How to take better cell phone photos

How to take nice cell phone photos

I was camping recently in Tarifa and I sent this photo (below) to a friend. You know what she said?

“Wow, what a difference having a nice camera makes!”  

I was so annoyed!

In my head, I was like… “My camera didn’t take this pictue, I took it! And besides, I took it with my cell phone!!”

So…  I thought I’d write a post on how you can take really nice photos with a cell phone because it’s NOT all about your camera!

(All shots on this page were taken with my cell phone. And it’s not a fancy new iPhone, its a 9 year old Samsung (S5 2015 model!)

Tarifa, Spain. Taken as a JPG with my Galaxy S4 phone around 6:30pm. How to do it? Tip #1 Shoot with the sun to your side. Soft side light makes the grass looks pretty like this. And, the lack of the sun actually in the frame means that we can avoid flare and allow true saturated colors to show through. No photoshop or filters have been added. Slight vibrance and contrast boost but otherwise unedited.

Vancouver, Canada. My son was looking out the train window, very tired as we were still jet lagged from traveling from Spain. I actually was taking photos out the window with my phone when the lady next to me said “You’re missing the real photo opportunity” and pointed at my son. Sure enough, I was. Sometimes we are too distracted with the scenerey to notice the special moments right in front of us. Tip #2. Notice the moments, but don’t interrupt them.  It doesn’t matter what camera you have in your hand if you miss noticing the photo ops. Be present… don’t live life looking through your lens. (I know, this is a hard one!)

Tip #3. Underexpose your sunset shots. Typically with cell phones when you see an amazing sunset and then you take a shot and it looks blah, right? Most cell phone cameras nowadays have a little exposure slider where you can make the image darker or lighter. Or, you might touch the screen where you want it to expose properly. If this is the case, touch the brightest part of the sky, or if you have sliders, underexpose (make it darker) and it will bring back the colors. Try this tip next time you see a sunset!

Tip #4 Get close to your foreground. When you are closer to something in the foreground it gives depth to your image.In the shot below, I got as close to the praying mantis as I could and had my son get behind it, giving it a bit of distance so you could see separation in the two.

Tip #5  

Sometimes rules are made to be broken! You might see a gorgeous scene, sunset, silhouette… or whatever… and you snap a shot and LOVE IT! That’s great! Forget about the rules and don’t worry that you “should have” taken it from a different angle, or “should have” exposed differently. I love the shots below, even though both have overexposed sun spots – and who cares! Photography is meant to make you happy! So go on and break the rules and experiment!

Have fun shooting!

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this post about cell phone photography – All images here taken with my old Galaxy S6 cell phone (2015 model)! 

Samsung Galaxy S6 Cell phone photography. Photographer based in Victoria, BC, CANADA. To see my portfolio of my wedding photography, click here!

Learning to take better cell phone photos can be a game-changer for capturing memorable moments without breaking the bank on an expensive camera. With today’s advanced smartphone technology, you can achieve stunning results right from the palm of your hand. By mastering the fundamentals of composition, lighting, and editing apps, you can elevate your mobile photography skills to new heights. Not only does this offer a more affordable alternative to investing in professional camera equipment, but it also provides unmatched convenience and accessibility. Your smartphone is always with you, ready to capture spontaneous moments and unexpected beauty at a moment’s notice. Plus, with the wide array of photography apps and editing tools available, you have everything you need to unleash your creativity and produce professional-quality images without the hefty price tag. So, whether you’re a casual photographer looking to improve your skills or a budget-conscious enthusiast seeking an accessible way to explore your passion for photography, mastering the art of mobile photography is undoubtedly worth the investment of time and effort.

Thanks for reading!

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