beginner guide to photography

Phone Photography 101: Tips for getting better photos from your phone

Our cellphones have come a long way in the past 10 or so years. Before there was no question on which piece of photography equipment took a better photo (DSLR or Phone). Today it is a little harder to figure out if a photo was taken from a smartphone or DSLR. 

Just because you own the newest phone doesn’t mean you can take amazing photos without a little knowhow. Just like owning the most expensive camera out there won’t make you the best photographer. Just because you have it doesn’t mean it makes you great. 

You need to learn how to use it the right way and the wrong way. Below you will find our tips for getting better photos with your phone. While you can follow tips that are for DSLR users. These tips are designed for photographers who use their phones. 

Don’t use zoom

Your phone’s zoom feature is CRAP. Don’t use it. Smartphones use a digital zoom rather than an optical zoom. If you want to zoom in on something while out shooting with your phone. You need to do it the old fashion way. 

You need to walk and get closer to the subject. Or you can crop the photo once it is taken. Either one is better than using the zoom on your phone. Now if you have a newer phone you can use the different “lenses” that they have. My Galaxy S10 has 3 different focal lengths to pick from. If one is too far. I can select a different lens so I can get closer. Or I just start walking to get a little closer. 

Use grid lines

If you are just starting out, be sure to turn on the grid lines on your phone. It will help you follow the “rule of thirds” rule in photography. The rule of thirds is where your image is split into nine different squares of equal size. 

Your goal when using the rule of thirds is to have your subject or most interesting part of your image on one of the four corners or as close as possible to one of them. Having the grid lines turned on will also help you make sure your horizon is straight.

To turn on the grid lines with a galaxy phone, turn on the camera app, go to settings, and scroll down to grid lines and switch it on. 

For iPhones you have to go to settings and pick “Photos & Camera” and switch the grid to on. 

Don’t use flash

The flash on your phone is crap. Don’t use it at all. Just turn it off. If you really need to use the flash on your photo, it won’t come out good anyway. 

Clean your phone’s lens

This is one of the most overlooked things for us to do and it is simple. Just cleaning off your lens can help improve the quality of your photos. It’s really that simple.

Our phones are always going in and out of our pockets. We usually don’t think or even care where our fingers go. Just grab a cloth and wipe down those fingerprints, dust, dirt, or whatever else you have on the lens. 

Use manual settings

Did you know that you can use your phone’s camera on the manual setting? It’s true you can adjust some of the different settings and not have to use auto for everything. On a Galaxy S10 it is called PRO.

You can adjust the shutter speed and ISO. You can even switch the aperture between f1.5 and f2.4. Sometimes the auto setting is the most ideal thing to use when it comes to taking pictures on your phone. At other times it is best to manually adjust the settings to come up with the best results.


Do you have any tips you can add? Is there something you did that helped improve your phone photography? Let us know in the comments below. 

It doesn’t matter if you have the latest Iphone or Samsung. You can apply these tips to any phone you are using and they will help improve the quality of photos you are taking.

Still trying to absorb as much photography knowledge as you can? Check out our post about Photography terms you need to know. Or check out our photography starting guide. Photography is a fun hobby that can get you back out in nature and exploring the world around you from many different angles. 

As always, please remember to follow us on our different social media accounts. It helps you so you know when our next post goes live. You never know what the next guide might be about. Don’t forget to follow our travel board on Pinterest for all your travel needs.

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