How to Shoot & Edit Better Photos with Your Smartphone

August 8, 2018

Even though I’m a professional photographer, I just don’t want to bring my gear with me every where I go!

Using these quick and easy tips, learn how to shoot and edit better-looking images with your smart phone! Check out my Instagram grid and see if you can pick out which photos were taken with my iPhone.

Let’s Be Real

Smart phone photos aren’t going to be comparable to photos taken with professional gear, but there are some tricks you can use to up your camera-phone game!

Lesson One: Find good light.

Here are my top three locations for getting great, even light in your phone photos:

1. Inside: Window Light

  • Place your subject facing a large window. The effect is similar to taking selfies in the car, and we all know how great car light is!!

2. Outside: Shade

  • Shade is your best bet when you’re outside, especially when the sun is at its highest in the middle of the day. Find an awning, a large tree, or open shade from a structure. The key here is even light!

3. Outside: Face Your Shadow

  • If the sun is fewer than three hours from sunrise or sunset, you may be able to mimic the light that professionals use called “backlighting.” That’s when the subject is facing her shadow and the sun shines brightly behind her. Be careful not to let the sun flood the phone’s camera lens or the image will look hazy. Move your feet around until the sun leaves the lens, or use your hand to provide shade for the lens to avoid too much haze. Crisp and clean photos are ideal!
  • Bonus tip: If the sun is already down but there is enough ambient light in the sky, then have your subject face the sun! It’ll provide gorgeous, even light on your subject and your background. (See photo above for an example.)

Lesson Two: Remove Unwanted Objects

If there are obtrusive objects (or people) in your photo, you may be able to remove them using the TouchRetouch app. I love this app!! It’s $1.99 on iTunes and well worth it!

Simply use the brush or lasso tool to remove the unwanted object and POOF! It’s gone! It may not be perfect the first time, so tap the back arrow to try again. Some images may take some time and patience, but keep trying! I was able to remove all of these people from a photo during a girls’ trip to the Seven Magic Mountains exhibit in Las Vegas last summer. You’ll also see that we were facing our shadows (aka backlighting). I used another app (read below) to make additional edits to the photo.

Lesson Three: Forget the Filters — Edit Like a Pro!

Putting a filter on a photo is so 2012 😉 Even Instagram allows you to make custom edits to your pics before posting them, and I use their editing options all the time!

When you’re about to post a photo, click Edit in the lower right hand corner next to the Filter options. There, you can edit the brightness, shadows, contrast, tilt, crop, and more! Play around with it to find your preferable style!

If you’re interested in a separate app just for editing, I love ColorStory! And if you’re in need of an app that helps to smooth skin and lighten under-eye circles, then download the BeautyPlus app–just promise me that you won’t overdo it. Less is more 😉

ColorStory and Beauty Plus are free on iTunes but offer in-app purchases for extra features.

Happy to help.

If you need clarification or help with any of the above tips, please comment below!

And I’d love to see your before & afters if these tricks helped you!

To receive helpful resources for photographers, parents, beauty-lovers, and more, click here to join my email community!

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