Mobile Photography Tips

I’ll admit, there was a time when I would see clean, crisp, and colorful photos coming down my timeline on Instagram and refused to believe all of that dopeness was coming from a mobile phone. Not only that — I didn’t understand how they were doing it. Sure, there are different apps out there that can help give even the occasional mobile photographer a boost but what I saw was consistency.


What were they doing that I was not?! *throws tantrum*


Over time (and lots of practice) I learned a few tricks and developed my own style. 

And now, I’m going to share my top tips with you on how to tell a better visual story using mobile photography.


Before I jump in, here a few things to keep in mind:

  • Clean your lens. Ya’ll this one is so important. Sure, your phone probably spends a lot of time in your hands — but what of all of the other times? O_O yea. so clean it.

  • Double tap to focus. This helps in particularly low light and potentially overexposed situations. Even if the light isn’t an issue, double tap anyway. It just helps. A LOT.

  • No flash. I’m personally not a fan of the flash because well...editing tools. Plus, flash can make things weird. So ditch the flash! But if you must...chile, I guess.

  • No zoom. Crop & edit later. While mobile phones are E V E R Y T H I N G, they aren’t really built for zooming like you think. It just crops the frame. So save yourself some time (and probably warped, not as dope photos) and just crop and edit the photo later.

Ok! Now that that’s out the way….TO THE TIPSSSSS.

While beauty is subjective, I'd say without a doubt, we are surrounded by it at every moment. Sometimes all it takes is for us to slow down. Every now and then, I find myself snapping photos of something that I would usually just pass by in my haste to get from point A to point B. In those moments I am reminded to take the time to embrace the beauty that's right in front of me. The next time that you're out, take on your surroundings with a fresh mindset like you've never been there before. Discover and capture the beauty around you.

Lighting in a photograph is everything. And playing with it can be really fun. A few weeks ago, one of my friends was editing some photos and let me peek in on her process. She showed me the before and after of the photograph and I saw that she edited out the shadow. Her goal was to have a clean photograph and thought the shadow got in the way. Naturally, I challenged her to consider the shadow as an added layer to the photo story. Lighting (and lack thereof) can make the subject of the photo more interesting — thus making its appearance in my photos a must. Chase the shadows and make them your friend! 

I'm always looking for ways to make my photos more compelling. So, I started experimenting with different angles. I would identify my subject (aka the thing I wanted to photograph) crouch down, tilt my phone up or stand on top of an elevated surface and snap the picture. In each case, I was inspired by looking up. Get creative and find offbeat ways to bring your perspective ways to life.

I take photographs for one thing and one thing only — the feels! I want to both remember how I felt in the moment and try to project those feelings in the photograph. For this reason, up close and personal shots of my surroundings are my favorite. While you're out in your daily routine, take a second to get close (and at the same time, respectful) to nature's and/or womanmade gifts.  

Being in an environment that is constantly in motion (like being at a concert, a busy intersection, or road trip) can make for some pretty unforgettable moments. It can also be predictable. I don't mean in a baseless sense but in an intentional, decisive way. That's right, you can soak in + observe your environment, bring stillness to a moving scene, make a choice on your subject and wait for the magic to unfold. But have your camera ready! I captured this shot during a road trip and peeped the storm in the distance. I knew right away that I wanted to snap it and waited for my moment in the sun. #punny  


That's all for now. What are some of your favorite mobile photography tips? 


All photos were taken using an iPhone 4s or 5s. Edited using VSCOcam + presets purchased on my own. To see more of my mobile photos, click here and here