6 Tips to Help Take Great Photos With Your Smartphone

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How many pictures did you take during your last vacation? And how many of those were with a smartphone? With the rise of Instagram and other social media sites taking pictures with smartphones is becoming a very popular way to document your travels. Instagram, alone, has roughly 80 million photos uploaded a day.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to take a picture worthy of bragging about. No, that picture you took of your feet while you were lounging on the beach probably isn't as good as you think. The good news: it's an easy problem to fix. So take note, and let the "likes" speak for themselves.

Avoid zooming in

​One of the biggest tips I can give any aspiring photographer with a smartphone: do not zoom in! Zooming in can compromise the quality of the photo dramatically. If you're taking a picture and think you are too far away from the subject, get closer. If you can't get as close as you'd like, I'd recommend cropping it later. That way, you won't compromise the quality of the photo, and it gives you the opportunity to play around with the bigger image later.

Turn gridlines on


This may be the easiest way to see an instant improvement in your photos. The gridlines will allow you to see if your shot is properly lined up. You're probably asking "what's proper and what's not?" That's a good question. The answer: remember the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is "the basis for well balanced and interesting shots." The lines superimposed on your phone are based on this rule, which allows the photographer to easily visualize what should go where.

Look for unique perspectives

One of my favorite things to look for when taking pictures is a unique perspective/weird angle. Unique angles make for memorable pictures. Some easy ways to change the perspective of the photo is to get lower or higher than normal when taking a picture. Or put the phone where you can't go to snap a picture.

Look for symmetry

​There's something about symmetrical photos that pleases the eye. And you can easily find photo opportunities whether it's man made, or in nature.

Think outside the box

By this, I mean look for reflections that'll make for an awesome photo. You can use a lake, pond, puddle, windows, or glasses. Any one of those (or more) can make for a unique photo. Be keen on the details. Whether that's repetitive patterns or intricate details in a wood table, there's a reason most have heard the saying "it's the little things."

Keep the flash off whenever possible

Flashes, especially on smartphones, can do some pretty funky things. One example is that it can mess with the colors in the photo quite a bit. And, let's be honest, the flash on a smartphone isn't very good at all. Sure, there might be occasions when you may need to use it. But whenever possible, avoid using it while taking pictures with your phone. You'll be glad you did.

Bottom line

These days smartphones have the ability to take amazing pictures. And even though the technology is there, it can't do everything. The tips I listed above can turn a photo that was only going to be "okay" into something a whole lot more.