join in photo walks held by other photographers and communities in your area.  It’s always fun when you do it with others who are learning and enjoying the art.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here