One thing we get asked a lot is how to take better photos of things, whether they are items being sold or just people. Even if you aren’t a professional photographer and you have no idea about layout or composition, you can make sure you’re utilizing the features of your high-powered cell phone camera to take some amazing photos.

1. Ditch the flash

Using the flash can often wash out anything you’re doing. If you’re taking a picture of a person, it’s going to flatten their skin tone and give them a shiny, oily looking face. It will probably also bring out the dreaded red eye. If you’re taking a photo of an animal, guess what? You’ll get the shiny creepy eyes — also known as tapetum lucidum. As well as flattening your image, a flash can also cast harsh shadows on anything you’re taking a photo of. Turn off the flash, and opt for natural lighting instead.

Flash On
Flash On
Flash Off
Flash Off

2. Find a good background

If you’re taking a photo of something light, you want to put it on a dark background, and vice versa. It makes sense to want to do this. This actually may hinder your camera’s ability to discern highs from lows on what you’re attempting to focus on. A dark item on a light background will cause it to re-level and brighten up the white, while losing a lot of details in the darkness. You want to make sure that your object of focus is not competing with the background, either, so if avoid overly busy backgrounds with lots of sharp details like things with text.

Background is too light
Background is too light

3. Utilize the features of your phone

Use that macro ability on your phone, or the far/near focus! Get to know how to use the camera (or in some cases, dual camera) on your phone so you can blur out busy backgrounds and focus on your items. Plus, if you’re taking a photo of a small item, you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of any macro features that your phone may come with.

4. Find good lighting

“Good” lighting is the most important part of any photo. When we mean good lighting, we mean LOTS of light. The more light the better, so if you can opt to go outside on a sunny day to take your photo, do that! Your photos will thank you.

Poor directional lighting
Poor directional lighting
Outside lighting
Outside lighting

5. Keep it steady

Keeping your hand steady is incredibly important to taking a quality photo with your phone. Don’t bother trying to still your jitters — use something like a kickstand for your phone to keep it steady, or even just lean it against something. Even just holding the bottom of your phone steady against something can help drastically.

6. Clean your lens

Make sure that your camera lens is free of fingerprints, dust, dirt, and debris by wiping it down with a soft cloth. This sounds silly, but we don’t think much about how many times we put our fingers over our camera lens. How many times do you use your fingerprint reader? Chances are you’re icking up your camera lens, too.

7. Don’t let your phone focus for you

Tap the area on your phone screen where you want to focus, rather than relying on the phone to decide for you. If you can’t get the photo to stop being blurry, try backing up. Sometimes being too close to a subject can keep your camera from focusing properly.



  • Dim or inconsistent lighting
  • Directional lighting that casts shadows, especially if you can see your phone shadow in the photo
  • Using reflective surfaces in your photo. Make sure there are no mirrors or stainless steel items in the photo so you can’t see your own reflection

Go for:

  • Learning some compositional things such as the rule of thirds
  • Use the built in grid lines to keep yourself in line
  • Epic shots of small objects or otherwise by turning your phone upside down before taking the photo
  • Learning how to use the manual shutter, exposure, and more on your particular phone software and model.
  • Embrace the use of negative space and varieties of textures. Go for different angles and try new things, see what works best for you
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