10 ways to be a better smartphone photographer


For all the DSLR purists out there, look away now, because these tips might just see you using your smartphone a little more often.

I’m a massive fan of using a DSLR for photography, but it’s hardly the most practical piece of equipment in the world for a blogger on the go, is it?

So why not perfect your smartphone photography instead and see if anybody can even spot the difference?

1. Consider upgrading to a new model

Before we get started, is your smartphone fit for purpose?

The most recent generation of smartphones have become much better than their predecessors. Your smartphone is probably the centre of your blogging universe, so why not get an upgrade?

The Google Pixel 2 is phenomenal at taking photos, with the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 plus being very close behind.

Trust me, you’ll notice the difference.

2. Make sure you have gridlines turned on

Gridlines are a brilliant guide in making sure that your photo is well balanced.

It’ll make it easier to get that bowl right in the centre of your shot, or to make sure you don’t have too much empty space on one side of your snap.

3. Try to take photos in a bright place

In the absence of artificial studio lighting, taking your photo next to a natural light source will suffice.

Smartphones aren’t nearly as good as a DSLR camera in low light (unless you do a lot of editing in post) so make it easy for yourself from the start.

4. Don’t use the zoom

Most compact cameras will have optical zoom and digital zoom. Optical zoom can zoom in without any loss of quality or pixelation to a point, but digital zoom gets worse and worse the closer you zoom in.

Due to their compact size, smartphones only have digital zoom which of course, gets poorer in quality as you zoom.

It’s best to never use this and to instead get as close to the action as you can.

5. Don’t use the flash

The flash on a smartphone is way too small to provide even light dispersion, so using it often results in tons of shadows in dark conditions.

Again, it’s best to just take your photos during the day if you can. Or, edit your dim, no-flash photos to be brighter later.

6. Portrait or landscape?

What will you be using this photo for? If it’s for your blog, landscape is probably best unless you’re ok with readers scrolling through long, enormous, portrait photos.

If it’s for Instagram, portrait is probably best so that you have the option for a photo that users spend more time scrolling past. Meaning they’re more likely to notice your photo.

7. Keep your lens clean

Unlike with a conventional camera, we often have our fingers all over our smartphone camera lens without realising it.

Make sure there’s no visible smudges, or you’ll get a hazy result.

8. Always, always, always edit your photos

Unlike using a DSLR where you can alter settings to produce the perfect exposure in most cases, a smartphone is totally automated.

This means that, most likely, a lot of your photos will be ever so slightly dull, or the artificial lighting in the room might make the photo slightly yellow.

If you know what you’re doing, you can turn a photo that looks like it was taken at night, to one that looks like it was taken during broad daylight.

9. But how? Well, try these apps…

Adobe Lightroom is great and so is Snapseed. You can manipulate nearly every aspect of your photo and fix everything from low light, to unwanted yellow hues and even edit out imperfections.

10. Try portrait mode

Portrait mode is a new addition to the last two generations of smartphones.

It’s not especially great for flat-lays, but it’s perfect where you have a subject (be it a person or an object) and a background that’s a few feet away.

You’ll get this lovely, organic blurred background that’ll really make your object in the foreground pop.

Have you got any tips for using a smartphone for photography?! Let us know in the comments below!

Sally is the publisher of Foodies100, the UK's largest directory of brilliant UK food and drink blogs and bloggers. Every day of the week, we promote the UK's best and most exciting blogs about food and drink.

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