Shooting Better Smartphone Photos

These days, you don’t have to have be a professional photographer with a complicated set-up to shoot quality photos. In fact, you’re probably carrying a photography studio in your pocket right now: your phone. With that in mind, here are 3 tips to help you shoot better photos on your smartphone, supplemented with photographs I took illustrating said tips.

1. Take Advantage of the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a rule utilized by photographers and filmmakers, who will divide a framed image into thirds in order to achieve a certain symmetry. Luckily, it is easy to use this rule for your own photos. Most smartphones come equipped with a grid feature that can be turned on in the settings app.

Texas State’s own LBJ enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Notice how I aligned LBJ into the quadrants for a more centered photo.

2. Use Your Focus

Most photos have a certain subject that is the center of attention, which photographers will “focus” on in order to make it stand out. Luckily, it is simple to utilize focus on your smartphone’s camera: simply tap the subject you would like to focus on and take the photo.

Notice how the flowers at the front are focused on, leaving the flowers at the back blurred.

3. Experiment With Angles

Experimenting with unconventional angles can help the camera capture an ordinary subject in a new and exciting way. Case in point: the upward angle utilized in this picture of a tree I took creates a dizzying effect that highlights the size of the tree. This is an effect that wouldn’t be achieved if I took a picture of it head-on.

Shooting something as ordinary as a tree calls for more unconventional photography methods to create a new perspective.

Now that you have learned how to take high quality photos with your smartphone (and have taken some of your own as well), the natural next step would be to share them. Instagram is a great platform to share your photos, but you can’t just share the photos without context– you need a caption. Luckily, there is a rule that will come in handy when writing a caption for any occasion…

Keep It Short, Keep It Simple

Most people won’t bother interacting with your post if the caption is lengthy, so be concise. You’d be surprised how much you can say with so few words.

My shortest caption is just two words. From it, you can glean that I went to Chicago (Do I have a thing for low angles? Maybe.)

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