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How to Take Better Pictures with your Smartphone

I am a Blogger Ambassador for U.S. Cellular and I’m sharing ideas on how to take better pictures via that partnership.
All opinions are my own.
Have kids? Use the free U.S. Cellular parent-child agreement tool to set up smart phone practices.

With more and more people using their smartphone camera as their primary way to take photographs it is getting easier and easier to share memories and magical moments with friends and family. I’ve partnered with U.S. Cellular to share tips on how to take better pictures with your smartphone to ensure the photos you take are high quality, and the images are everything you were hoping for.  

Convenience is Key for Images that Rival a DSLR

smartphone photo

A recent survey shows increased use of built-in cameras by smartphone owners on a daily and monthly basis as well as directly sharing those images with friends and through social media. Smartphone devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, have high-resolution cameras that can shoot high-quality images that rival those of expensive Digital SLRs – but users want convenience.

  • U.S. Cellular’s survey revealed that four out of five smartphone owners are taking advantage of the quality and convenience of cell phone cameras and two out of three say they’re sharing those photos through email and social media.
  • Mobile technology really has changed the way people communicate and stay connected, and now it’s helping people capture all of life’s best moments and easily share them with their loved ones.

smartphone photography hot to take better pictures

How to Take Better Pictures with your Smartphone

Want to get the most out of your smartphone camera?

With so many people relying on their smartphone cameras, U.S. Cellular wants to help make sure that all those photos are quality images that will look great. Learning how to take better pictures with your smartphone can be simple, just keep in mind these easy tips:

  • Check the Lens: A dirty lens will cause parts of the picture to be out of focus. Use a clean, soft cloth to wipe away any dirt or lint from the lens on the back of the camera as well as on the front (for selfies).
  • Light Your Subject Well: The better lit your subject is the clearer your image is likely to be: this is just as true with a mobile device as with an expensive camera. Shoot in the sun if you can and move around to get the best light on your subject.
  • Hold Steady: The steadier your camera phone is when taking your shot, the clearer your image will be.
    • Use a small tripod or lean your device against a solid object when taking shots, especially taking into account that in low light situations ‘shutter lag’ (the time between when you press the shutter and when the camera takes the shot) can be noticeably increased.
    • Manual Mode on the LG G5 has an on-screen Level Gauge setting that ensures you get squared and level pictures every time.                          
  • Consider Your Composition & Framing:
    • Follow the Rule of Thirds – avoid placing your subject squarely in the middle of your frame, shoot for a third of the way in instead.
    • Frame your shots through windows, mirrors, other objects that provide some depth and interest to the photo. 
    • Watch your backgrounds so that poles or wires don’t appear to be going through people’s heads. 
    • Look for different angles; and Look for color differences, patterns, and shapes to add compositional interest to your shot. Try your photo both vertically and horizontally to choose which orientation best portrays your subject.
  • Take Plenty of Pictures & Learn: The advantage of digital photography (including that of camera phones) is the ability to shoot off many shots quickly, we have unlimited film, instant feedback and all at no cost. 

How to take better pictures – photography apps to explore:

  • Camera+ (for Apple) and Camera for Android are apps that are great for photo sharing and editing. Both feature a full photo editor that is very user-friendly, along with the ability to connect and share your photos with others.

camera for android how to take better pictures

  • Adobe Photoshop Express is an app that helps edit photos just like the desktop program – one-touch adjustment for contrast, exposure, white balance along with blemish and red-eye removal and 20 one-touch eye-catching effects to give your photos special “looks.”

adobe photoshop express how to take better pictures

  • Snapseed is an app that helps you tune an image to create depth and vibrancy with color saturation, brightness, and contrast and also helps you crop and adjust perspective across the vertical and horizontal axes.


magnifier app

All of these apps are available for free in the Google Play store or the Apple store. With U.S. Cellular’s 4G LTE network, the apps can quickly and easily be downloaded to smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy 7 and 7 Edge, the Apple iPhone 6s and SE, and the LG G5.

One-on-One Photography Help!

Need additional help with your built in camera? U.S. Cellular hosts monthly Device Workshops at locations across the country, and anyone is welcome to attend to learn how to make the most out of their individual mobile device to enhance everyday life. Find a store near you!



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34 Responses to How to Take Better Pictures with your Smartphone

  1. Heather lawrence May 19, 2016 at 9:12 am #

    Yeah for photoshop! I just switched from an apple to an android so I’m kinda like the kid in the candy store picking up apps that are new to me. The camera is much better with the android (in my opinion) than the apple so it will be fun exploring with the new apps. I had no idea of the rule of thirds either..great tips! Pinning this page 🙂

  2. Annemarie LeBlanc May 19, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    I have Snapseed on my phone and it works good! I love the editing options it provides. I will have to check Camera for Android too. Thanks for the tips and for the list of apps we can use.

  3. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle May 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I take pictures with my phone all the time, so anything that can help me tweak them out is welcome. I love technology.
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle recently posted…dressing up to feel fabulous!My Profile

  4. lisa May 19, 2016 at 3:43 pm #

    I love how good the camera is on my smartphone. I don’t need to carry a camera with me anymore. This is great info to take a better picture too.
    lisa recently posted…Starting Conversations With Netflix #streamteamMy Profile

  5. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane May 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

    There are so many wonderful apps out these days. I belong to quite a few iphoneography groups and sometimes I get a pic that turns out better than if I took it with my dslr.

  6. Amanda May 19, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    I absolutely love taking photos, not just for blogging purposes, but because I love to capture our everyday lives…especially since I am so exhausted that my brain will never remember all of our fun. Will definitely look into all of your suggestions!

  7. MyTeenGuide May 19, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    These are very useful tips. I don’t have a camera and I only use my phone for my blog photos. Thank you for sharing this.

  8. Rebecca May 20, 2016 at 5:36 am #

    These are all great tips for taking better pictures with your smartphone. I do know the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge does take amazing photos because both my sons have these phones. Thanks for sharing the tips.

    • Jesica H May 20, 2016 at 10:33 am #

      Hi Rebecca,
      I have this same phone and can get some pretty amazing photos, but you do have to learn how to use it to get better photos. Low light definitely produces lower quality photos as well, so trying to find a well-lit area helps. Also playing with the different ‘modes’ seems to produce different quality photos depending on what you are doing. For instance, in a subject that is moving you want to use the ‘action’ setting as it keeps the photos less blurry (you can turn on voice commands for this to make it much much easier).
      If you need any other tips let me know!

  9. Lynndee May 20, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    I love taking photos using my iPhone, but I’m still learning when it comes to taking better photos. Thank you for the tips and for sharing those apps. Going to check them out!

  10. Melissa May 20, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    My cell phone lens could use a cleaning, I didn’t know my pictures were so bad because of this, I’m excited to make that improvement. Also I didn’t know about this app, so excited to be able to edit on the go.
    Melissa recently posted…Chewy Caramel Chocolate Chunk CookiesMy Profile

  11. Jamie May 20, 2016 at 9:00 am #

    I use the photoshop app regularly. I was very excited to see that PicMonkey is finally adding an app soon too!

  12. Kathy May 20, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    I love using apps. They really do help make photos look nicer. I also think you need to have a decent smartphone in order for it to take beautiful photos.

  13. Jacqui May 20, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    Someone just told me about snapseed yesterday. It makes a huge difference in the pictures and is fun to play with.

  14. Ann Bacciaglia May 20, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    I take a ton of photos with my phone. I will have to try these tips to see if i can get better looking photos.

  15. diana May 20, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these tips especially about the rule of thirds. Snapseed is my go to app because I take a lot of flatlays and it’s really great at brightening up the whites in my instagram photos.
    diana recently posted…Revamping My Spring Beauty Routine with BabbleBoxxMy Profile

  16. Travel Blogger May 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    I love Adobe and I dont use thier express photoshop but I do use their mobile lightroom app which I think is awesome.

  17. Christy June 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

    I have so much trouble with photos and I know it’s because I don’t light them well! I guess I need to take all of my pictures outside. Thanks for all of the great tips. I need them!
    Christy recently posted…The Delilah Dusticle BooksMy Profile

  18. Bri June 5, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    Photo apps are really helpful in producing more high quality photos.Different angles definitely can make an okay picture into an amazing picture.

  19. Brandy June 5, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    These are great tips for taking photos with your smartphone! I love the idea of using your smartphone to take fantastic pictures.

  20. Claudia Krusch June 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I take pictures with my phone all the time, I can’t wait to use your tips!
    Claudia Krusch recently posted…People Are In Love With This Dog Who Looks Like A Blue-Eyed FoxMy Profile

  21. Chrishelle Ebner June 5, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    Great tips for smartphone picture taking. It is amazing how my daughter can manage to take fabulous selfies of a group and mine look just awful. Thanks for the tips.

  22. Christie June 5, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    I love these tips, especially since I take tons of pics with my phone! Some of these apps are new to me, will have to check them out!
    Christie recently posted…How to Make Teeth Brushing Fun This SummerMy Profile

  23. Cathy Mini June 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

    These are some great smartphone photography tips. I use Camera+ to edit my photos and love it.

  24. Gwendolyn Mulholland June 5, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    These are great tips and I need to download an app so I can edit pictures easily on my phone. I will be checking out the ones you mentioned. It is so nice to be able to take great pictures with your smartphone when lugging a camera around is not convenient.

  25. Mommy Peach June 6, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    Thanks for the tips! We could really take better photos with our smartphones, we just need to familiarize ourselves with its features.

  26. Heather June 6, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    I have a Nikon D3100 and I love the crispness of each picture, but I love the convenience of smartphone cameras especially when you want to take a picture but you didn’t bring the camera. I love how advanced these built in cameras have become.

  27. Amy June 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    I am obsessed with learning how to take better photos. Your tips are great. I am really excited to try out the Magnifier & Microscope App. Thanks!
    Amy recently posted…Transform Your Home Into A Relaxing Seaside GetawayMy Profile

  28. Kara w June 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

    You wrotw this article just for me didn’t you 😉

  29. Ashley June 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    This is great info! I love my DSLR, but I don’t always like hauling it around with me everywhere we go. I always have my phone on me though!

  30. Vidya June 6, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

    I have been looking for an app that would make my pictures look better on my smartphone! And, thank you so much for your review. I am getting Adobe Photoshop Express today!

  31. Mike June 7, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    those are some awesome photography tips. We incorporate a bunch of those already, but there are a few gems we hadn’t though of in there. Thanks!

  32. Ana Elizabeth June 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    Amazing tips! I thought this post is for me because I really want to know more apps which I can use to take pictures. It’s my favorite habit actually, take pictures through my smartphone. My favorite subject? Of course my pets! 🙂

  33. CourtneyLynne June 7, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    These are some great tips!!!! I usually shoot with my DSLR but kid you not at least once a week my phone camera will save the day and will shoot something better than the DSLR! Camera phones are pretty fab these days if you use them correctly

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