How to Take Amazing Photos with Your Phone

Capturing that perfect Insta-worthy photo is often much harder than it looks. Professional photographers, big businesses and celebrities (who have professional photographers take their pics) make their feeds look effortless, but how do you keep up if you don’t own all the fancy equipment or have the money to hire a professional photographer? Keep reading and you’ll find out!

The good news is you can get by with your phone. There are some amazing editing apps and tools out there to help you capture great photographs without all the bells and whistles and professional knowledge at your disposal. However, it’s important to know a few things about lighting and angles as well.

Keep reading to find some great tips for mastering Instagram photos for your brand.

Side note: I personally like to think I’ve mastered the selfie, I’ve definitely taken enough of them (LOL).

Under-expose instead of over-expose your image

Why? Quite simply, it’s much easier to edit an under-exposed image than an over-exposed image. The easiest way to fix this is by manually setting your exposure. Photographer Matthew Adekponya explains, “I try to under-expose a touch so I can bring through the colours I want with my presets on Lightroom. All I try and get out of an iPhone photo is enough room for movement in terms of colours.”

So how do you fix over-exposure? Tap on an area of your image and a little yellow box will pop up. The camera will then set the focus to that. You will notice a little sun on the right side of the box, try manually adjusting this by sliding your finger up or down the sun. Tap and hold down the screen for a few seconds and your phone will activate the “AE/AF LOCK.” This sets your exposure and focus to “Auto,” meaning you can continue to take photos and move your phone without the settings changing.

Composition

I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention in photography class, but something that always stuck with me was The Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds is one of the fundamental composition principles in photography. Basically it’s about positioning the most important elements off-center to create balance. It’s applied by aligning a subject with literal guidelines and their intersection points made into squares, to allow an image to flow from section to section seamlessly.

Thankfully, the iPhone has a grid tool that does this for you. All you need to do is turn on the “grid” setting in your phone’s settings for your camera (below).

Scroll down to see a couple of examples using the Rule of thirds principle.

Lighting

As I’ve discovered by my numerous selfies, lighting is key. This rule applies to all photos, especially when taken with a phone. There’s nothing more irritating than snapping a great shot only to realise later the lighting is all wrong.

Where possible, use natural light. If you can find a window indoors this position will be your best chance. Avoid artificial lighting which makes your images look yellow.

Shoot During the Golden Hour

In photography, The Golden Hour is the time just after sunrise and just before sunset. At this time the light is warm and flattering which is especially good if you’re shooting people.

man standing near window in natural light

Take the Photo from Below Eye Level

Naturally when we take photos we hold the phone at eye level. However, photographer and graphic artist Ash Grant suggests taking it just below, “You’re able to capture more in the frame on landscapes and for portraits it creates the illusion of length.”

Use the “Food” Function on Samsung

If you’re trying to capture an object, Samsung offers users a cool function to give you a shallow depth of field finish.

Perth photographer Michelle Karas says, “I always use the food function on my phone and select the part of the photo I want to focus on so the rest of the photo is blurred. That’s if I’m taking a photo of an object or plant, or coffee, etc – it doesn’t work with people”

So next time you want to document

samsung galaxy flower photo

Use Editing Apps

Snapseed and VSCO are two of the many awesome apps available to edit photos. Snapseed is FREE which makes it a brilliant choice. It also allows you to adjust exposure, colour, sharpen, crop, rotate, apply filters, lens blur and more.

VSCO gives you film style finishes, editing tools for exposure, colour, sharpness and a built in camera app with manual controls. There’s a free and paid version. You can also use it like an Instagram account with its feed, but it’s more for photographers and art types rather than people taking photos of everyday living.

cottesloe beach
Edited with Snapseed app

Hopefully I’m leaving you with plenty of ideas. Just remember less is often more when it comes to Instagram photos so be wary about overdoing it.

Author: Melissa Moyle

Digital Marketer. Here to help you with your SEO, content creation and social media management. Coffee addict, basketball, fashion and wine lover. Travel obsessed.

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