3 Tips for Better Photos with Your Phone

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Are you always taking photos with your phone but wishing the photos had a little more punch to them? Then this is the post for you.

I should start with a funny story. I’ve always preferred my “big camera.” I remember in high school when the first camera phone came out and I was appalled. “Who wants a camera on their phone?” I thought. Ha! (To be fair, the camera phones then were terrible). But now the camera phone is the top way most people snap photos. And while I still love my “big, fancy camera,” I’m constantly snapping photos with my phone.

The problem is that because it’s so easy, you think you can’t take great photos. But with a few simple tips you can get to shooting (and editing) better mobile photos!

Indoors, turn off overhead lights, and face towards a window.

Pay attention to your light.

No matter the type of camera in your hand, light can make or break a photo. If possible, try turning out overhead lights to only have natural light. Turn your subject towards the light (window) when indoors. When outdoors, look for even light on your subject. Just by slowing down a little bit and and using better light, you’ll improve your photos ten fold.

Remove the Distractions.

Distractions are things in your photos that take your focus off your subject. They are something that pulls, or distracts, your eyes. By scanning the area and looking for the distractions, you can easily improve your photos. It could be something as simple as moving the bright pink baby doll stroller out of the background or pushing that laundry pile out of the way.

If you’re unable to move the distractions (maybe it’s a lamp post that is sticking out of your subjects’s head, or a bright yellow street sign, then try changing your angle to get that distraction out of the frame.

I’m queen of shoot from more above to avoid that laundry pile or to keep the mess out of my frame! That may be real life, but the distraction doesn’t need to be documented, right?!

Photo on the left you’re distracted by the iPad in the background. By moving my angle the focus turns only on my son.

Add a pop to your photos with a little editing.

Cell phone cameras have come a LONG way. However, the photos can feel a bit flat, dull, and a little lifeless. You may remember vibrant colors that day, however your smartphone camera just can’t get the same range.

Enter editing. With a few minor tweaks you can add some pop to your photos.

Try bumping up the contrast, increasing the blacks (making the darks darker) and adjusting the highlights and shadows as the photo calls.

I personally use Lightroom mobile (it’s a free app, go get it!). The sliders make it simple to make changes to your photo.

Left - One click edit with Chubby Cheek Photography Mobile Presets. Right - Phone Photo before edit.

BONUS Tip: Grab Chubby Cheek Photography’s Mobile Presets for fast, clean edits.

I’m not a fan of most mobile presets. I feel like so many wash out images, changing the color. They are also usually built for the underexposed images, encouraging you to shoot poorly. Thus, I never used presets. Until Sholanda released her mobile presets.

There are 7 presets perfect for any scenario. I have tried them indoors, outdoors, with perfect light, not so great light, and everything in between. I love how they add a clean pop to my photos without altering the original look. Most images I can do one click of the preset and I’m good to go.

This may sound like I’m trying to sell you something here. But, I purchased these presets on my own, and use them on my own mobile photos. I LOVE them! (You can grab them here.)

Left - Photo edited with Chubby Cheek Photography Presets. Right - Phone Photo without edits

Now you’re ready to start upping your mobile phone photo game!

Did you try out a tip and love it? Share it, tag me over on Instagram. I would LOVE to see your photos!

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