As our recent blog discovered, we spend a substantial amount of our phone time on picture sharing apps. Now that smartphones and tablets come with incredibly powerful cameras as standard, it can be hard to believe that a lot of the pictures we see floating around apps like Instagram and Pinterest are actually shot on a smartphone. However, the capacity of some smartphone lenses are now comparable to the professional DSLR or mirror-less cameras that professional photographers use daily. Without knowing a few basic tricks and tips though, people can find it hard to snap anything decent from their phone or tablet device. Here are just a few simple ways you can maximise your chances of shooting some Instagram gold next time the chance presents itself.


Get Inspired: 

Follow specific hashtags, groups, forums and individual photographers that produce the types of photos you like to take most whether this be travel, family, landscape etc. This will give you a constant stream of ideas and inspiration that you can then develop with your own unique style. Now that you know what type of photos you want to take, it will be easier to start working on the technical side of shooting. What people have a habit of doing with apps like Snapchat is take a stream of meaningless photos of their dinner or morning coffee. Shots that have an idea or meaning behind them will always garner a greater reaction online and be a more cherished memory for you in the future. So get thinking, get planning and then open up that camera app.


Learn The Settings In The Camera App: 

HDR, Aspect Ratios and ISO are all buzzwords that will be unfamiliar to most of us. These features are however, very easy to understand with a little bit of research. You don’t have to sign up to a photography course either as there are now 100s of quick YouTube tutorials explaining how each of these work and the best times to use them. Practicing with these in the run up to a holiday or family event will give you the best opportunity to improve even simple techniques likes use of angles and framing.


Image of someone taking pictures on their smartphone using a grid to align the shot. Using the built in features of a phone will allow you to take better pictures on your smartphone



One of the first mistakes people make with taking photos is misjudging the lighting. Make sure the location is decently lit so you wont have to depend too much on the use of a strong flash. Any sunlight should be facing your subject and not behind them as this will cause unwelcome shadows. You can of course use editing apps after you have taken the shot but starting with the best lighting you can will limit the need for these effects later. When working in badly lit areas, you will benefit from the use of a tripod or remote shutter accessory. These will allow you to ensure that not only are your pictures well lit, but it will reduce the blur that comes with a shaky hand.


Image of someone using a tripod for their phone to take a picture at night. Accessories like tripods are key to letting you take better pictures on your smartphone


Take Your Time:

In our fast paced lives it can be hard to take a proper moment to capture the perfect shot. Whether you’re trying to get a family snap with an iPad or catching a holiday sunset on your iPhone, taking your time will be the key to getting better pictures. Tap the screen to ensure the photo is fully in focus and only when you’re sure it looks how you want it to, press that shutter button. It can be hard to keep your subject in shot (especially if they’re an unruly child or impatient friend on a night out) but if you don’t like your shot don’t be afraid to ask them to pose or set it up again and again.


To edit or not to edit, that is the question:

In a world of hyper filtered, touched up and downright photo-shopped images clogging up our social feeds, it can be easy to depend on the editing apps we have at our disposal. However, relying on heavily editing your shots after you’ve taken them is a clear sign that they’re not all that great in the first place. This is not to say that you should never edit shots either as even the pros rarely publish a shot straight from their cameras. Play around with editing features and filters on old pictures from your camera roll first to get a feel for what each effect or edit does. Comparing these with both the original and then to similar photos from the professionals will give you a good sense of when editing has a positive and negative effect.


Image of a man taking a selfie in black and white. Successfully editing your pictures after you take them will allow you to produce better pictures on your smartphone


Share Them On Social: 

This may go without saying but sharing the photos you’re most proud of, as opposed to just any photo for the sake of posting, will give you a better sense of where you’re improving. Positive feedback from friends and family will be great for improving your confidence and enthusiasm as you begin to post more and more. Using hashtags on your own posts i.e. #blackandwhite or #portrait will put your photos out there in front of an audience of similar users who may also give you more qualified feedback.


Image of an iPad displaying a selection of Instagram photos. Using a combination of inspiration, practice and continuous improvement will allow you to take better pictures on your smartphone


By utilising these tips and tracking your progress, you’ll be an unstoppable Smartphone or tablet photographer in no time capturing the precious moments of with a keener creative eye! The only thing that may halt your in progress is if your new “camera” gets lost or damaged. Prevent that by taking out a great value gadget insurance policy from today.