5 tips for taking better photographs with your phone

National Geographic photographer, Stephen Alvarez is no stranger to capturing the world in detail.

He talks about what he sees as the simple secrets to taking great photographs on your phone.

With a phone being small enough to not attract any attention, you can capture images of people in their natural state, images you wouldn’t be able to with a normal camera.

1. Watch the Light

Shooting during midday when the light is the harshest? Find a way to use it to your advantage. Sunlight has an effect on the outcome of the photographs depending on the time of the day you shoot. Morning sunlight is the best time to shoot as the light is softer and adds a special glow to subjects.


2. Shoot High, Shoot Low, Shoot Sideways

Don’t be bound to the “regular” ways of shooting. Don’t be afraid to photograph from different perspectives and angles. Get down on the ground, climb up the stairs, or lean out a window for something new.

Dawn breaks behind Ama Dablam, shot from a ridge in Khumjung, Nepal.

3. Make Friends

Portraits are great images that can captivate and also share a story about that particular moment. Make new friends and don’t be afraid to ask people if you can take their photograph.


4. Pay Attention to your Edges

Frame your photos with different layers like trees, leaves, mountains etc. This will add depth to the image. Also pay attention to whether you are cropping an image too much.

5. Shoot Early, Shoot Late

The best light is definitely during “golden hour” (the first hour of light in the morning and the hour preceding sunset) when the sunlight has been filtered by the atmosphere, removing the harsh blues. Take advantage.


Facebook Comments

Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. 2015-02-09 / 15:00

    Sometimes I don;t like to shoot sideways. It messes up my Instagramming LOL, and it;s all about Instagram for me. These are all awesome tips.

  2. 2015-02-09 / 19:38

    I use my phone as my primary camera like i am sure allot of people do. Thanks for the info, i will take it into account the next time i am talking pics.

  3. 2015-02-09 / 19:46

    Thank you for these tips. I am really bad at taking pictures and can use all the help I can get!

  4. 2015-02-09 / 21:04

    Thanks so much for these great tips. I usually shy away from using my phone’s camera. I’ll have to give it a go.

  5. 2015-02-09 / 23:11

    These are such great tips!!! Shooting with a phone can be kinda tricky sometimes…especially when shooting on time

  6. 2015-02-10 / 00:16

    These are very helpful tips…although I think my problem is that I need a new phone! The camera on mine is horrible!

  7. 2015-02-10 / 00:17

    Wow, great photos. Very useful tips too. My hubby and I are always complaining that our pictures we take via phone are terrible. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Jacqueline
    2015-02-10 / 00:26

    I take all my Etsy photos of my beadwork with my iPhone. It was really a skill and nothing like using a normal camera. I find shooting with the sun behind the object but not pointing the camera up really helps.

  9. 2015-02-10 / 01:34

    Wow that was a fantastic tips! I had a great time to read your tips. I really love to sohot to my iphone. This one really helps very helpful tips.

  10. 2015-02-10 / 01:58

    Great tips. I love to take photographs and I feel that lighting is crucial to taking a good photo. I have a problem with one of my cameras, it’s not great in the dark, but outdoors it’s fantastic.

  11. 2015-02-10 / 02:14

    I do like your tips – some are reminders for me from classes I’ve had – but a few are just great new ones – I liked your post! 🙂

  12. 2015-02-10 / 02:20

    My phone takes really great photos but I tend to ruin them. I move or do something so these tips will be a great help!

  13. 2015-02-10 / 03:25

    Light is so very important, and so difficult to fully master. I have been trying to use right appropriately for over 3 years.

  14. 2015-02-10 / 03:36

    Lighting is such a struggle for me with my phone. But I’m still rocking an older iPhone. Maybe it’s time to upgrade, eh?

  15. 2015-02-10 / 03:59

    I use a blackberry and I can choose various different sizes of photos to take. It’s super handy.

  16. 2015-02-10 / 04:24

    Thanks for the tips! I have more than a few unusable photos on my phone. I have to remember to shoot everything sideways!

  17. 2015-02-10 / 05:00

    Cropping an image is important and it’s one of the first lessons we learned in a photography class. It’s nice to take advantage of the light because it impacts a lot on the result of the photo.

  18. Elizabeth O.
    2015-02-10 / 06:02

    These tips can help me take better pictures with my phone! That’s really my problem!

  19. 2015-02-10 / 11:30

    Love these fun picture tips! I’m currently taking a photography class and these tips are spot on with what they are teaching!

  20. 2015-02-10 / 11:44

    Lighting is very important – it can make or break your shot. I often find a lot of photos that should’ve been good but didn’t have that oomph factor because of bad choice of lighting. Framing is also essential. It’s tricky but at the same time it’s simple and can instantly add drama to your shots.

  21. 2015-02-10 / 17:24

    These are great tips for taking photos with your phone. I always use my phone for pictures. I will have to remember to use these.

  22. 2015-02-10 / 19:49

    Didn’t know about the golden hour. Thank you for the tip. I so love taking photos using my iPhone. Gorgeous photos, by the way..

  23. 2015-02-10 / 23:38

    I can take some pretty great photos with my iPhone. But, I have had years of practice. I have a point n shoot that I rarely use these days. My dslr is what I use for my food photos. Sometimes I just hate dealing with it because it is so big and bulky.

  24. 2015-02-11 / 01:02

    I like the shoot early, shoot late tip. I have a couple of great shots from those times of the day too.

  25. 2015-02-11 / 04:43

    I still have so much to learn about how to take pictures. I love my new phone because it has a great camera. Great post

  26. 2015-02-11 / 06:55

    Amazing tips! I want to use my phone for so much more and these tips are super helpful!

  27. 2015-02-11 / 21:02

    Great tips on Cell phone pics! Sometimes I think I can do much better…especially at night and during sundown.

    • 2015-02-15 / 11:08

      I know how you feel!

  28. 2015-02-12 / 00:48

    Those are great tips! Thanks for sharing, I’m always looking to improve my photography skills

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *