Tips for Better Photos on Your Smartphone

How to take fantastic outdoor photographs with your smartphone

Only have your smartphone to hand? There’s nothing stopping you from capturing great shots of your outdoor experience. Follow these tips for better shots.

  • Get up close and personal with your subject. Don’t be afraid to fill the entire frame with your subject. It’ll make for striking photographs that capture lots of detail and stop imperfect light from spoiling your shots.


    Image Credit: Ben Anderson

  • Avoid zoom when capturing objects in the distance. Zooming in on something far away with your smartphone camera will result in a grainy shot.

  • Bookend your panorama shots. Framing the subject of your photo with a constant at each end will draw the viewer’s eye to the centre of the shot.

  • Create depth of field. Make your photo look three-dimensional by playing around with the depth. It’ll make the viewer feel as though they’re right there with you. For a shorter depth of field, choose a larger aperture. Bring the whole image into focus with a smaller aperture.

Image Credit: Ben Anderson

“Personally, the best thing that has happened to photography over the last few years has been the camera phone. My phone takes brilliant photos! Landscapes to macro, there is very little the camera can’t do – it’s great for video and can even shoot at 240fps. It takes three seconds to pull your phone out of your pocket and take a photo. Make the most of this and photograph everything!”Ben Anderson

  • Use lines to create a sense of direction. Lead your viewer’s gaze to explore the entire frame by using lines and angles.

Image Credit: Ben Anderson

“The beauty of having a phone nowadays is that it allows you to have a camera, which can even take HDR photos, in your pocket! It’s not a DSLR, but you wouldn’t use it for that. It’s about capturing moments that you might miss.”Ben Anderson



Get app happy with Android

A helping hand is always welcome when it comes to taking great photos. If you’ve got an Android phone, be sure to check out these three apps. You’ll soon be snapping like a pro.


Google Camera

User-friendly and boasting a wide range of features, use the free Google Camera to enhance the quality of your outdoor photography.


  • Lens Blur. A brilliant trick to cheat depth of field, use lens blur to put the focus on your subject and leave the background out of focus; great for those hiking selfies or mountain climbing portraits.
  • Photo Stitching. Perfect your panorama shots with this wide angle, 360 degree feature.
  • Video. Capture that momentous moment when you reach the top of the mountain on video, or use this feature to film your entire outdoor experience.
  • Android Wear. Compatible with your smartwatch so you can snap a quick shot straight from your wrist.


Camera 360 Ultuimate

The most popular photography app in 75 countries, Camera360 offers shooting and editing tools free of charge.


  • Camera Modes. Choose from over 10 modes to get the right one for your shot every time. Modes include: Selfie Camera, Scene Camera, Video Camera, Audio Camera, Colour-Shift Camera and Effect Camera.
  • Effect Store. Manipulate your photos simply by swiping the screen. Apply layers, add textures, tilt, shift, blur and more.
  • Photo Share. Share your snaps with your friends via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Flickr.



Popular app Instagram needs no introduction. Join over 300 million users to see the world through filtered perfection. Compatible with both Android and iPhone and free of charge.


  • Filters. Apply custom-designed filters to your images to achieve your desired effect.
  • Creative Tools. Improve and enhance the quality of your photos with the range of creative tools, including saturation, contrast and brightness, as well as highlights and shadows – ideal if the weather conditions weren’t ideal when you were shooting.
  • Connect. Follow inspirational photographers for more tips on taking amazing photos.


Get app happy with your iPhone

Not got Android? Don’t worry – there are plenty of useful photography apps for iPhone. Here are the three you need to download today to improve your photos.


Simply B&W

Play around with lighting effects to capture stunning and dramatic shots of the outdoors with Simply B&W – free of charge.


  • Image Enhancement Tools. Alter brightness, grain and contrast to capture up-close detail.
  • Lens Filter Effect. Adjust tones to manipulate the way the light hits the subject of your photo.
  • Editing. Choose from a range of pre-set styles including portrait, reportage and moody to instantly edit your photos to perfection.


Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality Viewer

Enhance the quality of your landscape photos with Sun Seeker – the app that tells you where the sun will be throughout the day – £7.99.


  • Flat View Compass. Find out what time the sun will rise and set on any day, as well as shadow ratio to ensure you’re shooting from the right position.
  • Map View. Shows the direction of the sun for each hour of the day.
  • Locations. Search and save multiple locations – wherever you are in the world.



Adjust the quality of your shots and group your images together in one frame with Diptic – ideal for showcasing your day in the great outdoors – £0.79.


  • Filters. Play around with lighting effects with a range of filters including sepia, washed out, redwoods and cyan man.
  • Customisable Design. Add a border, frame or text caption to your photo collage for an album-professional look.
  • Share. Easy photo sharing via iCloud and email. Save and print directly from the app.



Looking for a project to help test out your skills?

Join our #ScrapbookOutdoors photo project, where we are trying to capture a year outdoors by setting different photography themes each week. Every Wednesday we gather up our favourites and feature them on our blog, before a new theme starts every Thursday.

More information about #ScrapbookOutdoors