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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Morgan

3 Tips to Get Better Pictures With Your Camera Phone

Before the days of the smart phone, I could usually be found with my point-and-shoot camera stuffed somewhere in the bottom in my purse. And before that, a disposable film camera (no old comments allowed) :) But now? Thanks to our smart phones, we have the ability to capture moments literally anywhere we can take our phones. Here are a few tips and tricks to making sure your smart phone photos are as good as they can be.


Photography 101 teaches us that the most critical factor in creating a stellar photograph is LIGHT and how you use it in your picture. Photography is fundamentally the process of capturing the way light falls on your subject. Think about it, no light, no photo. A great subject in poor light will always look bad. Our smart phones do better in natural light and struggle in low light. Low light conditions produce grainy photos. Using the built in flash will almost always create bad images. Avoid it if possible!

The best outdoor lighting is what we as photographers call the "golden hour." This is about an hour before sunset, or the hour after sunrise. This is the time the sky really lights up in the beautiful gold, yellows, and pinks. This is a great time to capture those beautiful Texas sunsets. During middle of day, during the harsh light time, find some open shade. This will still allow your subject to be lit, but not with the harsh light of the full sun. My personal favorite is overcast/cloudy days. On days like this, you don't have to worry about the harsh light at all, and can photograph your subject pretty much anywhere.

Light is the biggest thing you can control when taking photos. Once you understand how to use it, you can do what all great photographers do, paint with light.

2. Find Your Angle

Finding a unique angle is what will make your image different from the countless others around you. This is what is referred to as composition, and it's all about using all the elements in your surrounding to help tell a story through your photograph.

One quick tip to help with this is to go into your camera phone settings and turn on the guidelines. These lines can be used to help you use the "rule of thirds." There are lots of great tutorials and different ways to use this rule, but for now, just be aware that our eyes naturally fall on the areas where those guidelines are. Before you take your shot, look to position the camera so that the elements of your setting are along those guidelines.

Next, think about your angle. To capture a unique angle, position your camera higher or lower rather than straight in front of you. Pay close attention to what is in the foreground and background. You want to use these elements to add interest, but not compete with your subject for attention.

3. Edit Like an Artist

One thing that most people do not realize is that the difference between a good photo and a great photo is usually in the post-processing. This started to be more realized once Instagram filters were introduced to help make phone pictures more interesting.

However, if you are wanting to create the best phone pictures possible, you need more control. You need to use an editing app. There are tons of apps out there, and I recommend experimenting to find the one that you like best. Here are a few options to get you started: Snapseed, ProCamera, Camera+, Lightroom, Polarr, & Pixelmator.

Editing your photo helps bring out its best. Colors become more vibrant and your image is taken to the next level.

I would love to hear from you and see your best camera phone pictures! Feel free to post in the comments below! What is your favorite thing to photograph?


Courtney Morgan Photography is located in Crossroads, TX and serves the Denton and Frisco communities. She is know for her maternity and newborn portraiture as well as her ability to capture her subjects true personality. She is full-service and offers high quality artwork to help tell your family's story.

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