In some ways, the phone is the ultimate camera. Some tips to make better photos on your phone:

1. Use the flash

I recommend using the flash on your phone. It will add contrast and visual impact and interest to your photos.

Tip: Photograph surfaces that will make interesting reflections. For example, shooting shiny surfaces with the flash (inside a toaster):

2. Use Google Photos or VSCO to process your pictures

Processing pictures with Google Photos app

I’m a big fan of the “Vista” monochrome filter in Google Photos. Experiment with Google Photos filters, which work very well.

Another option: VSCO mobile app. For color I love their A6 preset:

3. Keep it simple

The best way to make better photos on your phone:

Keep it super simple.

This means, focus on simple shapes, shadows, or textures.

To simplify your photos, shoot closer.

4. Lower your exposure compensation

Cindy project
Shot at -1 exposure compensation on Samsung smartphone camera

On Android or iPhone, lower your exposure when shooting in bright situations. Generally speaking, the camera over-exposes scenes (which means, the photos look too bright).

Compensate this by lowering the exposure compensation (darkening your photos).

Do this by tapping the screen, then dragging the exposure compensation downwards:

Lowering exposure compensation on Google Pixel on Android

5. Shoot anywhere and everywhere

Photograph at Golds Gym, while I was working out.

The best photo opportunities are in the least exotic places.

For example, shoot during your morning commute. Shoot during your lunch break. Photograph around your home. Photograph when you’re out eating.

San Jose vsco
Photograph at a parking lot in Starbucks

A tip:

Instead of checking your email or social media when you’re bored, pause, look around and ask yourself: “Are there any interesting scenes I can photograph around myself?”

6. Experiment with how you process your photos

Aesthetics are all subjective in photography. Have fun with presets and other image processing tools.

For example I like the VSCO Distoria filter. It helps me better visualize my compositions:

7. Walk around the block with your phone to take pictures

If you’re feeling stressed or cooped up at home or the office, use this opportunity to walk around the block, and just shoot photos on your phone!

8. The phone is legitimate as a camera

Dots bubble rain drops macro
Shot on Samsung phone with monochrome preset

If you shoot photos you like, that is enough.

Don’t worry what others think of your pictures.

The truth:

If people know you shot a certain photo on a phone, they won’t take it as seriously if you shot it on film, or a more expensive camera.

That is fine. Shoot photos to please yourself!

Conclusion

abstract

Treat your phone like a (small) camera pistol. In action movies, the heroes (John Wick) always have a small pistol close at hand. And it is usually their most beloved tool.

tricycle

How many photo opportunities have you missed because you didn’t have your “real” (big) camera on you? Just shoot more with your phone if you like to!

Cindy flowers

Never stop exploring the world and stop shooting. Photography is the ultimate video game, and “open world” adventure.

Garden Grove street photograph
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Never stop shooting, stay light, and shoot on!

ERIC

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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset. Eric kim Selfie Kyoto

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