3 Tips to Take Better Photos on your Phone

March 1st, 2016

Richard Gill

If you carry a smart phone with you then you have the convenience of always having a camera in your pocket. This makes it quick and easy to update social media and promote your business.

Here are 3 tips that can help give your photos more impact:

1. Composition

This is probably the single most important part of taking a picture. There are some simple rules that can help you. First of all look all around the frame, especially at the edges and particularly items close to you main subject. Look for the obvious problems like a tree growing out of your subject’s head, but also look out for any distracting objects in the background that will take the viewers attention away from the subject.

Don’t just put your subject in the middle of the frame, your photo will look better if your subject is approximately a third of the way in from one edge. This is the “Rule of Thirds”. Think of the picture being split into three and line up your subject so that it is on one of the dividing lines.


If your taking a picture of a person aim to get their eye line on one of these lines also. You can see an example below.

rule of thirds

The right eye is on the intersection of two 1/3 lines.

When you are taking a close up portrait for example a head and shoulders photo you can break this rule by putting your subject in the middle of the frame but line up the eyes one third of the way down from the top of the picture.

ruleofthirds portrati

Subject is in the middle but the eyes are 1/3 of the way from the top.

If you are taking a landscape photo then try to get the horizon so that it is either a third of the way up or two thirds of the way up

landscaperuleof thirds

.The sky occupies the top 1/3.

Arrange straight lines or curves so that these to lead you into the photo. Another good tip is to get them to come to exactly the corner of the photo or to arrange them to run diagonally across the photo.

leading lines-1-2

The two sides of the floor come to the bottom corners.

And of course if they don’t come to the corners get them to start on the edge but a third of the way from the corner.

leading lines-1

The water runs diagonally across the photo.


The winding road leads you into the photo

2. Phone orientation

With a phone the tendency is to use it in portrait (vertical mode). We are used to holding it this way for most other tasks and often the shutter button is at the bottom of the screen. This makes it easy to take a picture with just one hand. The down side of this is camera shake and a blurred image. As you press the shutter button you exert pressure at one end which can cause the phone to move back and forwards.


However if you hold the phone in landscape mode – more like a normal camera then it is much easier to hold it steady. It is also more comfortable to hold with two hands which keeps it stable.


It is good practice to use both orientations and choose the orientation that suits the picture you are taking, for example social media sites like Pinterest lend themselves to photos taken in portrait orientation, whereas Facebook is better with landscape. If you use it in a vertical mode try using two hands to keep the phone stable and avoid any shake.

3. Change you vantage point

How many photos do you see in a day that look like something you have seen hundreds of times before. One easy way to make a picture more interesting is change the position from which you take it. Picking a different vantage point can dramatically alter the effect of a photo. Changing the the height from which it is taken by going very low or getting up high is great way to do this. Here is an example where taking the photo from ground level has made a more interesting view.


Low shooting position adds drama

If you would like more detailed training on how to improve your photos please give me a call on 07557 780336 or email richard@great-impressions.com