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? I’m sharing three simple tips for taking photos with your phone.

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,” for my job as a Seattle family photographer. I’m still constantly snapping photos with my phone of my 6 kids and our daily adventures.

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

Mobile phone photo tips showing mother and two kids

The first Phone Photo Tip is to 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 using better light, you’ll improve your photos tenfold.

Remove the Distractions.

This photo tip does apply whether or not you are using your phone. 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 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 subject’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 shooting from 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?!

smartphone photo of girls at Disney Springs
Smartphone photo, no editing.
Edited Disney Springs photo
With Chubby Cheeks Photography Preset

The final phone photo tip is to 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.

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

This bonus photo tip is about elevating the photos you take with your phone. 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 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, and 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. For 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.)

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!

Would you love more photo tips? I have free resources for people wanting to take better photos of their kids.

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