How To Take A Better Picture With Your Smartphone

by Scott Lewis on July 15, 2013

Why This is Wirefly BUZZworthy

The smartphone has forever changed the way the average person takes spontaneous pictures.  Since most people carry around their smartphones everywhere with them versus only bring out the old point-and-shoot camera for special occasions, more photos are being taken per year than any other time in history.  

For instance, while walking down the street in Reston, Virginia, you might run into a local celebrity like...Scott Lewis the video reviewer and blog writer from Wirefly.  A few years ago, if you didn't have your point-and-shoot camera with you, you would have only been able to tell the story to your friends.  In the smartphone era, you can take a picture with me, I mean the local celebrity that you run into and post a high-definition copy to your social media sites for everyone to see instantly.  Even better, if no one happens to be around to take the picture, you can use the front camera on your smartphone to make sure we, I mean you are both in the picture and looking at the camera.

What You Need to Know Before You Start

If you know you're going to be taking a lot of pictures and video, make sure to check the amount of open storage you have available. Nothing is worse than trying to take a spontaneous picture and getting a message about insufficient storage when you hit the shutter button.

If your smartphone has a place to insert a microSD card, you can expand the storage capacity of your phone.  The other added benefit of using a microSD card is that you can easily transfer your pictures to a different phone of even a computer for archiving.  

Watch How To Take A Better Camera Phone Photo

Let's Get Started

Tip 1: A Clean Lens Is A Happy Lens

A Clean Lens Is A Happy Lens

If you know you are going to be taking a bunch of pictures during a given day, make sure to clean the camera lens on your smartphone.  Just in case you need to take some self-portraits, don't forget about cleaning off the glass that covers the front camera.  The best thing to use is a micro-fiber cloth that you would use to clean eyeglasses.  This is a very important tip because we carry around our smartphones all day getting dirt, oil, and grime on your smartphone from your hands, face, and purse.

Tip 2: Light Is Your Friend

Light Is Your Friend

Lighting your subject correctly can make or break a picture.  You should always try to have the main light source, whether it's the sun or light from an inside lamp, behind you.  We've all taken a picture that we thought was going to be perfect, only to realize that your friends' faces are covered by a shadow that makes the picture look too dark.

Tip 3: Use Specialty Shooting Modes When They Make Sense

Use Specialty Shooting Modes When They Make Sense

Most of the cameras on smartphones right now have some special camera modes that tailor the performance of the camera to the conditions.  Take for example this comparison between a picture taken in standard auto mode and the one next to it take in HDR or high dynamic range mode.  You can see a broader spectrum of colors in the HRD photo that gives your pictures a more realistic and accurate look and feel.

Tip 4: Zoom With Your Body

Zoom With Your Body

Using the digital zoom on your smartphone should be a last resort if you cannot get physically closer to your subject.  Digital zoom takes your image and makes each pixel in the image a little larger, which affects the quality of your photo.  It's a lot like zooming in on a picture on your computer.  You can see from the sample picture, the difference that it can make by physically getting closer to your subject vs. using digital zoom.

Tip 5: Don

Don't Be Afraid To Edit Your Pictures

You can dramatically change the look of your pictures by using the editing options on your smartphone.  Each phone will have a slightly different set of options and users interface, but all should be very easy to use.  So don't delete the pictures that come out less than 100% perfect without taking a minute to see if you can work some Hollywood magic on them.


Those are my top tips for taking better pictures with your smartphone.  Now you're ready to share great pictures of your adventures on all of your social media sites.