Girl sat among pink flowers at Heligan Gardens

10 tips for taking better pictures on your phone

With these smartphone photography tips from sharpshooter Elaine Taylor (@sunflowerof21) you can take better holiday photos with the tiny camera in your pocket.

Read on, or click on the link to download a PDF of our smartphone camera tips.

Our photo challenge

We’re challenging Seaview holidaymakers to take 500 amazing holiday photos this summer. Use the tips below, and get ideas from Elaine’s pictures on the right, to take a brilliant photo and then share it with us on Facebook or Instagram using the tag #SEAVIEWPIX to appear in our picture gallery.

Our favourite photo will win £500 towards a Seaview Holiday Village holiday*. Click here for full details.


10 tips for amazing smartphone holiday photos

1/ Know your camera

If you know the basics of your phone camera you won’t need to miss a shot and you’ve got a better chance of taking good quality photos. Learn the standard functions, especially focus, exposure and how to turn the flash on and off. Things like burst mode and self timer can be really useful.

2/ Clean the lens

Your phone is used and moved around a lot so it can easily pick up dust and dirt, which will affect the light passing through and impact on the quality of your photos. Keep your lens clean to ensure you get the sharpest and clearest images possible.

3/ Think about composition

Great composition can make an eye-catching image, so identify the main focus of your photo and where it will be positioned. Look out for cluttered distracting backgrounds and unwanted features and change the composition by moving your own position. Most phone cameras will have a grid function you can switch on to make it easier to position lines (eg horizons) and key elements.

4/ Experiment with different perspectives

Different perspectives of the same scene can create a range of really interesting images. A mobile phone is small and light so you can easily change your position to find interesting points of view. Try new angles, get up high or low down on the ground, photograph your subject from behind, shoot from the hip.

5/ Think about light

Light can create interesting shapes, shadows and silhouettes – it can have a huge impact on your images. Natural light is usually best, so try to avoid using the phone’s flash (it’s probably not that great). Move around as you look at your subject through the phone and see how the light changes before you take any shots.

6/ Zoom with your feet not your phone

The zoom function on mobile phones is not that great and will lessen the quality of your photos. It’s better to move in closer to your subject instead if you can.

7/ Keep your phone to hand and shoot lots

Keep your phone close and your camera apps accessible so you never miss a photo opportunity. For the best chance of getting that perfect picture keep snapping; you can review the shots and delete any that didn’t work later.

8/ Play with apps

There are great camera apps that can transform your photos into something really creative and interesting. Don’t rely on apps to correct bad photos though, and try not to over edit. Some good all round apps are Snapseed, ProCamera, VSCO Cam and Afterlight.

9/ Look around and be inspired

There’s a world of inspiration if you want to take your mobile photography further. Social media networks such as Instagram, Flickr and EyeEm have specific groups relating to mobile photography and if you see something you like you can ask how it was created – people are usually happy to share their processes. There are fantastic online mobile photography resources such as The App Whisperer, Mobiography.net and The iPhone Photography School.

10/ Have fun!

Play around with different picture ideas and get all the family involved – and be proud of the amazing images you can create.
Elaine TaylorAbout Elaine Taylor: my interest in mobile photography started with my first iPhone and the Instagram app. I’m a very active Instagram user and moderate for a number of groups. I’m also the UK & Ireland editor-at-large for Shootermag, an ambassador for ink361.com and a beta tester for a range of mobile photography apps. I am mum to two young boys who are the main subjects of my photographs. I love taking photos of my boys and turning them into something a little bit different from every day snaps. My aim is to capture images that reflect my boys’ childhood and their personalities.

See my photos across social media under the name @sunflowerof21 here:

  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunflowerof21/
  • Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sunflowerof21/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/sunflowerof21
  • EyeEm: https://www.eyeem.com/sunflowerof21