How to take great cell phone pictures

We all walk around with pretty powerful cameras in our pockets, but most of us have no idea how to get decent pictures with them.  To save us all from a life of blurry images, we offer you Life Academy’s How to Take Great Cell Phone Pictures.

Meet the teacherPicture of Krista Fogel is a Toronto based photographer. She shared her expertise on how to take better pictures with us.

Krista Fogel, Krista Fogel Photography

Krista is a Toronto based photographer who specializes in family photography. Her mission is to provide her clients with forever memories.  Check out her amazing work here:


Step 1. Be trigger ready

Instead of losing the moment while you unlock your phone, learn your camera shortcut.  On iPhones, swipe left to pull it up; on Androids, a double click of the home button does the trick.

Turn off the flash. The vast majority of the time it’s not needed and its better to work with the natural light at hand. (Yes, there are exceptions, but generally just turn it off).  And keep that lens clean!


Step 2. Compose the pictures

If you are aiming for a close up, get close to your subject instead of zooming in.  On a cell phone, the zoom functions are all pretty useless – they give you a blurry mess and the quality of the picture goes way down.

Get familiar with the rule of thirds.  Imagine a tic tac toe board drawn on your image, so it’s broken into 9 squares.  The four points where the lines intersect are the strongest focal points.  The lines themselves are the second strongest. Now just make sure whatever you’re taking a picture of is in that zone.

Try getting creative with high and low angles.  High angles are always flattering for portraits.  Low angles are so fun for babies and kids… see the world at their level and make them look like the boss!


Step 3. Be mindful of lighting

Natural lighting is always best for cell phones. If you are indoors, try to be near a window. Think about where the light is in relation to your camera lens:

Front light (the light is in front of the subject. So: light – photographer – subject)

This works well when you’re indoors (but avoid when outdoors as you’ll get harsh shadows and squinty people!)  You’ll get nice even lighting indoors, but be careful not to block the light coming in as you’re taking the shot!

Side light (the light is coming in from the side. Pretty self explanatory).

This can emphasize textures, define depth and bring out patterns.  You’ll get a beautiful wrap of light around your subject and will avoid any chance of blocking the light.

Back light (the light is behind the subject. So: photographer – subject – light)

This is for super dramatic or romantic photos. Avoid if you want to see your subjects faces.  Expose for the background and let your subject become a silhouette.


Step 4. Get sharp

Blurry pics are the bane of cell phone photography. There are a few things you can do to mitigate this.  First, tap and hold on the image until your AF/AE lock comes on – this way whatever you aim that circle at will be in focus. From there you should be able to slide up and down to play with your exposure settings.

If possible, prop that camera up.  Gorilla or other tripods are great, but floors, picnic benches and books work to. Also, your headphones can be used to take pictures so you can avoid shaking the camera when you tap to snap the shot.  The shutter is usually controlled by your volume controls.

Step 5. Edit

If you only edit two things, make it your sharpness and exposure.  Making your image a little clearer and brighter will go a long way in leaving you with an awesome memory.


Final Thoughts

So now you know how to take better pictures with your cell phone.  If you want to learn more, or if you want to capture forever memories with you in them too, Krista Fogel is your girl.  Check her out at  And if you want an amazing photo shoot plus a free gift (including a free Life Academy class!) check out this special treat Krista is offering.

Want to see this class in the line up again?  Drop us a line and let us know!

How to take great cell phone pictures

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