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Why are my Smartphone Photos not Turning out the Way I Want them to?

Have you ever taken a photo with your smartphone and the result has been nothing the way you expected it to be?

Smartphones are the easiest means of picking up a photography hobby. I mean, how easy can it get, pulling your smartphone out of your pocket and snapping that perfect shot? It seems simple until your photos are far from what you expected e.g. too bright, too dark or simply out of focus.

If any of these problems sound familiar, you’re not alone and that’s why we here at Adventure Art are here to help!

Getting Started…


Rather than just pulling out your phone and taking, “a happy snap”, think about composition and how you can frame your photo so that it looks appealing to the audience.

The Rule of Thirds is a great place to start and is simply a grid made up of two horizontal and two vertical lines. At the horizontal lines is where the horizon should be placed and at the intersecting points your subject.

Adventure Art Photography

The rule of thirds is a very important aspect in photography and is a number one go to rule for every professional photographer.

Now that you have thought about how to compose your shot using the rule of thirds its time to start thinking about perspective.

Don’t just photograph your subject from your height, climb to a higher point or even try laying down on the ground to capture a unique perspective.

Adventure Art Photography | Smart Phone Photography

Thinking about leading lines is another great way to compose the perfect shot. Is there a footpath, a fence, a railway track, a bridge or even a park bench that you could use to draw the viewer into the photograph?

Adventure Art Photography | Smart Phone Photography

Finally, the last step in composing a great shot is by keeping it simple. If you are taking a photo of one specific building, make sure that the audiences eyes are drawn to that building and no other distracting elements within the frame.

The photo below is a very good example of this as the audience can clearly see that the tree is the main subject of the photo…

Notice how the tree is also placed on an intersecting point of the Rule of Thirds?

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Out of focus photos seem to be the main culprit of bad phone photography. Many people just point their phone and shoot without thinking about the image being in focus or not.

Before taking a photo simply touch your screen to select a desired point of focus. By making sure that your phone is focused on a particular subject you know  that your photo will be crisp and clear.

If the subject you want to photograph is moving or there are other moving elements in front of your subject, hold your finger on the screen to activate lock focus. This feature on smartphones enables your phone to just focus on the one subject without shifting focus to something else.

Adventure Art Photography | Smart Phone Photography


Many photos taken with a phone can either turn out to be too dark or too bright depending on the location of the sun. Pointing your camera directly into the sun will turn your subject into a silhouette and will often not be your desired result. To fix such lighting problems move the sun icon up and down on your smart phone to correctly adjust the exposure.

Using Natural Light

Many people are tempted to use the inbuilt flash in their phones as a result of being in a darker location. Although this may seem like a great alternative, photos taken in natural light are far more appealing and better quality.

Try using window lighting, candles, or a fireplace before considering using flash. Only use flash when taking portrait photos in the shade as a means of bringing back the details.

Recommended Editing Apps

Want to take the final result of your photos that one step further? There are actually two really good photo editing apps for phones that we would highly recommend, Snapseed and Lightroom. Snapseed is a free editing app that is available for both android and apple phones alike. Its great for both the enhancement of photos as well as for fine tune adjustments. Like Snapseed, Lightroom is also a free editing app although, to unlock the premium features, such as having access to the program on other devices, a fee does have to be payed.

Snapseed Logo


Lightroom Logo


So why not get out there and put your new smartphone skills to the test.

Adventure awaits and you never know where the next one is going to take you!

Hands on learning is always best and joining a smartphone photography workshop or tour is a fantastic way to learn. So why not join us here at Adventure Art.

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