photos with a phone

Our top tips on how to take great photos with a phone

These days, many of us don’t think twice about using our phones as cameras. Phones are handy and compact and offer more and more features that provide high-quality photos. Want to go beyond automatic mode and the default camera settings? Here, Back Market shows you how to improve your shots by using a few photography tips and changing some settings. 



A photo’s exposure is only correct when the image sensor receives the right amount of light. If your scene contains lighter and darker areas, a phone will probably struggle to decide which it should use to determine the light balance. Adjust the exposure yourself if your phone will let you.


ISO sensitivity

ISO sensitivity means how sensitive your phone’s digital sensor is to light. Just remember this: turn up the ISO for dark or night scenes. Because automatic mode won’t necessarily be all that great, try changing the setting yourself.



With bracketing, you can avoid testing every different exposure by having the camera automatically take several photos at different exposures. Although phones don’t currently come with a bracketing feature, you can install an app with it on. Try Photo Bracketing for iPhone, HDR Camera for Android and HDR Photo Camera for Windows Phone.


HDR mode

With HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode, you can create a photo with a greater light to dark ratio. This captures various levels of light in one image and means every part of the photo has the right exposure – whether low-light or bright. It’s a super handy feature.


Depth of field

Playing with depth of field gives stunning photos: a shallow depth of field gives you a clear subject and blurred background, for example. Meanwhile, a large depth of field results in faraway objects being clear. As phones don’t tend to come with the ability to adjust this setting, you will need an app like PHOforPHO on Android or myPhotoDOF on iOS, or to adjust ISO sensitivity. A low value gives a shallow depth of field, while a large value will make everything in the photo clear.



The zoom you find on phones is a digital zoom that uses software to get a closer-up image. This leads to blurring. Instead, get as close as possible to your subject to keep as many pixels as possible.


First, make sure the horizon is straight. Yes, this is basic, but 10 minutes of carefully adjusting settings won’t do you any good if the horizon is sloping!

Next, use the rule of thirds: a simple concept to structure the composition of a painting or photo. Divide your frame into three, both horizontally and vertically. This creates four points where the lines intersect. The most important subjects in your compostion should be between these points. Imagine you’re with your young nephew at the beach. Put the child at the lower left intersection and the horizon along the top horizontal line.Easy peasy!


For some help, you can put a grid on your screen. iPhones come with this feature (Settings > Camera > Grid), while Android users will need to install an app.

Finally, to avoid moving as you press the shutter button, why not use the timer? This is simple and effective. It’s also worth cleaning your phone’s camera lens regularly…

Bonus: Impress your friends by using another device to take a photo of the reflections on your phone screen for an incredible shot! Simply place the screen below the lens of the device taking the photo.

And that’s it – over to you! Use the holidays to test all this out and capture your best moments in fantastic photos taken with your phone!

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