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Your mobile phone’s camera, if you know how to use it correctly, can actually help you launch a professional photography career. There are sites willing to pay $100 or more for your image if you have a knack for capturing subjects in interesting ways.

But even if you have no interest in making money off your photos, there are going to be times where you want your pictures to look good. If you’re tired of constantly deleting photos from your phone because you just can’t seem to get them right, read on. Here are the best mobile photography tips for getting those money shots.

Start With a Clean Slate

Touching your phone and putting it down on surfaces all day can dirty the camera lens fast. So before you even begin to tap away, make sure your camera lens is clean. Use a soft, microfiber cloth (not a harsh napkin on your shirt sleeve) to gently wipe oil and dirt away.

This will ensure your pictures are crystal clear. It may seem like an insignificant tip, but it can make a big difference in how your photos look.

And while you’re at it, clean your phone’s screen as well so you can easily view the photos in your gallery.

Go Natural

As in light. Although many people think they need to have their flash enabled to take a great photo, the truth is it can do more harm than good. The flash can make a subject appear washed out or cast an unwanted colored tone on the photo.

Whenever possible, let natural light work its beautiful magic. Shoot outdoors or take the subject outside. You’ll notice that even food photographers often shoot plated meals outdoors because the daylight enhances the food’s color and appearance.

Get on the Grid

Ever wonder what that grid setting on your phone’s camera is for? It’s to help you take a more balanced and visually appealing image.

Professional photographers refer to using this grid as the “rule of thirds.” This rule states that a subject or elements of a subject should reside along the lines or the intersections of the lines to take advantage of the way our eyes and brain take in an image.

You can test this theory for yourself by taking two different photos of the same subject. Take one without the grid, then take one with the grid turned on and placing the subject along the lines or intersections. You’ll see that the grid photo looks more professional.

Focus on the Subject

Your phone’s camera probably automatically focuses on whatever you aim it at. But to be on the safe side, tap the screen to help it sharpen the subject. It’s like giving your camera a hint about what part of the photo is most important to you.

Remember to give the screen a focus tap when taking a close-up shot of something such as a bumblebee on a flower. Older cameras required you to enable the “macro” setting to capture the intimate details. Today, most phone cameras are already macro-enabled to automatically take close-up snaps.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

No doubt you grew up thinking that in order to take a good photo, the subject had to be centered and looking directly into the camera. But that kind of composition can get boring fast.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your photos. Try taking ones from various angles. Shoot subjects that you normally wouldn’t think of capturing.

Get down to ground level and aim the camera up at a subject, or take the opposite approach by shooting from above. Photography should be fun, and sometimes playing around with your camera can help you discover a whole new way of capturing the world.

Be Candid

Look through any wedding album, and you’ll notice that some of the best photos are the ones where the subject wasn’t posing for the camera at all. Why do candid photos work so well? One reason is that the subject is unaware they’re being photographed and therefore feel free to just be authentically themselves.

Another reason they’re so compelling is that they often show real, not forced, human emotion. So if you’re taking photos at an event, try to take some of them discretely for a more interesting array of images.

Invest in Cloud-Based Photo Storage

At some point, you may discover the storage on your phone just isn’t cutting it for your growing photo collection. We recommend using cloud-based photo storage for a few reasons: it offers much more storage space, it acts as your backup should something happen to your phone, and some offer in-app photo editing to enhance your images.

Adobe Lightroom is one cloud storage option that offers all three. You don’t get the same photo editing properties as Photoshop, but you can clean up images, sharpen areas, and add watermark using the software.

Lighthouse is also unique in that you can transfer your preferred presets to your mobile phone and use the app from there. Here is how to get lightroom presets on mobile app.

Steady Yourself

No matter how technologically advanced photography gets, there is still one piece of equipment that has stood the test of time: the tripod. Sure, you can rely on your camera’s anti-shake mode. But for a perfectly still camera, nothing is steadier than a tripod.

It will also give you more freedom when taking selfies (plus no one will know it’s a selfie without the arm extended.)

Crush it With These Mobile Photography Tips

Keeping these tips in mind the next time you use your phone’s camera will go a long way towards improving your mobile photography skills. Don’t forget to have fun, as you never know where it will take you with your photo collection.

Need more advice on getting the most from your phone? Check out our archive of mobile posts.

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