Calendar iconJul 12, 2023

How to Take Pictures Like a Pro

Yes, you can take professional photos!
How to Take Pictures Like a Pro

Reading tme: 9 minutes

These days, smartphone cameras are almost as good as those the professionals use. Really. Camera phones have come a long way and you can get some beautiful shots with them. That's why PureTalk thinks it's worth learning how to use your smartphone camera well.

It's not difficult to learn how to take better smartphone photography, and learning to do so can make your holiday, personal, and professional photos even better. Never again will you cut off the top of people’s heads or leave family members out of focus! Seriously.

Follow these smartphone photography tips and you’ll improve your photography skills, take better photos, and have good pictures worthy of posting and printing.

1. For a professional photo, balance your shot by using gridlines:

Three happy, mature women taking a selfie on the beach.

When you turn on your phone’s gridlines, it superimposes a series of lines on the screen of your camera. According to the experts at EasyPlugIns, these “straight lines in the grid can help you maintain evenness in your photos, helping you prevent skewed or lopsided shots.” If you place your subject – your grandchild opening a present Christmas morning, for instance – along the lines, your photo will be more level and balanced. It makes a huge difference.

To turn the gridlines on:

On iPhone: Go to "Settings," select "Photos & Camera," and switch "Grid" on.

On Android: Launch the camera app, go to "Settings," scroll down and switch the "gridlines" option to "on."

Apply the rule of thirds:

Mature couple on a sailboat taking a selfie.

The pros at Photography Life tell us that “The Rule of Thirds is a type of off-center composition where important elements of a photograph are placed along a 3×3 grid, which equally divides the image into nine parts. This type of composition is a basic way to give structure to photographs and make them more appealing.”

When working with the three-by-three grid, you should aim to get the most interesting parts of your image near the corners of these segments, where the imaginary gridlines meet. Using the rule of thirds give a more natural feeling to the image and allows the eye to flow around the picture with ease.

2. Determine where you want your camera to focus:

Two women sitting outside at night smiling and taking a selfie.

Your phone camera is automatically set to focus on the foreground of your frame, by default settings but if the image in the foreground isn’t what you want to be your focal point, you can adjust that.

To adjust the focal point:

A dad and his adult son relaxing on a walkway and taking a selfie after going for a run.

Open your camera app and tap the screen where you want the focus to be. For example: In the foreground, your husband is eating a piece of pie. But what you want to focus on is your son photobombing him in the background. Tap your son’s face. A square or circular icon will appear on your camera screen. When it does, snap the photo. Tapping the screen automatically adjusts how much light the camera lets in. If it's too much, you can edit it in the photo settings.

To take a portrait:

Mature, happy couple sitting outside in the sunshine and taking a selfie.

In your camera settings, select portrait mode for a detailed image of your subject. In the foreground, your subject will be crisp and clear, while the background will be more out of focus and softer looking.

3. Steady your camera:

Woman sitting on a mountain above a lake and taking a photo of it.

Blurry photos are the worst, so for good photos and more professional photos, you need to really steady yourself and your camera before shooting.

To do so:

Lean on a friend or family member or lean against a wall to prevent your hands from wobbling. You can even prop your phone up using a phone stand, books or camera equipment like a tripod.

4. The digital zoom is not the answer:

Happy young woman taking a selfie in front of the Coliseum in Rome.

It’s tempting to zoom in on something you really want to capture, but it’s not the best way to go. Why? Because when you zoom in, the result is typically a grainy, blurry, or pixelated photo. Instead, get closer to your subject physically. That way, you won't impact the image quality much of the photo and it will be easier later to crop it or somehow manipulate it as you’ll be working with a larger image.

5. Clean your smartphone’s camera lens:

Group of mature adults smiling for a photo on the beach.

Ever take a photo and then wonder what all those tiny specks are on it? They’re dust and particles that have collected on the lens of your phone’s camera. Our phones live in our pockets, bags, and backpacks, and consequently, all manner of debris collect on the camera lens. The folks at Gadgets Now advise using a “clean and dry microfiber cloth to gently wipe the lens in a circular motion. Avoid using a tissue or paper towel, as they can scratch the lens. If the lens is particularly dirty, you can dampen the cloth with a small amount of water or lens cleaning solution.”

Cleaning the lens before you start shooting will go a long way toward giving you high quality photos you'll enjoy sharing.

6. Shoot in natural light, aka the outdoors:

Group on friends standing on a jetty in a lake taking photos.

The best photos aren't taken indoors. Just ask professional photographers. Sure, you can get good shots around the dinner table, in front of a fireplace, etc., but if you can get outside, in the natural light, to take photos, do so. Natural light is best for taking more professional pictures photos with your smartphone. It seems natural lighting not only helps capture the subject better, but it also imparts mood and atmosphere which create a more well-rounded result.

Young woman in a yellow windbreaker taking a photo of the hilly landscape.

With landscape photography, the right time of day is very important. Frequently, the best and most interesting shots are taken in the early morning, at sunrise and during the golden hour, at sunset. Low light ca create a great photo.

Cool things to try:

Young dad holding his blonde daughter and snapping a selfie.

Shoot in bright light:

Try shooting a subject in front of a bright light like the setting sun, and manually adjust your camera settings so all you're left with is an interesting picture of a dark silhouette against a background of light.

Two mature women with gray hair snapping a selfie on their hike.

Perfect your pics by editing:

Learn to edit photos right in your smartphone. Touch-ups, such as cropping, brightness adjustments, and color correction, can make the photo even better.

Just beware of doing too much. Less, as they say, is more.

Three happy women taking a photo at lunch.

Burst photos enable you to take multiple shots at one time. The result is a great variety from which you can pick the best shots. Just go into your camera roll and see which ones you like.

Blonde mom and daughter giggling as they look at a cell phone.

Mix it up. Try taking photos from different angles. This can make them more interesting and memoriable.

Man reclining in a lawn chair overlooking a river.

Practice. Since you're not wasting film, the best way to learn to take a professional photo is to practice. You can take as many photos as you want, and you don't need to print them to see the results.

At PureTalk, we believe in helping you do more than take professional looking photos with your phone. We believe in helping you get the phones and service you deserve at a real savings.

Happy family snapping a selfie as they surround a birthday cake.

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Posted 10 months ago