How to Take Better Mobile Photography

How to Take Better Mobile Photography

1. Clean your lens!

Cleaning your lens is one of the most neglected rules of all time that can dramatically make a difference. Our phones accumulate a lot of dirt, grease, lint, fingerprints, and dust. When your lens are dirty, it will block light from entering the sensor. Before taking any shot, make sure you wipe your lens to avoid blurry photos. This will also allow the camera to easily focus on your subjects and give you a nice crisp shot.

2. It’s all about lighting

Good lighting is imperative to mobile photography because there aren’t a lot of manual settings to adjust on your phone. I’m not a huge fan of flash or artificial lighting unless it’s absolutely necessary. Because of this, I make sure to capture photos where there is an adequate amount of natural light. Note that having too much vertical light can blow out your images. Harsh lighting usually occurs in the middle of the day. To avoid this, find shaded areas for softer horizontal lighting to illuminate your subject. On the other hand, too little light can cause noise and grain to your images so be careful!
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

3. Composition is Key

It’s not just what you shoot that counts, but rather how you shoot it. You can immediately turn a dull photo into an amazing one with a good composition. Look at what you’re framing in the shot. Are you getting everything you want in the frame? How can you move around so that you’re not getting the trashcan in the background? Try different things to simplify or fill your shot.

3a. Look for leading lines

Leading lines is one composition trick. Our eyes are naturally drawn to lines and will encourage the viewer to follow  and traverse the image with their eyes. It also helps a viewer’s eyes focus on the main subject of the image.

3b. Use rule of thirds

Another composition fundamentals is the rule of thirds. If you’re not familiar with this concept, in essence it’s positioning your most important subject along the gridlines and intersections of the frame. Having them off to the side will draw more attention than having them in the center. But, as with all rules in photography, rules are meant to be broken. You don’t always have to follow this if you think it’s less eye-catchy.
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

4. Shoot from interesting perspectives

The cool thing about shooting with a phone is that it’s small and light enough for you to shoot from different angles effortlessly. Play around with different perspectives like shooting from a bird’s eye view or from a ground level, don’t just shoot from a standing position. Try to capture you don’t see something everyday to make your image more interesting. Try shooting both in portrait and landscape to see what looks best.

5. Chase the sun

Best time to shoot is during golden hour (or magic hour), which usually occurs an hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset. Golden hour lighting is soft, dimensional, warm, dreamy, and just overall magical! You can get a lot of interesting light during this time. Taking photos against the sunlight will give you darker images, but taking pictures this way during golden hour will give you a nice silhouette with an illuminated backdrop.
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

6. Location, location, location!

Where you choose to take photos will have a huge affect on your images. Even if you’re just taking your OOTD, instead of taking a selfie inside your house, get outdoors with a friend and have them snap pictures of you in the city or maybe in the middle of the desert. Find interesting locations.

7. Capture movement

Capturing movements can immediately make your photos come alive. It not only conveys movement, but it also captures a mood like trees on a windy day and it can be used to remove unwanted elements in the background. Use apps like Slow Shutter Cam to get a long exposure shot!
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

8. Focus on a subject

Think about what you’re trying to capture. Pick a subject and position yourself for the shot. Then tap on the screen of your phone to make sure you are focused on your subject. If you are going to take multiple pictures in the same spot, for iPhones, if you tap and hold on the screen you will enable the AE/AF lock so you don’t need to continue focusing on the same subject. It will stay focused so you can take multiple shots.
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

9. Don’t zoom in

When you’re using a mobile device, do not use the zoom feature! Unlike a DSLR, it does not use optical zoom, but rather a digital zoom. This basically means that the image is cropped resulting in a great loss of quality. Try it for yourself, notice all that noise? Yeah, you don’t want that.

10. Avoid distracting backgrounds

If it’s not beneficial to your shot, don’t include it. If there’s too much going on in one picture, our eyes are not going to want to look at it. Yes our eyes get lazy too! Find ways to simplify your image so that the viewer can focus on the subject. However, if there’s nothing you can do to avoid this, try using a black & white filter or moving in closer to your subject.

11. Keep steady hands

Unless you’re going for a creative blurry shot, try to keep your hands steady. Shakiness will cause your images to be blurry. Try keeping still a couple seconds before taking a picture and a couple seconds after to ensure a crisp shot. If you want to get fancy, you can use a tripod or one of those gorilla pods for your phone.
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

12. Take multiple shots

Chances are, you’re not going to get the perfect shot after the first try. There’s no harm in taking more than one photo. You want to make sure you get the shot you want before the opportunity is over. Shoot from different angles, distances and play around with what works for you.
How to Take Better Mobile Photography | Here & Air

13. Tell a story

Photography is a medium of art. It’s a way to express and tell a story from your own perspective. Don’t just shoot images with a good composition and lighting. Find something interesting that is worth a million words. Express how you see the world through your eyes — or lens I should say.

14. Practice, be creative, and have fun!

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson
He’s right you know. Taking great photography is not something you can just learn from a book. You have to go out there and practice; learn what works for you. Use these basic tips as a guideline; but add in your creativity to make your photographs stand out. Most importantly, have fun with it!
If you enjoyed these tips, please make sure to subscribe, like, comment, and share this post! Oh and follow me on Instagram! @Carmelisse. ?


Read the secret to editing my Instagram photos here:




Morocco sample preset

The Morocco Preset creates the perfect dreamy blue hues and is great for bringing back overexposed skies. Sign up to get instant access now!

Powered by ConvertKit
  • Jenn Flo Taylor
    Posted at 22:38h, 10 April Reply

    I love this post!! So helpful! There are lots of great tips that I can implement right away! Thank you!!! 🙂

  • Maria K.
    Posted at 22:52h, 01 February Reply

    Hi! Could you recommend a camera that’s handy and great in taking pictures? I’m not a fan of dslr especially when traveling. I’m more leaning towards mirrorless camera. Do you have a certain mirrorless camera you could recommend?

    Thank you!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 09:03h, 02 February Reply

      Hi Maria! I’m not a mirrorless camera expert, but I heard the Olympus E-M10 II was really good. If you’re looking to grow into a camera, I also heard the Fujifilm X-T10 was the camera to get. But it all depends on what features you’re looking for.

      Here’s a link that may help you:

      Good luck! 🙂

  • Elizabeth Edgar
    Posted at 05:58h, 30 January Reply

    Great tips! The photos are GORGEOUS!! I love how a simple photo can tell a beautiful story. I am going to use some of the tips to improve my mobile photography.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 09:15h, 30 January Reply

      Yay! Thanks Elizabeth! ❤️

  • Kacy
    Posted at 13:21h, 29 January Reply

    Great tips and gorgeous photos!!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 13:35h, 29 January Reply

      Thanks Kacy! <3

  • Becki S
    Posted at 10:42h, 29 January Reply

    Great tips! I never think to clean my phone lens, such a simple but important thing to do!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 10:44h, 29 January Reply

      Haha you’re not alone. Thanks Becki! 🙂

  • Angie Scheie
    Posted at 20:03h, 28 January Reply

    This was a wonderful list!! Even something as simple as cleaning your lens is something that I don’t think of! PInning and sharing asap :).

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 22:41h, 28 January Reply

      Awesome! Thanks Angie! <3

  • Leslie Rossi
    Posted at 18:44h, 28 January Reply

    such great tips! that cleaning your lens is really true. love the pictures too!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 22:40h, 28 January Reply

      Thanks Leslie. Yeah it’s crazy how the simplest things can get neglected sometimes.

  • maryrose
    Posted at 18:40h, 28 January Reply

    Absolutely great tips Carmelisse! I love 3a, 3b, and 4! I totally forgot about the rule of thirds.. you made me turn on my grid lines for my iphone camera haha! Also, #4 is on point, my favorite type of photographies! <3

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 22:40h, 28 January Reply

      Haha nothing wrong with using a little grid guidance. Thanks Maryrose!

  • Dia @ All The Things I Do
    Posted at 18:19h, 28 January Reply

    Such a great list. I’m working to improve my photography. I always forget the rule of thirds! And you are so right, it seems so silly but clean your lense lol

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 22:36h, 28 January Reply

      Haha I forget it sometimes too!

  • Chanelle Schuler
    Posted at 11:03h, 28 January Reply

    This is really helpful, i am new to photography and especially when it comes to my phone i literally had no idea about the different settings.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 11:12h, 28 January Reply

      Glad it helped you! Excited for you to go out and try them out 🙂

      • Chanelle Schuler
        Posted at 11:14h, 28 January Reply

        I will be that’s for sure. Thank you for writing such a great topic, ill keep you informed on how i go 🙂

        • Carmelisse
          Posted at 11:22h, 28 January Reply

          You’re welcome! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Jonce
    Posted at 10:53h, 28 January Reply

    Good tips and great pictures!!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 10:54h, 28 January Reply

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Roxy
    Posted at 10:31h, 28 January Reply

    These photos are amazing. I seriously can’t believe they were shot from a mobile device! I’m going to try to use your tips to step my game up

  • Jasemine-Denise
    Posted at 06:58h, 28 January Reply

    These are all fantastic tips! Especially #1. I don’t think people realize that not cleaning their lens would could really be the make or break between a perfect photo and a terrible accident. Can’t remember how many times as a photographer, I’ve been like “Gah. Forgot to wipe my phone camera.”

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 08:40h, 28 January Reply

      Aww thank you Jasemine-Denise! Haha yeah I hate when it happens. Especially when you don’t notice until the end of the day when you’re reviewing your pics. smh!

  • Eugenia
    Posted at 06:33h, 28 January Reply

    Thanks for sharing such interesting post! I usually take photos from my mobile phone, so your tips are very useful to me 🙂 Good advices!

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 06:36h, 28 January Reply

      My pleasure Euge! Yay for mobile photography! Thanks for reading ?

  • Kerstin
    Posted at 02:22h, 28 January Reply

    I absolutely love your photography. So many awesome pictures! And thank you so much for sharing this. Photography isn’t about having the most expensive gear but what you do with the stuff you have. And honestly, the newest phones have almost better cameras than my old DSLR :DDDDD

    Love, Kerstin

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 06:34h, 28 January Reply

      Aww thanks Kerstin! You are so right. You don’t need to have the most expensive gear or even a lot of gear to take quality pictures. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in that and don’t even know the basics of photography. Anyways, thanks for reading! ❤️

  • Lori Stevenson
    Posted at 00:06h, 28 January Reply

    Great, great, great tips! beautiful pics! <3

    I lived in the North Bay for three years and I still didn't get a Golden Gate pic as lovely as yours. Love all your shots and advice. 🙂

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 00:07h, 28 January Reply

      Aww thank you Lori! ❤️

  • ThisKenyanTraveler
    Posted at 20:05h, 27 January Reply

    Thank You.
    I needed this cause I travel solo and I use my mobile for pictures so often.

    • Carmelisse
      Posted at 20:18h, 27 January Reply

      You’re welcome! 🙂

Post A Comment