USE GRIDLINES TO BALANCE YOUR SHOT Turn on the camera’s gridlines to superimpose a series of lines on the screen of your smartphone’s camera that are based on the “rule of thirds” – a composition principle that says an image should be broken down into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, so you have nine parts in total. If you place points of interest in these intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced, level, and allow viewers to interact with it more naturally. To switch the grid on:

  • iPhone: Go to Settings, choose Photos & Camera, and switch Grid on.
  • Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to Settings, scroll down and switch on the Grid lines option.

SET YOUR CAMERA’S FOCUS To adjust where you want your camera lens to focus, open your camera app and tap the screen where you want to sharpen the view. If you’re taking a photo of something in motion, tap the screen to correct your phone camera’s focus just before snapping the picture to ensure the moving subject has as much focus as possible. A square or circular icon should then appear on your camera screen, shifting the focus of your shot to all of the content inside that icon.

FOCUS ON ONE SUBJECT Tap the screen of your smartphone to focus the camera on your subject to help ensure that it is focused and the lighting is optimised.

FIND DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES Taking photos from a unique angle can make them more memorable – it tends to create an illusion of depth or height with the subjects. It also makes the image stand out, since most mobile photos are taken either straight-on or from a bird’s eye view.

PLAY WITH REFLECTIONS Our eyes are drawn to reflections, so look for opportunities to play with them in photos.

REPETITIVE PATTERNS Repetitive patterns are very pleasing to the eye – they appear whenever strong graphic elements are repeated over and over again, like lines, geometric shapes, forms, and colours. These patterns can make a strong visual impact.

AVOID ZOOMING IN When you zoom in, the photo can appear grainy, blurry, or pixelated. Instead, try to get closer to your subject or take the photo from a default distance, and crop it later on.

CAPTURE SMALL DETAILS (PICTURE) Close-up images that capture small, intricate and delicate details can make for really compelling visual content. Keep an eye out for textures and patterns like peeling paint, a gravel road or a tile tabletop.

USE NATURAL LIGHT It’s hard to find a great smartphone photo that was taken with a flash. Most of the time, they make a photo look overexposed, negatively altering colours and making human subjects look washed out.

BUY A MOBILE TRIPOD This gives you the freedom to mount your smartphone for quick hands-free shots without lugging heavy equipment with you. Most mobile tripods are barely bigger than your mobile device, and can bend to any angle.

CREATE ABSTRACTS (PICTURE) Abstract photos are meant to capture the essence of an object, or a series of them, without revealing the entire landscape as a whole. This look can be accomplished by cropping an abstract portion of an otherwise normal photo, or by taking close-up shots of objects that leave the viewer wondering what the subject might be. And subjects with patterns or repetition are great candidates for abstract photography.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO EDIT Composing and taking your smartphone photo is just the first step to making it visually compelling. Editing your photos is the next step – and a very critical one, at that.