How to Take Great Smartphone Photos

by Ryan Westergaard

We all want to take great photos, but most of us can’t spend thousands on a professional camera. Well, you’re in luck! Below are some tips and tricks to take the best photos, all with just your smart phone.

1. CLEAN THE CAMERA: This is commonly overlooked, but make definitely make the difference with your photos. Make sure to wipe off the camera lens, even if you have a case on your phone.

2. WHAT TO TAKE PHOTOS OF:  No one wants to see a dandelion for the millionth time. It might be the best dandelion photo in the world, but no one is going to find it interesting. Take photos of interesting things; stuff most people won’t see in their life. If you aren’t taking photos for fame, then you can skip this step.

3. WHEN TO TAKE PHOTOS: The best time to take a photo is soon after the sun comes up in the morning. The sky is a bright vibrant color, the scene will look beautiful, and, most importantly, there will be little to no people there. Another great time is the “golden hours” before sunset.

4. HOW TO TAKE THE PHOTOS: Now it’s time to take the actual photo. More than likely you’ll want to hold your phone horizontally; it is how most pictures are set up and framed or shown online. Next, tap the screen where you want it to focus. It might take a couple tries. Then, hold your phone steady and tap the button. There you go! You just took a photo.

5. HOW MANY PHOTOS TO TAKE: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket; take as many photos as you can. Always take at least two of the same exact photo. That way you have options to choose the best one. Experiment with different angles, different focus points, etc. until you have a large sum of photos. The burst function on most phones is great for this.

6. NARROW THEM DOWN: You have a ton of photos right now, so, go through them and narrow them down. Start by looking at nearly identical photos and keep one. This will slash your photos down in half. Then, look at the photos individually. Take out the ones that aren’t the best. Maybe the angle is bad, it wasn’t focused right, or maybe you just don’t like how it looks. There is no set amount that you have to keep, so keep as many or as little as you like!

7. EDITING: This part is way underestimated. Editing your photos will completely change your level of photography, and is by far one of the most important steps. DO NOT neglect it. You do not need professional software, or an app to edit your photos. It is okay to edit in the Apple Photos application (the place where all of your photos go on your phone).

  1. Open up the photo you want to edit
  2. In the upper right hand corner, tap “Edit”
  3. On the bottom row next to “Cancel” tap the square with the arrows. This allows you to rotate the photo if it is tilted. You can also crop the photo, which can be very useful
  4. Next to “Done” is a clock looking thing. Tap it. Tap “Color” and slide the bar for how much color you want in the photo. Generally it is common to add more color.
  5. Tap the three lines on the right, and tap on “Light”. Slide the bar to make the photo brighter or darker
  6. When you like how the photo looks, click “Done”

Congratulations! You just took and edited beautiful photos.


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