Improving Phone Photography

Updated: February 25, 2014 Mpix Support Guest Post, Photos, Tips

Wildly passionate about her family, Ashley Ann Campbell captures the beautiful details of her life through a collection of powerful images and words called Under the Sycamore. If you’re looking to take incredible photos like the ones you see below, register for SnapShop, a workshop created by Ashley that is aimed to improve phone photography.

Change your angle: Just like every character in a story has a different viewpoint….with photography, changing your angle, even on the same subject, will give you an entirely new viewpoint to the story you want to communicate. Every angle has something different to say. Phones are so lightweight and small, it makes changing angles so easy! Instead of simply aiming your camera at the subject….challenge yourself. MOVE. Get low, get high – change it up a bit. Or a lot!

Camera lens location: Unlike most cameras where the lens is located in the middle, on phones the camera lens is often located near the top, either in a corner or in the middle. Keep this in mind as you are shooting – there are times you will want to rotate your phone to get the lens closer or farther from your subject. If your camera records the shot upside down, you can always flip it right side up when you edit it. (The following four photos demonstrate the minor change caused by rotating your phone if the lens is not located in the center)

Capture your details: So much of life happens in the details. Most of us do a pretty good job at capturing the big picture – the graduate holding her diploma or the four year old blowing out his birthday candles. However, the details often get overlooked. Slow down to notice the details of your days and capture them. Many smartphones record close up details with incredible clarity, use this to your advantage.

Take notice of your available light: Capturing beautiful light, whether natural or artificial, can make all the difference in your photos and their stories- especially with smartphones. Begin studying the light around you and the way it falls on your subjects during different times of the day. As you take time to notice and study light, you will begin photographing it in interesting ways.

You need light to ‘freeze’ action: The brighter the light, the more likely you can sharply capture action without using your in-camera flash. Phone cameras respond wonderfully to bright light, so keep that in mind when you are trying to ‘freeze’ fast moving action.

Finally, one of the huge things phone cameras have in their favor is their size. I keep my dslr in an easy to access place, but it sure doesn’t fit in my pocket. My phone, on the other hand, is usually very close and easy to whip out to photograph a moment. Here are a couple of my favorite pictures that I could not have captured with my dslr, simply because they happened in a split second and either my phone was in my pocket or my dslr would have been too intrusive.

For more photography tips from Ashley, check out her post Phone Photography Tips for KidsTo see more of Ashley’s work, check out Under the Sycamore & SnapShop workshops and follow her on Instagram & Facebook.

17 Responses to “Improving Phone Photography”

  1. February 25, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    I just wanted you to know while I’m sure these are good photos they do not look good at all on the phone for some reason. They are showing up all distorted and elongated. I just wanted you to know

    • February 25, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      horizontal mode helps a little but yes they do look distorted

    • February 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      They look great on my iPad mini.

  2. April 4, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    I loved reading this post! I have small children and love taking photos with my camera. You gave me some great ideas.

    In one your pictures, your beautiful little girl is twirling in her green dress, and the wall behind her is covered with small square photographs. Is this a large print you had mad of many small prints? I would love to know how you did this! Our nanny surprised me with a photobook of our instagram photos of the kids, and I’d love to have something like this done for the house. Thanks!

  3. April 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    I am editing alot of photos that I received from my son and daughter in law. What will be the quality of these? Do you work specially with photos from the phone?

    • April 16, 2014 at 9:19 am #

      Hi Kathy, we use professional quality printers and paper to ensure that our customers receive the very best. Many professionals use our services for our quality as well.

  4. Atlanta Picture Framer May 22, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Really good tips. I’d like to add one point, that may be so obvious to some people, and not so much to others…

    Take lots and lots of photos of the subject. In film cameras, every shot costs you, for film and for developing. With digital cameras, including those in cell phones, everything is already paid for (unless you take so many that you have to invest in new hard drives for storage).

    Even Cindy Crawford blinks, sneezes, and moves at times in ways that ruin individual shots. The way she always looks so good is the photographers take TONS of photos of her, every shoot. And they get rid of the bad ones, of which there are usually plenty.

    I often take photos of our work for the website, and many of the early photos turned out terrible and were unusable. So I have no photos of some really great work, because I overlooked the importance of taking lots of pics of the same subject.

  5. August 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    Very informative. Thanks!

  6. Tampa Family Photographer June 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Great tips! Ashley’s pictures are inspiring to use the phone camera more.

  7. Marina May October 29, 2019 at 8:08 pm #

    Great Tips, thank you!


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