Say Cheese: Tips for Cell Phone Photography

Tips and Tricks for Taking Beautiful Pictures on your phone

Being able to take incredible photographs using only your phone is one of the best ways to stand out and build a strong presence on any social media platform.

Learning how to take good photos on your phone doesn’t require you to be an accomplished photographer (trust me). Really, using some basic principles of composition and lighting and honouring your own instincts is all you need to create a beautiful picture.

Here are 6 quick tips to taking beautiful social media ready photos on your phone.

Use Natural Light

Great lighting can make or break a good photograph. When it comes to taking photos on your phone, it becomes especially important. It doesn’t matter what kind of phone you have, shooting in natural light will immediately make your photo look better. While filters can help, taking an image in the right light creates brighter and richer photos.

Tip: Avoid using your flash. If you are taking a picture of a product, try placing it closer to a window.

natural light

Don’t Overexpose Your Pictures

There are editing tools that will allow you to darken and lighten a picture. However, there are very few options to salvage an overexposed picture.

Tip: Before taking the picture, tap your finger on the brightest part of the frame to darken the exposure and the darkest part of the frame to lighten the exposure. Finding the perfect place to tap will make for balanced exposure in your photo.

Set the Focus

Shooting stunning photos involves sharp focus. If the subject isn’t in focus, you won’t be able to capture its intricate detail. A photo with an out-of-focus subject will look like an amateur snapshot, and it won’t have the impact you hoped for.

Tip: Setting the focus point is especially important when shooting close-up photos. When the camera is close to the subject, the depth of field in the photo will be shallow. A shallow depth of field means only a small portion of the image is in focus. Anything in front of or behind the focus point will appear blurred

Shoot at the Right Time

Ever hear of the golden hour? It is the time of day when the sun is low on the horizon and makes everything look beautiful. Essentially, it acts as a natural Instagram filter

Tip: If you are shooting midday, clouds are your best friend. Direct sunlight makes everything look harsh, but clouds act like a natural light diffuser to create a softer, more flattering effect.

Follow the Rule of Thirds

The composition of a photo is one of the most important components. The lighting can be perfect, but if the arrangement of the photo is off balance it can be the difference between a great photo and a poor one.

The Rule of Thirds is one of the most well-known composition principles and is a simple way to balance your image. As the name suggests, the Rule of Thirds divides an image into a 3×3 grid, which allows the photographer to align subjects or objects along the grid lines (or crash points – the corners of the middle square) to create balance.

rule of thirds

Tip: Turn on the gridlines for your phone camera in settings and use them to practice aligning your photos.

Balanced Asymmetry or Off-Centre

Achieve a pleasing effect (and possibly one of the most commonly used) by placing your subject on one of the four crash points. Of course, remember you need to balance it.

In the below picture, the subject is placed in alignment with the top and bottom right crash points. The sparkler is acting as not only balance, but as a lead in line (forces eye to follow to the subject).

Do you have any tips or tricks to add for taking photos on your cellphone? Also, if you’re a Bookstagrammer drop your handle in the comments so we can *heart emoji* over all your book photos!



7 thoughts on “Say Cheese: Tips for Cell Phone Photography

  1. I switched from a regular DLSR camera to my iphone and have not regretted it since. And phone cameras have improved so much!! And I usually use midday light, indirect light and use a preset filter with them. But I love the golden hour!!

    ~ Corina | The Brown Eyed Bookworm


    1. I love golden hour too! Such a beautiful light to shoot in when you can get it. But yeah, it’s crazy what cellphone can do now. I used to shoot a lot on my DSLR too, but since I upgraded my phone it takes pretty comparable photos and I can quickly edit and filter them all in one place which is really convenient.


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