Photography 101: Shooting on Your Smart Phone

Not everyone can afford to take photos for their blog & social channels with a big fancy camera and you know what, that’s okay.

In fact, you really don’t need a big fancy camera to create wonderful images.

It’s the creativity you put into your photographs and your determination that makes a beautiful image (even if that means using your smart phone).

When I first started my Instagram account I used only my iPhone 6. Of course, being a photographer, I soon felt myself craving more flexibility and control over my images so I went back to my trusty Canon 60D.

If you’re interested in finding out more about my photography equipment or you too prefer shooting with a camera, I would definitely suggest you jump over to this post.

It is honestly amazing how far technology has come. The quality of images you can create with an iPhone 6 are just about as good as a DSLR (in some cases).

I think my first ever camera was about 2 megapixels (oh god) and now your standard smart phone is 12 megapixels & above. It’s incredible.

So, if you’re not ready to jump into the world of DSLR’s just yet, keep reading for 5 of the greatest tips for shooting with your smart phone.


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Unfortunately, your smart phone won’t give you as much control as a DSLR and that’s why I’d recommend taking in as much natural lighting as possible. Whether you shoot outside in the shade (overcast days are great too) or find yourself a big bright window – surround yourself with as much natural lighting as you can.

Of course, I understand that not everyone has the ability and/or time to use natural lighting because of work, kids, commitments etc. That’s where soft boxes come in! I currently use a set of 2 soft boxes when I’m shooting (even with my camera) that gives my images a boost of light. Shooting on a smart phone, you will need to be careful that you don’t get any crazy colour casts over your images as this can often happen.

Should your photos not turn out as light as you’d hoped, there’s no need to fear ’cause Facetune is here. No sh*t you guys, Facetune is the best app for whitening & brightening images, sharpening details – the lot. Pretty please [yes, I’m begging you] go check out this app along with a few others I’d recommend for anyone serious about Instagram & blogging.




I apologise in advance if this offends anyone, but I really dislike rectangular images on Instagram. As for blogs, it’s the opposite – I really dislike square images on here. I don’t know why I’m so straight down the line with it, I guess it’s just the aesthetic of it really.

As your Instagram account is set up in a square grid (see above photo), it’s much nicer to upload square images.

The preview you see on your profile is the same as what you’ll get when you click the image for a larger version. It’s kind of a “what you see is what you get” thing. So if you’re uploading rectangular images, it’s likely that when people view your feed, they’re not getting to see the whole shot (wahhhh).

To shoot in square mode on an iPhone, you just need to open your camera and swipe to the left once. On an Android smart phone, open your camera, select the Settings button (cog wheel) & turn Grid Lines on to Square.




Whilst most smartphones have amazing cameras, you still have to do a bit of manual labour too. There’s nothing worse than taking tonnes of photos only to have a proper look back later & realise half are out of focus. Yes, I still do it..

One thing you can do to avoid this happening is to hold your finger (for a couple of seconds) on where you want the camera to focus & voila, no more blurriness! I’m fairly sure that most of the latest smart phones now days should auto focus your image but I always prefer to focus the image myself.

On my iPhone 6s, when I hold my finger down to focus an image, it displays AE/AF Lock. If this pops up, you know you’ve done your job & you can start shooting!

Photography 101: Shooting on Your Smart Phone


Ahhhh this old chestnut. Who would have thought that a quick wipe of your smart phone lens would take a photo from a 4 to a 10?
Seriously though ladies & gents, you need to clean your lens before taking any kind of photo. There’s potentially fingerprints, dust, food (#guilty) & who knows what else from the bottom of your handbag on there! Ewww… Do you really want your followers to be seeing all of that? I know I don’t..

So, grab a soft tissue or the bottom of your shirt and give your camera lens a quick wipe & away you go! You’ll be surprised how much sharper your images will be & how much more professional they look.



To really take your smart phone photos to the next level, you should look at turning on the grid. But Elley, how will turning the grid on make my photos better? Great question.. (#lol) It’s all about composition kids. I could go on for yonks about composition and how to make your photos aesthetically pleasing so people just can’t look away, but honestly, we’d be here for hours.

If you’re not too into photography or don’t know too much about composition, check out my Instagram feed. You’ll see that I have majority of my photos either centred or set out using the rule of thirds.

To turn on your grid on, all you need to do is have a little search in your settings. On an iPhone, just go to Settings Photos & Camera > Select Grid (until it goes green). On an Android smart phone, open your Camera & tap the Settings “Cog Wheel” in the top left corner of the screen & select Grid Lines 3 x 3.


Now that you’ve mastered smart phone photography,  jump over here next for the DSLR tips!





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Shooting on Your Smartphone