How to Make a Good Photo On Your Phone

A smartphone is the easiest tool to capture events and emotions while traveling. However, the quality of the resulting images often leaves much to be desired. Cole Rice, a photographer and traveler, reveals some of the secrets of mobile photography to help you take stunning photos from your trip.

Cole Rise is a popular photographer, traveler and creator of the Rise preset for Instagram. His photographs differ in that even after processing, they look natural. Cole shared his secrets on how to shoot on a mobile phone and edit photos so that in quality they are close to the pictures from SLR cameras.

1. Add light to the shadows and darken the highlights

Most photo editing tools have options for adjusting light and shadow. And you need to use it.

To enhance nature photography, Cole balanced the exposure by adding light to the shadows and darkening the highlights a bit. He also applied the Winsy filter from the collection of the Litely app to the photo to bring warm colors to the image.

2. Add a vignette and shadow effect to brighten the photo

The vignetting effect adds a dark border around the perimeter of the photo and brightens its middle. This is one of Cole’s favorite tricks. The original photo would be too dark, so Cole increased saturation and added a bit of sharpness to separate the balloon from the landscape. This allowed to keep the photo natural.

3. Edit the image and then return all settings back to 50%

It is very important.

The trick is to make your photo look natural. Edit the image as you used to do it, and then return all settings back to 50%.

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Last year, Instagram users finally got the opportunity to control the power of the filters. To use these settings, simply select a filter and then click on it again.

And one more tip: do not use the LUX tool on Instagram. His task is to correct the lack of contrast, which makes the photo unnatural.

4. Capture people wherever possible

Landscapes look better when there are people on them. The person in the photograph is able to convey feelings. The best example of how people add personality to a picture is the work of Murad Osmann, who photographs himself holding his girlfriend’s hand in different parts of the world (follow me series).

Tip 5. People help convey the scale of objects

Video: How to Make a Good Photo On Your Phone


These are the ruins of the ancient city of Jerash. If you remove a person from this photo, then we will not feel the scale and grandeur of this building.

6. Try taking pictures by leaning out of a car window

You will never know in advance what you will succeed. In the case of the iPhone, just hold down the shutter button and hold to take photos in burst mode. On a smartphone running Android, you can enable burst shooting by selecting the appropriate mode (Burst Mode) in the camera settings. On Samsung smartphones, it may be called Burst Shot. When creating this photo, Cole used the Slow Shutter Cam to add a blur effect.

7. To get an interesting shot, place your smartphone on the roof of the car

If there are clouds in the sky, then their reflection on the roof of the car will add some zest to the photos.

How to Make a Good Photo On Your Phone

8. Lower the gadget to the surface of the water to create a cool reflective effect.

9. Hold your smartphone upright when shooting for Instagram

To simplify your task, hold the camera upright: it’s easier to fit everything you need for the frame into a square area. Better yet, immediately configure the camera to capture only square images.

10. When shooting landscapes, press the volume button to release the shutter

Did you know that you can simply open the camera on the iPhone and press the volume button to take a picture? The same is true for phones running Android. In Samsung Galaxy S4, assign the shutter function to the volume button in the settings instead of the default zoom function. Such castling of buttons will make it more convenient to take the phone to avoid the effect of “shaking hands”, which can ruin the photo.

11. Get closer to the ground if you want to bring the subject to the fore

Smartphone cameras have poor depth of field, so you can resort to tricks. For example, lower the camera closer to the ground.

12. Do not attract attention or carry a backpack.

13. Bad weather = great photo

Do not run away when it starts to rain or hail. These are excellent conditions in order to make a good shot. Cloudy and cloudy days are an opportunity to capture interesting patterns in the sky. Do not sit at home even when the weather seems to be non-flying.

14. Be prepared to shoot even in the most unexpected moments.

It is not always possible to thoroughly prepare for the shooting, unexpected moments also happen. Like, for example, this shot with a low flying airplane. Therefore, if you do not want to miss excellent shots, learn the hot keys of your phone. For example, Samsung smartphones in the settings have the Camera Quick Access option. And the new Galaxy S6 has built-in hot keys, you just need to double-click the Home button.

15. To get better shots, go further than others

The only way to discover beautiful places is to force yourself to explore. Want to get custom shots? Move farther away from crowded places.

In general, as Cole says, live a vibrant life, then great photos will appear themselves.