Phones have great cameras! Here’s how to get the most out of yours.


Gone are the days that your phone camera was just “good enough.” You can take amazing photos on your smartphone – you just need to keep a few tips in your back pocket:

1) Know your phone’s shortcuts ahead of time. iPhones and Androids have shortcuts – pressing volume buttons to snap a photo, swiping up from the lock screen to quickly enter camera mode. If you know these tricks before you need to catch a photo moment, you’re way more likely to get it before it’s gone!

2) Think about composition. When you see a great photo, the photographer has given a lot of thought to where things are at in the frame. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep things near the center, unless there’s a specific reason you want things at the edges.

3) Pay attention to your light source. This one’s important! Natural light is always your best bet, and smartphone cameras generally have trouble with high-contrast light sources. Aiming your camera directly at a light source (like the sun or a lamp) is usually not going to produce the best results. Instead, keep the light source just out of frame for softer contrast and better photos.

4) Just say NO to:

a. Digital zoom: your phone’s zoom doesn’t actually get closer to your subject. It only blows up the same image, making it lower quality!

b. Your phone’s flash: the flash on your phone almost always makes an image washed out and strange looking. If you can manage it, always use natural light.

c. Heavy handed editing: too much editing makes your image look over-manipulated. Keep things simple and they’ll turn out better.

5) Experiment with camera apps. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you can find a lot of apps for iPhone and Android that expand the phone-photo universe. Check out Manual or VSCO Cam for iPhone, or Camera FV-5 for Android.