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How Toosday: taking better pictures on your phone

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

Good images on social media are a must-have these days. Luckily, you’ve probably got the ideal tool for the job in your the pocket – the only question is, are you making the most of it?

Yes, a smartphone can cover a large chunk of the photography needs of a social media manager in 2018 – especially with the wealth of editing apps available to manipulate your photos to your heart’s content.

But, as with any camera, just having the tools isn’t enough – you’ll get far better results if you use them properly.

When it comes to shooting on your phone, there are a few tips and tricks to help give you even better pictures, and we’ve gathered a few of them below for you.


The rule of thirds

This is a classic rule of photographic composition whereby you imagine splitting your photo into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and then you place items of interest on those thirds to give a more balanced final results.

The classic example is a sunset, where you should put the horizon either a third of the way up from the bottom, or a third of the way down from the top – not smack in the middle. Sticking with that sunset, if you’ve got some palm trees on the horizon too, position them a third of the way in from either side for a better photo.

You can apply this rule to phone photography too. Just try shooting the same scene using the rule of thirds compared to simply plonking the thing you’re shooting in the middle.

Top tip; to make it even easier to follow this rule on your phone, make sure you turn on your camera’s grid function – this will split your screen into thirds and literally show you where to put things in your frame.

Fill your frame

Another useful rule of composition that can make an instant difference to your pictures. If you’re shooting, say, an apple – then make sure you really fill your frame with your subject. You don’t want a tiny apple in the middle of your photo, get close and fill the frame for far better results.

Change your focus point

To ensure your phone’s camera is actually focusing on what you want it to, tap the screen on the area you want as your focal point – this is particularly useful if you want to blur the immediate foreground of your frame.

Lock your focus

Another clever tip to help your shots is to lock your camera’s focus on your subject and then reframe accordingly – perhaps taking into account the rule of thirds.

To do this, tap and hold on your subject until your camera confirms the focus lock. Then, you should be free to reframe while your subject stays sharp.

Play with exposure

Phones these days are generally quite good at getting the exposure level right. However, if you need to change it, you can do so manually. Tap your finger on your screen and slide up or down depending on whether you want to make you image brighter or darker.

Simple, but useful!

Avoid squinting eyes

When we first learn how to take photos, most of us are probably told to stand with our light source – usually the sun – behind us so it lights up our subject.

Now, this is fine until you want to use a human as your subject. The problem with us humans is that looking directly into the sun makes us squint and can cast shadows on our faces. You get far more flattering photos – and the chance for some gorgeous backlighting – by placing your subject between the sun and your camera.

It really can work well – trust us.

Don’t digitally zoom

One are where smartphone cameras are still lagging is in the zoom stakes. Quite simply, when you pinch and zoom on your phone’s camera, the results look rubbish.

So, don’t do it! Manually zoom instead. And yes, by manually zoom, we mean move your feet and get closer!

Happy snapping!

Hopefully these tips will help you get more out of your phone’s camera – so get out there and shoot! In the meantime, we’ll be back here next Tuesday for some tips on the editing side of things. 📸

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