You have a smartphone that can take beautiful images or maybe a “pro-sumer” level Cannon, Nikon, or Sony DSLR camera but you still feel like there is something missing in your pictures. We got you covered. Below are 3 quick tips to elevating your picture game in between those professional portrait sessions.

Tip 1 – Smartphone sharpness: If you feel like your smartphone pictures lack sharpness, the solution could be as simple as holding your camera with two hands and standing still.

We’ve all held our phone out in front of us with one hand to take a picture. Sometimes we even do it while walking. Stop! Whether you’re shooting in portrait or landscape mode, holding the phone in two hands and resting your elbows against your torso for stability will give you the best chance of taking a sharp picture.

The camera shutter isn’t released until you take your thumb off the shutter button on the touchscreen. Try pressing the shutter button before you frame your shot and then gently release the button. This is especially helpful when shooting indoors in low light because it eliminates the impact of your finger pressing the button and potentially making the camera shake. Try This: The volume + button on the side of the phone can also be used to release the shutter and greatly decrease camera shake.


Tip 2 – Focus Focus Focus: Chances are, at one time or another you’ve had your smartphone camera or your DSLR focus on something other than what you would like it to focus on or miss focus completely. The result in both situations is a blurry image. Here are a few tips to fix this:

On your smartphone, tap and hold on the spot you want the camera to focus until you see the yellow AE/AF Lock alert. Once that pops up, the automatic exposure metering and automatic focus metering have been locked on your subject and will not change. Try This: Take one image without locking focus – then try pressing your screen to lock focus.

On your camera, change your Auto Focus mode to Zone or Center. With center, simply put your subject in the middle of the frame and auto focus will take over. With ZONE, you can move the focus area to a section of the frame (upper right, upper left, etc.), this gives you flexibility to focus on your subject based on the composition you have chosen.


Tip 3 – Better Light: When you point your smartphone camera at a subject or scene, it does it’s best to get you a properly exposed image. You’ve probably noticed though that sometimes it does a better job than others. Sometimes our smartphone cameras want to make our images too dark (underexposed) and sometimes they’re too bright (overexposed). When this happens, you can fix it before taking the picture by adjusting the yellow exposure slider next to the focus square. Just tap the spot on the phone screen where you want to change the exposure and then use the sun icon to increase (slide up) or decrease (slide down) the exposure. Try This: Take a photo at Sunset and increase the exposure by tapping on the screen.

Proper exposure will make a huge difference in your smartphone photography!

Turn off the Flash

While the flash on smartphones has improved quite a bit over the years, you can’t change the fact that it’s just a small and not very powerful LED light. If you’re shooting at night, whenever possible, turn off the flash and use the camera app’s exposure slider to brighten the photo.

If there’s no available light, you may have no choice but to use flash and that’s ok! A flashy photo is better than no photo at all! Try This: Take a photo in low light and then take the same photo using the exposure slider to compare.


Now go out and give it a try. Share your images on our FB page and like and follow for special giveaways, behind the scenes updates, and the latest in the world of photography. Stay tuned for more advanced tips in a future post!

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