How to Improve Your Camera Phone Photography

As any camera phone photographer will tell you, talent beats equipment almost every time in photography. A talented photographer can produce a stunning image with a pinhole camera given enough time, whereas many amateurs struggle to produce even average photographs using top of the line camera gear. These days, there is a growing movement of camera phone photographers who are out to show that talent combined with a camera phone can produce some incredible photos. Given some of the images they come up with, we are certainly not going to argue.

In fact, the stunning examples of camera phone photography that we have seen led us to investigate how camera phones can be used to produce such incredible images. And so, here is out online guide to camera phone photography!

Camera Phone Photography Guide

Out of Order by David Mach by Marcia_Salviato.

There are a lot of things you can do to start getting the most out of your camera phone in terms of the best possible photography. Some of the more obvious things you can do include:

  • Maximise the camera resolution – many recent camera phones come with the option to increase or decrease the resolution of the camera. If you plan to be taking a lot of artistic shots then it's obvious that you are going to have to jack the resolution up as high as possible for most scenarios.
  • Be Aware of Light – Many camera phones deal with low light quite poorly. In general, if you can get a well lit subject then you are going to get better results with your camera phone.
  • Alter the white balance – likewise, the white balance of shots on many camera phones can also be adjusted. Play around with this setting to achieve the effect that you want. You may even need to adjust this depending on the type of shots you are trying to take so get used to using one of the few controls that you have over the image making process on a camera phone.
  • Don't be shy about taking a lot of shots – now, you have to realise that you are simply not going to have the options available to you that many people who shoot on SLRs or DSLRs will. One easy way to make up for that is to start taking as many shots as possible. This simply increases the chances of snagging a good one.
  • Get Close – The majority of camera phones don't have great zoom lenses. In almost all cases the zoom is digital rather than optical meaning the image chip simply takes a part of the large and makes that part larger  – that leads to poorer quality. It is much better to get up close to the subject than to use the zoom on a camera phone.

Recommended Online Guides to Camera Phone Photography

These online tutorials and guides are the pick of the bunch in getting you started towards taking respectable cameraphone photos. Now, you shouldn't expect to be taking shots like Nachtwey out of the gate, but as the Flickr pool of camera phone photographers shows, you can get some exceptional shots if you learn how.

12 Tips for Improving Camera Phone Photos – A brief and easy overview of photography issues that will be faced by a camera phone photographer. It covers issues of lighting, composition and technique that are unique to camera phones and is a good first stop for getting to grips with this type of photography.

Beter Photos from Your Camera Phone – A pretty good guide along the same lines as the one above. Still, a lot of these tips bear repreating. Staying really still might seem obvious, but how many of us have had disappointing shots from camera phones due to moving or shaking? Well worth the read.

Taking Great Shots with Your Camera Phone – An old guide written by Darren Rowse (who now runs Digital Photography School) is a good basic overview of photography when you don't have much control over your equipment. It's a little dated, but still has some awesome information.

Photopreneur's Guide to Good Mobile Phone Photography – A good little guide from a great site. Includes tips on lighting, composition and post production ideas. Again, it was written a while back, but these types of tips remain important for anyone hoping to get the best out of their camera phones.

Take Great Camera Phone Pictures – Timeout tackles the issue of camera phone photography by asking professional photographer, Robert Clark about his best tips. By now, you will see a lot of the same themes repeating themselves (get closer, shoot lots, steady the camera) which should tell you that these are key in shooting decent shots with this type of device.

Camera Phone Portrait Photography – Our very own guide on the specific problems and challenges associated with taking great portraits while you are using a camera phone.

Closing Thoughts

If you are determined to show what great images can be taken with a camera phone, then you have set yourself quote a challenge, but certainly an achievable one. One key that is repeated in all of these guides is that planning is paramount. If you can control and plan for as much of the photography process as possible, then you offset many of the drawbacks in shooting with less adaptable equipment such as a camera phone. But as many camera phone photographers have shown, the results can be well worth the effort.

Don't forget to subscribe to our RSS feed so you don't miss our upcoming series on camera phone photography where we will cover tips on portraiture, black and white, nature photography and macro photography all from the perspective of a camera phone photographer.


About the author

Rob Wood (Admin)

Rob was given his first camera (the awesome and powerful Kodak Instamatic of the late 70s) at the age of 5. He still hasn’t quite mastered it. When he isn’t tinkering on the internet updating Light Stalking, he can often be found on his unending quest for the perfect landscape shot. Rob started Light Stalking simply because he loves writing and photography. It grew to be one of the most referenced photography sites in the world. Rob is also the co-founder of and you can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and mail as well.


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