• Josiah Sansone

3 Tips to Improve Your Mobile Photography

Updated: Feb 21, 2019


So, you have that fancy new iPhone and you're dying to use the camera and get some fly pics. Understandable. For some reason though, your pics are constantly blurry, dark, or just boring. We've all been there, and instead of having a great picture to show off your new mug or piece of art, you just have to use your words really well and describe it. Well, here my 3 tips to getting better photos from your phone.

The best way to get good photos from your phone sums itself up in one rule: control what you can control. There are a lot of things you can't control with your phone, that you could with a camera, so be incredible at controlling the things you can.

1. Lighting

The first tip to taking good photos comes from controlling your lighting. A lot of times we just whip our phones out and expect them to handle whatever lies in front of them. We give them a little more credit than they deserve.

Controlling your lighting is as simple as dragging a lamp over and shining it on your subject, making it stand out a little bit and making sure all the important parts are visible. I took some example photos from my iPhone X of one of my favorite mugs. I took these using portrait mode:

The first photo is dark, discolored, and bland. The second photo is well lit, has cinematic lighting, good colors, and stands out. I achieved this by dragging a light over and turning it on. That was it.

2. Composition

Now that your photo is properly "lit," it's time to bring feeling into the photo by controlling the composition.

The first photo here looks more interesting because the mug sits in front of the Christmas lights causing some nice color in the blurry background (aka "bokeh"). This is not BAD composition because the subject draws your attention.

The second photo, while similar to the first, adds depth and gives more context to the photo by placing it in the bottom left corner of the photo. This composition better portrays the context of the image while pulling your eye to the mug still.

Lastly, by placing the camera in the blurry background of the photo and keeping the mug in the foreground, you can evoke the feeling of "wow, whoever owns this mug really is a photographer" without stealing all the attention from the subject of the mug.

3. Editing

Finally, we come to one of my personal favorites: editing! Editing allows you to control things you may not have been able to control with your first take AND allows you to add your own artistic style. Editing should NOT draw away from the feeling of the photo. There are many FREE ways you can edit photos straight on your phone:

1. Lightroom (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-lightroom-cc/id878783582?mt=8)

2. Snapseed (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snapseed/id439438619?mt=8)

3. VSCO (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vsco/id588013838?mt=8)

There are more apps to use but these are ones I have experience with, Lightroom being my favorite and the one I use now.

As you can see, my edit does not completely change how the photo looks. In the third photo, the edit took me 1 min. and 38 seconds! Simple but useful. By increasing the contrast and exposure, decreasing the saturation, and adding some clarity I brought out the subject from the background even more.

I hope that these tips will help you up your phone photo game. Remember to control what you can control: lighting, composition, and editing!

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