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Skip Camera Envy and use These Tips for Great Smartphone Pics.

Contributing Author August 10, 2021 5

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Smartphone cameras have got much better in recent years, with better photo resolution, more lenses, and better storage options for your photos. A camera is one of the best features of any smartphone, whether you’re snapping pictures of your cooking or your travels

Hiker girl with smartphone taking landscape photo of sea bay while traveling
Get the best shot with your smartphone.


If you have the latest smartphone and learn some cool editing tricks like how to overlay images, you can really up your photography game. Here are some of the top tips to take better smartphone pictures. 


Start With A Clean Slate

Before you take any pictures, make sure your gear is ready. That usually means doing some cleaning first. Always clean your camera lens before you take any pictures. 

Wiping the lens on your shirt might do the job, but using coarse materials can actually end up damaging your lens. To avoid scratching the lens, use something soft, like a microfiber cloth, to clean any smudges off the lens. 


 A Little Framing Goes A Long Way

Framing your shots in an artful way takes a creative state of mind, but that doesn’t mean you have to line up everything yourself. You can use your camera to help you with better framing and composing shots. 

Using the camera with a mobile phone.
Get the framing right.

In your camera settings, turn the grid on, so you can use the rule-of-thirds when you take pictures. This grid will help you compose your image and keep your shot parallel with any lines in your shot. You can also use the grid to help you take square images for Instagram. 

Framing is just one part of composing the image. The other part is making sure that you aren’t accidentally capturing any unwanted images while you’re taking your pictures. Composition is very important. Make sure that everything you have in the frame is there because you want it there. 


Ditch The Digital Zoom

As much as you might want to get a closer look at that singer on stage while you’re sitting in the nosebleed seats, you might have to be content with taking a picture. However, zooming in before you take the photo is not actually the best solution for doing this. Digital zoom shots are just cropped and resized images, unlike the optical zoom, which you will find on a proper camera. Digital zoom will give you a grainy picture, and it will reduce the resolution of the whole photo. It can also make any vibrations from your hands look much worse, giving you some pretty bad photographs for your efforts. This problem happens with most phone cameras, even ones with multiple lenses, like the new iPhones and Samsung Galaxies. 

If you can, you should try to avoid taking pictures with a digital zoom as often as you can. Try to move closer instead, if you can. If your phone has a telephoto lens, this will give a much better result. 


Look For Light Before You Make Your Own

The flash of the LED light of a smartphone camera doesn’t flatter anybody, no matter how carefully you compose your shot. The glaring light comes from a single source isn’t good either, as it will often give you pictures a harsh look and make the colors look strange. Light diffused from one or multiple sources is a lot less harsh.

Natural light in Olympic National Park
Ditch the flash when you can.

Instead of using one light to properly light your pictures, try to find other sources of light that you can use, such as the sun, indoor lights, or even candles. If you’re really struggling to find enough light, you could use the flashlight of another smartphone to give you a more consistent light than the flash. 


Watch Out For Cloud Storage Problems

Cloud storage services, like Google Photos or iCloud, can be a great way to take lots of photographs without worrying about how much space is left on your phone for pictures. However, some of these services don’t store the highest resolutions version of your photos automatically. If you take a lot of pictures, you might be charged a monthly fee to back up all those high-resolution photographs. However, if you do like photography, a cloud-based backup service can be a good investment. 

If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of image quality in favor of getting more storage space then you can send only low-res pictures to the cloud. However, if you want better image quality, then storing photos in their original format and having to pay a bit every month might be worth it to you. It’s really about what matters most to you.


How are you getting great shots with your smartphone? Let us know in the comments or @modhop on Instagram, Twitter or TikTok!

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Contributing Author

General travel tips and advice on destinations, hotels and flights.

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