10 Mobile Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know

10 Mobile Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know

As photographers, whether you’re a pro or just a hobbyist, we all want to be able to capture life’s special moments. Since we often don’t know when a special moment might happen it’s important to always be ready for a photo opportunity.

Lucky for us, this is easier than ever with the rapid increase in cell phone camera quality. It’s often said that the best camera is the one you have with you, and most of us have our phones with us at all times.

So here are some tips and tricks to help you get the best images with your phone camera:

1. Quick access to camera

Great photo opportunities only last a few seconds before they’re gone, so it’s  important to have quick access to your phone’s camera. On the iPhone, from the lock screen simply swipe left to access your camera, or swipe up and tap the camera icon. Or press and hold the camera icon in the Control Center screen to immediately pull up a multiple choice option menu with Take a Selfie, Record a Video, Record Slo-Mo, and Take a Photo. 

camera settings on iphone

2. Focus on your subject

After tapping your finger on the screen and on the subject of your photo to set focus, slide your finger up to brighten or down to darken the image. This is great for backlit situations when you would need to brighten your subject. Or you might want to darken the image to create a silhouette. Your camera is simply a tool and so it’s up to your to artistically take control of your overall image exposure. 

focus on subject on iphone camera

3. Adjust focus and exposure

Tapping and holding on your camera’s screen will lock the focus and exposure and enable you to recompose the image without changing your exposure or focus. You can also adjust the locked exposure brighter or darker by sliding your finger up or down as mentioned in the previous tip, and it will stay locked with your new modified exposure as you change your composition.  Tap anywhere on the screen again to turn it off. 

Adjusting camera settings on cell phone

4. Add a filter

Selecting the icon with three little circles opens up your filter choices to change the look of your photo. This filters can also be selected after you take the photo by clicking on Edit. If you change your mind you can also select Revert to remove all edits done to the photo.

 adding filters to cell phone photos 

 5. Use Burst Mode

Holding your finger on the shutter button fires the camera in burst mode capturing many images per second. Then tap on Select to be able to view them all. This is great for action shots and also for group photos so that hopefully you get a shot with nobody blinking! 

using burst mode when taking cell phone pictures

6. Rule of Thirds

In Settings go to Camera and turn on Grid to help you compose your photo with the Rule of Thirds compositional aid.

7. Use HDR settings

Use HDR (high dynamic range) mode in difficult lighting situations with a wide range of very bright and dark areas. This mode combines 3 different exposures into one final image. Results vary so go to Settings/Camera and select the option to Keep Normal Photo which saves your original image as well as the HDR version.

using HDR settings

8. Capture the photo with alternate solutions

Reduce camera shake by using your headphone volume controls to trigger the camera’s shutter. If you have Bluetooth headphones you can be totally wireless and completely remove camera shake with your phone mounted on a tripod.

Other ways to trigger the camera include using the volume controls on the side of the camera or the self-timer.  You can also use an Apple Watch to trigger the shutter on your iPhone and also to provide a remote viewfinder.

9. Clean your lens

This may sound obvious, but a dirty lens will decrease the quality of your photo. Don’t forget to clean it before you start snapping away!

10. Edit your photos

Finally, improve your photos with photo editing apps such as Snapseed and VSCO. These apps will allow you a wide range of control over your image with adjustments to exposure, white balance, contrast, saturation, cropping, sharpening, adding effects and much more.


We hope these tips help you master the art of cell phone photography. What are your best cell phone photography tips?



  1. Phyllis Miller

    Good suggestions for iPhone users. Post solutions for Android users.

  2. Hailey Chaffin

    Thanks for these great tips!!!!

  3. ” This article was Both helpful and dynamic as far as phone cameras are concerned , and helpful as nwell, thanks for the post, I needed this. Izz “.

  4. thank you it was very useful.

  5. Really helpful article. I’m going to test it out on my house but I honestly think that the best results would happen when using the tips.

  6. Heather Hauck

    great info!

  7. One of my favorite photo editing apps is the free version of Lightroom CC. It’s great for lightening up shadows and toning down the light when photos were taken in bad lighting situations. I’ll often add a filter to the photo using PICSPLAY.

  8. Thank you very much. Always helpful to learn new tricks with iPhone. Much appreciated.

  9. hi, so on my iPhone when i set the focus and then you say move your finger to the right or left to brighten or lighten what happens is the iPhone moves to video, or slo mode it moves to the next thing, like pano…not brightening or darkening…help!

  10. Hi readers,

    This is Amy from the photography website PhotoWhoa.com.
    This is a really good article to learn some executable tips about mobile photography. So Ever Thought Of A Day When Your Camera Could Fit In Your Pocket? And do you want to use your phone in this situation so that you dont want to miss that shot.

    Here is an amazing guide on mobile photography https://www.photowhoa.com/deals/mobile-photography/

  11. Have a small glossy black and white from the 1940’s image is 2.25″ * 4″ and would like to enlarge it 4 times more.
    If you are in hunt valley, I would like to drop by to have it copied.

  12. Thanks for the info!


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