Recently I have had a few friends ask me how to take nice pictures using their phones. I’m not talking selfies, rather photos of other people and landscape. The kind that look amazing and professional because the lighting is there and filter acts like a cherry on top. The kind of photos that are mistaken for being taken with professional cameras, but are actually captured using the right technique with an everyday tool. There seems to be a misconception that phone cameras just can’t take pictures as well as DSLR or point-and-shoot cameras, and that may be true but we can get pretty darn close.

You can have the most expensive camera on the market but that doesn’t mean you will take good pictures. As a designer, I love playing and taking pictures with my Canon Compact DSLR, but it is just a tool. There are more important factors then having a good quality camera: focusing on lighting, composition, and what you want to achieve with the pictures that you are taking. All of these factors can make a huge difference. That’s also true for phone cameras.

The best tip I can give a novice who is trying to take great pictures using their smartphone is to treat it like a real one. Don’t just mindlessly snap 100 pictures and hope that 1 out of 100 looks good. Take your time, bring your elbows in and hold your breath to steady the phone if your hands shake. Make sure that there is enough lighting and that you are not shooting directly into the light source. Take an extra second or two to really look at the composition, and tell your favorite cousin to stop watching the game to the left.

There are definitely amazing things that can be said for DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras, like the autofocusing, wider range in zoom, stabilizer settings, and more. But for everyday use and social media posts, using your smartphone can be just as effective. With a little attention to detail, the difference in quality can be incredible. Now whether or not it is a moment worth capturing in the first place is up to you.

Be kind to one another, 
Even in your dreams.