How to Take Great Photos on Your Smart Phone

There are a zillion camera options on the market today. And yes, there are some specifications that lend themselves to beautiful photographs, but the best camera right now is the one you have! I truly believe we can use the cameras on our phones to take beautiful portraits of our kids, families, pets or whatever else might be special and meaningful to you.


Here are some of my top tips on how to take great photos on your smart phone!


1. Use your phone's built in camera; don't shoot in photo-related apps. I've found that my camera app works the best in terms of clarity and focus.

2. Clean your lens! I often have finger prints or make up or who knows what else smudged on my camera lens, and this means a blurry or "smoky" looking haze on my photos.

3. Turn off artificial light. The light spectrum, or white balance, runs from cool/blue to warm/yellow. Artificial light pulls yellow, so I prefer to turn it off and utilize natural light, even if the natural light is a bit cool. If there's a situation where I use artificial light... I'll likely convert it to black and white.

4. Experiment with exposure (light and dark based on how much light your lens picks up) by tapping different places on your screen - I bet you'll notice the exposure adjusting based on where you tap!

5. Play with negative space (the space that isn't your subject). Pull back for a wide shot with lots of negative space. Get in close for a tight shot with little to no negative space.

6. Use different types of types of light - direct light, side light (my favorite when shooting on my phone), and back light. See what you like!

7. Shoot from different perspectives. Pets and kids experience the world from a different vantage point - get on their level and shoot from their perspective. Shoot from above. Try different

8. Have fun and don't take it too seriously. Experiment with different elements (light, negative space, perspective) based on your preferences as well as what you're photographing. What feels fun and creative and authentic to the story you're telling?


Lots of negative space, subject is in the left third of the photo


Down on the floor with my girl to see things from her perspective ;)


A tight shot, no negative space. It's grainy because the light was low but this is real life!


BONUS TIP: If you're trying to photograph a fast moving subject, you want to make sure you have lots of light so your subject is in focus! If you're in a low light situation, your shutter will stay open longer to capture more light. This means the shutter will close more slowly, which increases the chance of a blurry image.


For some of my favorite editing apps and tips, check out this post!

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maryland sunset family photographer

serving families in baltimore, annapolis, dc, and beyond

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