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Thinking Outside the Box: Creative Ways to Create Emails without a Phone Number
In today’s digital age, having an email address is essential for various purposes. Whether it’s for personal communication or professional use, emails have become an integral part of our lives. However, creating an email account typically requires a phone number for verification. But what if you don’t want to share your phone number or don’t have one? Don’t worry – there are still creative ways to create emails without a phone number. In this article, we will explore some alternative methods that allow you to create email accounts hassle-free.
Using Temporary Email Services
One way to create emails without a phone number is by using temporary email services. These services provide you with a disposable email address that you can use for a limited period. You can find numerous websites that offer such services with user-friendly interfaces.
When using temporary email services, you can simply visit the website and generate a new email address instantly. These addresses are valid for a specific timeframe, usually ranging from hours to days. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require any personal information or phone numbers, making it ideal for those who value their privacy.
Exploring Email Provider Alternatives
If you prefer more permanent solutions than temporary emails, there are alternative email providers that don’t require phone number verification. While popular platforms like Gmail and Outlook often require verification via phone numbers, other providers may offer different options.
For example, some smaller email providers may only ask for basic information like your name and date of birth during the sign-up process. These providers might not have all the features of larger platforms but can still serve your basic emailing needs without requiring a phone number.
Utilizing Virtual Phone Numbers
If you’re open to providing a phone number but don’t want to share your actual one, virtual phone numbers can be an excellent solution. Virtual phone numbers are temporary phone numbers that can be used for verification purposes, including email sign-ups.
Numerous online services offer virtual phone numbers that can receive text messages and calls. You can choose from a variety of options, including free or paid services, depending on your needs. By using a virtual phone number, you can complete the email verification process while keeping your personal number private.
Seeking Assistance from Friends or Family
If none of the above options suit your preferences or circumstances, you can always rely on friends or family members who are willing to help. Ask someone you trust if you can use their phone number for email verification purposes. This way, you can create an email account without sharing your own personal information.
Remember to respect the privacy of others and ensure that they are comfortable with this arrangement before proceeding. It’s also important to note that using someone else’s phone number may limit your control over the account’s security and recovery options.
Creating an email account without a phone number is possible with creative thinking and exploring alternative methods. Whether it’s utilizing temporary email services, considering alternative email providers, using virtual phone numbers, or seeking assistance from friends or family – there are several ways to create emails hassle-free. Choose the method that best suits your needs and preferences while keeping in mind the importance of privacy and security in today’s digital landscape.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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5 Easy Creative Phone Photography Ideas to Try!
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Home / Photography Tutorials / 5 Easy Creative Phone Photography Ideas to Try!
Take these cool shots just with your phone
Creative phone photography ideas so easy to do; these will get you inspired!
In this quick tutorial, Jordie Koalitic shows 5 cool photography ideas you can take with just your phone!
Try these awesome & easy creative phone photography ideas
Jordie is using a Xiaomi 12T Pro phone in all of these shots, however most smart phones these days would have cameras capable of capturing these shots!
Phone Photo Idea #1: Using Panorama to Create Illusions
This first shot will take a second set of hands, a bit of time and creativity. You need to come up with an idea of an element in the photo which casts a shadow or something in the scene.
Then this will be removed and appear as though it couldn’t naturally be in the scene or maybe was edited in. For example, this homemade set of butterfly wings using cardboard and colored cellophane.
Y ou can have the subject wearing this with the lighting at an angle so the shadow is cast behind them. The shadow also has the pretty colors from the wings.
Pan the phone camera up, capturing the shadow, then stop the panoramic capture for a moment. Have someone remove the wings off of the subject, then continue the pan in the same place you stopped it, continuing upwards.
This creates the illusion of the wing shadow but no physical wings in place! Take a look at how this shot came out:
Phone Photo Idea #2: Pretend Camping or Adventure Shot
This shot is fun because it makes the viewer think it was taken from inside of a camping tent! This visual illusion is incredibly creative and fun to try.
Lay a jacket on the ground, make sure that it’s one with a good size zipper. Then, pick up one end and put the phone inside, so that the lens can see both the jacket zipper in the foreground and your subject in the background.
It’s even better if you have the lighting behind your subject so you get a nice silhouette of light around the subject.
Check out this final shot – you could have guessed it was taken inside a tent!
Creative Phone Photography Idea #3: The Illusion of Height/Depth
You can do this shot in many different ways. All you need is the visual of a long drop, like an edge or a tunnel.
The example of this is using a concrete tunnel and putting some bright colourful UV lights down in the background. Then, with some climbing gear, making it appear as though the subject is climbing up.
This is a simple trick of angle and lighting, and it really works! This photo proves it:
Creative Phone Photography Idea #4: Timelapse ‘Canvas’ Mirror
Create the beautiful illusion of the sky moving on a canvas over time!
Using a mirror set up on a canvas, and your phone on Timelapse setting, you can easily get this effect. Have the mirror at an angle to show the sky. This works best on a partly cloudy day.
Try this as well overnight for a starry night canvas. Or in other locations, sceneries, and angles for other ideas!
This snap of the sky Timelapse is pretty cool:
Creative Phone Photography Idea #5: Creating Mirages in Water
Similar to the first idea, this shot shows a reflection in the water below the subject which does not appear above the subject.
Using a similar technique, like in the photo below, have your subject stand in water about calf-deep. They can wear or hold something to cause a reflection in the water below.
Take two photos, one with the subject holding or wearing the reflection object, and one without it. Then, you can edit or cut the photos together to get an image like the below.
You can also try this with different pose in the reflection and in the above water photo. The options are endless with this one!
Use your creativity to take these 5 phone photography ideas and make them your own!
Using your own imagination, you can make these phone photography ideas even cooler than the examples. There are so many ways to take creative photos just with your phone!
Want to improve your photography skills? Check out this comprehensive guide!
Which of these phone photography ideas will you try THIS WEEK?
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9 creative phone photography ideas beginners can try at home
No expensive trips. No fancy camera equipment. These easy photo ideas just involve you, your home, and the camera on your phone.
Phone cameras are absolutely amazing things these days.
In 2022, most phones are jam-packed with jaw-dropping camera features to help you grab that perfect snap. There’s just one pretDon’t worry, you’re certainly not alone, so we’re getting those creative juices flowing with some phone photography ideas even beginners can try at home. That’s right, these mini photoshoots are so easy you don’t even need to leave the front door.
1. Experiment with shapes and shadows
50 Creative Photography Ideas at Home You Should Try in 2023
By Tata Rossi 7 days ago, Professional photography
Can’t leave your home during the lockdown? Use it as an opportunity to try out some creative photography ideas at home. There’s no need to look for professional models, expensive props, or unusual locations, as you can create impressive photos of what surrounds you indoors.
Top 50 Home Photography Ideas
Here’s a list of great ideas and projects you can work on while staying indoors. They are simple, can be easily modified according to what equipment you have or what result you are trying to achieve.
1. Frozen Flowers
Capture the fragile and passing beauty of flowers by freezing them. Use distilled water and cube trays that are freezer-friendly. Make sure the flowers don’t float (and they’ll want to do that) by weighing them down. Take them out of the container and let the whole thing melt away while capturing it.
Cups of coffee can actually be used as DIY photography props . There tons of concepts you can come up with: from imitating a clock to a game of tic-tac-toe.
Throw in sugar cubes to create dynamic coffee splashes. Use a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 or faster to be able to freeze the splash
Beautiful and weird trails created by smoke are a great way of adding a dramatic and mysterious mood to your shot. Set your aperture around f/8-f/11 to make sure that all of the smoke remains in full focus.
4. Water Splash
Splashes in motion look great, especially if you throw in a couple of objects together with them. Set the place where you’re going to shoot by finding a black backdrop screen , a clear container, and a tripod made by an efficient tripod brand .
Start dropping the objects into the water and click the shutter just as they hit its surface. Try using bulb or burst mode on your camera to activate continuous shooting.
5. Water Drops
Water droplet photography is the most popular subgenre of high speed photography .
You’ll also need to use fast shutter speed, like 1/1000+ second shutter speed to freeze a water droplet in the air. I strongly recommend protecting your gear from any water damage with a cellophane wrap.
Interesting distortions of patterns can appear when you place them behind any clear container with water. So, next time you need some fun home photography ideas, just grab a glass of water and a few patterned backgrounds, set your camera onto a tripod, and start experimenting.
Feel free to adjust the distance between the background and the glass to try and catch the exact effect you want.
7. Soap Bubbles
You’ll need some liquid soap and glycerin, a wire loop, a piece of black cloth as a background, and at least a 100mm macro lens . Try blowing lightly on the soap film to achieve swirling patterns.
You’ll also need a large light source for this. If you don’t have anything you can create a DIY softbox .
8. Ink Drops in a Glass
A mesmerizing and magical effect is created by a drop of ink slowly dissolving into the water. This is one of the creative photography ideas at home that is not difficult to realize at all.
Put a glass onto a clear reflective surface against a white background to be able to clearly see the ink. Use a dropper to add ink to the glass, experiment with colors and the amount.
Love treasure hunts? This photography challenge is almost like that but with a twist. The challenge is to find an object having a shape similar to any letter in the alphabet without leaving your house (e.g. S- for stairs). You’ll get a great series of 26 photos to practice your photography skills.
10. Light Trails
Still life photography can become more creative if you use a multi-color flashlight . Incorporate the principles of long exposure photography , and the camera shutter speed to 1/8 seconds and the aperture to about f/8. Before you press the shutter, move the torchlight within the frame, and continue doing it throughout the exposure.
11. Oil on Water
Oil and water don’t mix, so use this phenomenon to bring to life interesting abstract photography ideas . The secret to emphasizing the droplets is to add a washing-up liquid before the oil. Remember, that a bright background will drastically improve your photos.
One of the top photography ideas to do at home is freelensing. To try it, just detach the lens from your camera and hold it backwards against your camera body.
Mind that the autofocus will not work, so you’ll have to focus your lens manually. You’ll get the look that is normally achieved with tilt shift lenses .
13. Yummy Dishes
If you enjoy cooking, try to realize a couple of food photography ideas . You can cook a humble meal and then, using some food photography props turn into a true masterpiece. The props can include ceramic dishes , utensils, napkins, ingredients, and flowers.
14. Shatter Glass
For a more complex idea, try capturing the shattering glass mid-air. Since you get only one chance to break something, you need to make sure that the photo comes out perfect.
To ensure that there is no blur, use a camera remote . The duration of the camera flash should be set to 1/10,000 of a second to freeze the shattering process.
Rugs and carpets provide an abundance of patterns and colors for your home photography. I recommend using artificial lighting, as it’s essential if you want to bring out the vibrant colors of a rug. Try to light the entire area as evenly as possible.
16. Food Landscape
Another very fun idea is using food as a landscape for model figurines . You’ll have to come up with creative associations for the product, and try to create a miniature world with your models and food photography .
Look at the photo example above. A boy is mowing a kiwi, another guy is raking it, and one more figure is probably thinking about planting his garden. Such images can be humorous or touch upon important social issues.
Your pets can be amazing and cute little models for your next fun photoshoot. If they are willing to cooperate, try staging some scenes, and realize creative pet photography ideas .
Make sure to get lots of treats ready to reward and encourage them. If they are not in the mood to collaborate, simply take paparazzi-style dog photography of whatever they are doing during the day.
Time-lapse videos belong to effortless home photography ideas, as they don’t require much skill or preparation on your part. Simply place your time lapse camera facing the street, set the interval at which you want to snap photos in settings.
At the end of the day, just merge the photos together into a video with the help of free time lapse software , or time lapse apps . It will look especially great if you live on a busy street or in the city.
Tabletop photography isn’t just for Instagram beauty and fashion gurus. They can be used to tell any story you want with the objects you already have at your home. No special setup or camera gear is needed either, just make sure you get enough natural light from your window.
First, choose the theme of your flatlay, and then decide on the main props. Finally, find a background that complements your theme the most, you can even purchase a collection of backdrops for tabletop images .
20. Try Motion Blur
Instead of trying to freeze the motion, introduce some blur into your images. To do this, use a slow shutter speed, like 1/30 or slower. A trick you can try is to use Shutter Priority camera modes . It will automatically adjust all the other settings to account for your slow shutter speed.
21. Physical Photos
Create a real-life collage of your physical photographs and capture them all at once. You can hold the shots in front of a multi-colored wall or photograph flatlays.
With the help of a crumpled piece of foil and fairy lights, you can create awesome bokeh photography . Just place your subject in the foreground. Then lay out the fairy lights, and crumpled foil in the background. You’ll need to use a bokeh lens , like Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 to be able to shoot at the widest aperture, like f/1.2, or f/1.8.
23. Black and White
Black and white photography opens new horizons for your professional improvement. Usually, when people look at color photos, they get distracted by the color scheme, but b&w images eliminate this issue. To visualize how a scene will look in black and white, pay attention to patterns, shapes, forms, and textures.
Ordinary household items can create beautiful shadow photography . You can incorporate shadows from windows, flowers, lace, or even body parts, to add depth and enhance the composition of your photo.
You can use the sun as a natural source of light, artificial sources of light, or learn how to add a drop shadow in Photoshop .
25. Rubik’s Cube
Rubik’s cube is a colorful prop, that is commonly used in levitation photography ideas . Throw it up and try to capture it mid-air. You can also partially desaturate the image, to make the Rubik’s cube stand out.
26. Minimalistic Interior
Try capturing interior photography , but instead of including everything in one frame, try to remove unnecessary elements from the scene and create a minimalistic scene.
If you collect stamps, cassettes, vinyl records, coins, or mini cars, you can take catchy photos of your collection. Repetition in photography helps create an eye-catching composition by introducing symmetry.
28. Explore the House with a Macro Lens
Use macro lenses and cameras for macro photography to take a fresh look at home photography. This photo genre heavily relies on lighting, that’s why I recommend investing into a professional ring flash, like Neewer LED ring light.
The best place to realize macro photography ideas is the kitchen. Food, liquids, appliances, utensils, and plants – can all become the subjects of your photos.
One of the easiest photography ideas at home is clothing photography . You can arrange the clothes differently: put the apparel in order or scatter it around. Do not forget about different accessories like caps, belts, bags, and shoes.
Shoes are easily accessible in any household, which makes them perfect props for photography ideas at home. This will give you a chance to diversify your portfolio with product photography .
You can use any style of shoes, sandals, boots or sneaks. When it comes to shoe photography , remember not to clutter the image, and keep it free from all the unneeded elements.
Don’t forget that you can improve your jewelry photography skills while staying at home. Just take your, or borrow from a friend, find a suitable jewelry background https://fixthephoto.com/jewelry-background.html (Creative Jewelry Background), read tips on how to photograph jewelry and you’re good to go!
Don’t forget to turn your flash off if you’re shooting something shiny, otherwise, you’ll have to deal with reflections. If you’re striving for professional shots, look into light boxes for jewelry photography , a model like Foldio 3 will provide consistent lighting across all shots.
If you have a book library at home put them to use by creatively arranging them. Position them in stacks, create different shapes, or try color coordinating them.
The more books you have the more elaborate compositions you can create. It’s a great idea for self portrait photography at home.
33. View from the Window
Are you lucky to have a great view from your window? Include that into your home photography. Capture someone admiring the view. It may be tricky to expose both the background and the foreground, so my piece of advice would be to try the compositing technique with the help of the compositing software .
34. Prism Rainbow
If you are looking for creative photography ideas at home, you should give prism photography a go. An ordinary prism can provide impressive results by creating rainbow effects. Just place it really close to the lens for portraits in the area of the frame where you want the effect to be.
35. Double Exposure
One of the most creative photography ideas at home is double exposure photography . This is a technique that involves combining two images to create a single photo. It’s better to place your subject against the white background and take a photo. It looks best with a landscape or a landscape texture on top.
The technique can be achieved with a film camera or you can create double exposure in Photoshop . You can also address photo manipulation service to achieve attractive results at an affordable price.
36. Use Mirrors
There are tons of ways a simple mirror can be incorporated into your portraits, but one of the most creative photography ideas at home is to use several mirrors to create an infinity mirror illusion. The mirrors must be parallel, with a camera between them. You may want to use free apps to remove unwanted objects from photo to get rid of the camera in your image.
37. Self Portraits
Home is a perfect place to capture self-portraits. One of the trendiest self portrait ideas is posing with a disco ball . Choose a self-timer mode on your camera to capture the photos without having to be near the camera.
38. Morning Routine
This is one of the sweetest photography ideas at home. Shooting in the morning when you are having a cup of coffee or reading a newspaper brings a special atmosphere to the picture. You can also turn it into a photography series , by shooting every morning, or capturing every Saturday morning.
39. Fairy Lights
Fairy lights are irreplaceable Christmas photo props , but they can also elevate any portrait. You can wrap the LED lights around people or put them in jars.
You can also cover part of your lens with them for a beautiful foreground. Create stunning bokeh by using a wide aperture, like f1/2-1.8.
40. Crystal Ball
A crystal ball will definitely spice up your photography. Crystal ball photography creates an effect as if you have used an external lens. The refraction turns the image upside down, creating captivating photos. It is recommended to use a macro lens to get closer to the ball.
41. Window Reflection
Capturing reflections in windows can help create real-life double exposure photos. The overlap of subjects inside and outside helps create an interesting and complex composition.
Avoid taking such photos at midday, because you will end up with lens glare. Instead, create blue and golden hour photography .
42. Mundane Activities
The main purpose of home photography is to present everyday objects or scenes in a captivating manner. Capture mundane activities, but improve them by using creative photography composition techniques , like the rule of thirds, or the leading lines.
Throw feathers up in the air for dreamy portraits. Feathers are excellent props for at-home children and couple photography .
Silhouette photography belongs to creative photography ideas at home. It creates a mysterious feel in the image. This allows viewers to fill gaps and come up with their own story from a picture.
To create backlit portraits , you need to place a light source behind the subject. You can also try to underexpose the shot a little, as it results in an even darker silhouette.
No matter what color are balloons , they are universal and cheap photography props for every kind of photoshoot. Fill the room with balloons of the same color to create monochromatic images. Match the color with your outfit to complete the look.
Glitter portraits are fun, although they can be a mess to clean up after. To improve your chances of capturing glitter quickly, use the continuous shooting mode.
47. Neon Paint
This is one of the creative indoor photography ideas . Simply grab a low light camera , neon paint and a UV flashlight .
Apply neon paint to your skin, and it will give off a pleasant glow if you shine a UV flashlight on it. You can also go one step further by creating neon patterns in the background too.
Use butterfly stickers to turn an ordinary portrait into a work of art.
49. Flower Mask
Take a regular face mask and attach flowers and greenery to it. This idea is very relevant given the current events.
A home is a perfect place to create newborn photography . You will need newborn photography props like cushions and posing pillows , blankets and wraps, a few accessories, and a ton of patience.
Try to capture babies during the first two weeks, because at this age, they are easier to pose, and you’ll be able to try more newborn photography poses .
Want to make your home photography look like it’s been taken by a professional in a studio? These ready-made Lr presets will help you achieve attractive color correction and consistent look across all photos.
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10 Creative photoshoot ideas to do at home
If you’re stuck indoors, there are plenty of ways you can practice photography at home and get creative with just your camera.
From natural light portrait photography to simple food photography at home or one light product shoots, I’ve put together a list of 10 creative photoshoot ideas you can try at home. You don’t have to get out to exciting locations, collaborate with large teams or photograph top-end products straight out the box to get great photos — some of these shoots are so simple that all you’ll need is your camera and a subject.
1. Natural light portrait photography
Technically, natural light portrait photography could be done indoors or outdoors, but either way, it’s a great excuse to get shooting. One of the best things about natural light portrait photography is that you really don’t need much equipment. To get started, all you need is your camera, a subject and some space.
If you’re shooting indoors, start by looking for a suitable light source, like a large window, and think about how you can make the most of your scene. In this indoor photography class I kept things really clean and simplistic, using just a large window as the light source, my camera and some diffusion material.
2. Photograph the kids
Whether it’s the weekend or holidays, take the opportunity to grab the kids for some quick photos at home. Again, these kinds of shoots can be done indoors or outdoors and require very little equipment.
If you can’t get outside, think of ways to get creative indoors. You could get them to dress up in their favourite outfit, pose with the family pet or use their toys as props ( as you’ll see in this portrait photography class ).
3. Natural light food photography
If photographing people isn’t your thing, why not try natural light food photography ? As you'll see in our newest food photography classes, you don't need to have amazing culinary skills to photograph food at home . As you'll see in two of our natural light food shoots, where Anna photographed a bowl of spaghetti and a charcuterie board, all you need are some basic ingredients, a space to shoot in, your camera and a tripod (a few reflectors may also come in handy).
4. Simple food photography at home
If you have a couple of studio lights , you can take this one step further. Take a look at this food photography class , where I use just two studio lights to create the feeling of natural light for a simple breakfast scene.
With just a few studio lights, you can get really truly creative. Why not see what you can come up with for your afternoon cup of tea , a jar of feta or even dessert ?
Food Photographer Anna Pustynnikova
Professional food photographer & stylist Anna Pustynnikova discusses her career and all things food photography-related.
5. Still life photography
Still life photography is a great way to really test your creativity and you really don’t need much to get started. Our recent live show - The Egg Challenge - is the perfect example. Shooting just an ordinary egg, I show you exactly how creative you can be using just your lighting and background.
Take a look around the house to see what you can find, whether it be books or pieces of fruit, and challenge yourself to see how many different shots you can come up with. It’s a great way to pass the time, test your skills and push your creativity.
6. One light product photography
Product photography can seem quite intimidating to many photographers, especially if they think they need multiple lights to get good results. If you know how to use and control light, the reality is that you can get some professional product photos using minimal equipment, as I showed in my recent ‘ One Light Challenge Product Shoot ' photography workshop.
The key things to have, in addition to your one light, are a selection of reflectors, mirrors and flags as these can be used to further control your light. If you want to get even more creative, you can also make use of long exposures, as I demonstrated in the one light product shoot
7. Simulating sunlight portrait lighting
Stuck indoors, looking for new creative portrait photography ideas? Why not try this simple one light portrait photography setup to recreate your own feeling of sunlight. This lighting setup is ideal for those who only have a small space to work in and only requires one light.
You can also build on this setup by introducing a flag to create the feeling of sun and shadow, as you’ll see in this portrait photography class .
8. Dramatic two light portrait lighting
If you're looking for something slightly more dramatic, why not take a look at this ‘ Dramatic Portraits ' photography class. Suitable for those working in a small space, all you’ll need for this shoot is your camera and subject, a tripod, two studio lights and a reflector (if you don’t have a reflector, you could also use a white board).
Don't forget to take a look at some of our other portrait photography classes , where you'll find a range of portrait lighting setups using one, two, three and four lights.
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Your definitive guide to studio portrait photography, with step-by-step lighting setups using 1, 2, 3, & 4 lights.
9. Bottle photography
Chances are you already have at least one bottle of wine, or some sort of spirit, laying around the house. Bottles are fairly easy products to photograph, they don’t require much equipment and, again, you can make it as simple or creative as you like.
© Karl Taylor
10. Splash photography
If you're feeling a little bit more daring, and you don't mind a little mess, why not try out splash photography ? In its simplest form, all you need for splash photography is one light, some diffusion material and a liquid of your choice.
You could try shooting water splashes, wine plashes or even paint splashes for simple but effective splash shots . Or, if you want to try something more, why not introduce some glasses or products?
FREE Classes & Photoshoot Inspiration
I've created a completely free Introduction to Photography Course made up of 10 classes, a 90-page downloadable illustrated guide and a 25 question quiz to help you keep on track.
These free photography classes also provide you with some examples and foundation knowledge to get more from these creative home photoshoots ideas. You’ll be able to apply your new skills to consistently shoot stunning photos that get noticed.
Other productive ways to further your photography
1. practice your post production.
If you’re stuck inside, can’t get out to photograph or don’t have any shoots planned, take the opportunity to work on your post production skills instead.
Never quite mastered the Pen tool ? Feel your burning and dodging skills could be refined? Take a look at our post production section, where you’ll find a variety of Photoshop classes that will help you learn the most important essential to advanced skills. You’ll also find a selection of downloadable work-along files that you can use to practice with.
Keep in mind that post production is an important part of the photographic process, and knowing how to use Photoshop and retouch photos is a valuable skill for any photographer to have.
2. Update important business documents
The business of photography.
Learn how to start a photography business and get professional advice to help you with your journey.
3. Make your own photography backgrounds
Growing tired of using the same backgrounds for your photography? Why not take the opportunity to create your own DIY photography backgrounds . From wooden boards to canvas backdrops, you can get fairly creative in just a few simple steps.
4. Learn first-hand from pro photographers
No, you don’t have to leave the house to learn first-hand from the pros… If you’re looking for ways to pass the time while still developing your knowledge, take a look at our past guest interviews , where I sit down with some of the industry’s leading photographers to find out what advice and tips they have to share.
As you can see, there’s plenty of photography ideas for you to try at home. You don’t necessarily have to get out or go to the studio to shoot, and you certainly don’t need a lot of equipment on hand. Let us know what some of your favourite home photoshoots are in the comments below.
If you're looking for more creative photography ideas, you'll find a wide range of informative videos throughout our site. From portrait photography classes to product photography classes , there is variety of tutorials for all skill levels.
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Creative Phone Photography: 8 Tips for Artistic Mobile Photos
A Post By: Megan Kennedy
A phone with a camera is great for photography. But it can be tough to break away from a “snapshot” mindset and start taking images that are truly creative .
In this article, we’ll take a look at some tips to help you capture creative phone photography. Specifically, I’ll share:
- Key settings to make the most of your phone’s camera
- Several tips to get you creating unique, artistic compositions
- A simple secret for surreal-looking phone photos
So if you’re ready to shoot some creative images, then let’s get started.
1. Shoot in RAW
Familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of your phone camera is an important way to expand your creative options. Modern camera phones have a surprising range of capabilities that you can use for better photos.
For example, it’s a good idea to shoot in a RAW file format (an option now offered by many native camera apps). While JPEGs are the default format on many phones, they experience a loss in image quality thanks to compression – whereas RAW files are uncompressed and therefore tend to look better.
RAW files also offer greater post-processing versatility. You can adjust colors and tones and recover lost details in a natural, realistic way.
So if you’re after high-quality photos – which allow for extensive enhancement during post-production – then try switching to RAW. (Even if your mobile phone doesn’t offer RAW in its native camera app, you should still be able to find a third-party app that produces high-quality RAW files.)
2. Make the most of Manual mode
As with a conventional camera, Manual mode allows you to take control of your phone’s camera’s settings when capturing a photo. In Manual mode, you can adjust shutter speed , ISO , and white balance – and this additional control allows for greater creative input.
To activate Manual mode (also known as Pro mode ) on some devices, open your Camera app and look at the camera mode tray. You should see settings like Timelapse and Panorama , and if you’re lucky, you’ll also have a Pro option.
Simply tap the Pro mode icon, and you’ll be good to go; you’ll gain access to numerous options for adjusting your phone camera’s functionality.
If your phone doesn’t offer a Pro mode, don’t worry. Simply download a third-party app such as ProCamera , Camera+ 2 , or Obscura 2 . All of these apps feature a Manual mode of sorts, and you can use it to harness your phone camera’s creative potential.
3. Don’t forget about composition!
Over time, plenty of guidelines have been developed to help photographers compose effective images. While none of these guides are inflexible laws, if you’re familiar with some basic compositional concepts , your photos will come a long way.
Of course, compositional knowledge translates to creative phone photography, too! For example, by activating your phone camera’s grid function, you’ll get a useful visual overlay, perfect for positioning key points of interest.
Learn about the rule of thirds , leading lines , the rule of space , triangular composition , and more; each of these will be helpful tools that’ll aid in your creative phone photography.
4. Make use of editing apps
I’ve already mentioned how third-party camera apps can give you increased control over your phone camera. But did you know that editing apps offer a whole other world of creativity?
For instance, Snapseed ( Android and iOS ) is a (free!) Google-owned application with plenty of tools for tweaking images and applying filters. VSCO ( Android and iOS ) offers some editing functions for free, including artistic, film-like filters. Adobe Lightroom ( Android and iOS ) supplies image editing tools similar to its desktop counterpart for free, and it can also be upgraded to a paid premium version for additional functionality.
(Unlike VSCO and Snapseed, only the paid version of Lightroom will edit RAW files.)
There are plenty of fun, creative apps available for both iOS and Android devices. Need a retro aesthetic? Afterlight (above, left) provides users with an advanced toolkit to add light leak effects to an image. Want to combine two images into a single photograph? Snapseed (above, right) allows you to quickly and easily merge image layers to create a double-exposure effect.
There are a multitude of apps that suit a huge variety of purposes and capabilities. The fun part is trying them all out!
5. Try different perspectives
One of the great things about creative phone photography is the mobility of a small photographic device. A camera phone isn’t just an accessory; it’s a pocket-sized machine capable of capturing stunning photos.
So take advantage of the size and portability of a phone camera by physically experimenting to create intriguing perspectives . Place your phone close to the ground, try a high angle, or shoot from off to the side. Just make sure to get a non-conventional perspective, and you’re bound to end up with interesting results.
6. Go abstract
Also known as experimental , non-objective , or conceptual photography , abstract photography avoids depicting immediately identifiable subject matter.
In fact, creative phone photography and abstraction are a good mix. The accessibility of the phone camera allows you to snap abstract images anywhere, anytime. For instance, when you’re out in a city, you might capture abstract images of puddles on the ground, posters torn off a wall, or reflections in a glass building.
And thanks to readily available editing apps, unique abstract perspectives can be rapidly captured, edited, and shared – or even saved as inspiration for a later shoot with a dedicated camera.
7. Photograph details
If you have your phone in your pocket all the time – and let’s face it, most of us do! – you’ll be ready to capture even the smallest occurrences at a moment’s notice.
Even when it’s tough to find inspiration, focusing on the details that shape an everyday environment can make for beautiful photos. Try activating your phone’s close-up or macro function , then get close to a subject. You can even purchase little lenses that attach to your phone for close-up photography. A small tripod or a sturdy surface can help keep the camera phone steady.
It may sound obvious, but doing great phone photography can take a little experimentation. Many people assume (due to the advanced and accessible nature of phone camera technology) that every shot will be successful.
But in reality, practice and experimentation are the keys to effective creative phone camera photography. Familiarize yourself with your phone camera’s capabilities and make time to shoot. The more you experiment, the better your images will turn out.
Creative phone photography tips: conclusion
Phone photography is a great way to create stunning photos, especially if you want to be artistic without investing in a heavy camera.
Plus, with such a huge variety of apps available, doing creative phone photography has become a much more streamlined process.
There is an old saying: “The best camera is the one you have with you.” And while this might not always be the case, if you take advantage of your phone camera, you can create some truly outstanding images!
Now over to you:
Have you done a lot of phone photography? How do you like it? Which of these tips do you plan to use first? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category
is a photographer and writer based in Canberra, Australia. Both her writing and photography has been featured in numerous publications. More of Megan’s work can be viewed at her website or on Instagram at MK_photodiary .
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21 Cool Projects for Photography Ideas at Home
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Are you looking for some fresh and creative photography ideas at home? We’ve gathered a list of ideas you can try!
These ideas are great if you’re new to photography and want to push your creativity to the next level. Or, if you’re a seasoned enthusiast in a creative rut, this list will reignite your imagination.
You don’t have to try them all. You can just try a few to test yourself, and if you have fun, you can keep going. You can learn new skills and techniques, but at the end of the day, photography is just about having fun!
Before we go through our list of photography ideas, there is something else that might keep you motivated… Setting up projects for yourself is a great way to maintain your enthusiasm for photography.
Sometimes, setting yourself a brief to follow can encourage productivity and creativity. You can set yourself daily, weekly, or even yearly projects. The time is entirely up to you.
The subject can be anything you find in your home. For one week, you could focus on shadows. The next one could be your cat. Our list below will help you keep your photography projects fresh and creative so you never run out of ideas.
Another way to find projects and stay motivated is with online photography forums . Being part of a community can help you stay enthusiastic. The forums often have creative photography projects you can join, and the other users will also have tips and tricks to share.
1. Go Wild With Pet Photography
Pet photography is a great way to start taking photos at home. Our animal companions bring us so much happiness and joy. So why not capture that with your camera?
The key to pet photography is capturing their personality. It’s about creating images representing how you feel about your dog , cat , or hedgehog. The images you create can be shared with others or kept as priceless mementos.
There are different styles and techniques you can use when photographing your pets . You can capture their natural behavior around the house. You could even pretend they are a wild animal and you’re a wildlife photographer if you like!
You can also take a more structured approach. You can take a formal portrait or even create your own scene for the pet to inhabit. You can be as creative as you like, and the photos will surely put a smile on your face.
2. Get a Taste for Food Photography
It seems like everyone is taking photos of their food these days. Our social media feeds are filled with food. But you can take your food photography to the next level . It isn’t just about showing people what you’re having for lunch— food photography is a serious business .
By using different shooting and lighting techniques , you can turn your food into a work of art. You can take your humble, home-cooked food and make it look like something you’d pay top dollar for. After all, before we eat with our mouths, we eat with our eyes.
With a few tricks, you could even turn your pie into a Picasso!
3. Create Dramatic Scenes With Shadows
Shadows are everywhere, but we often fail to notice them. But once you make an effort to look for them, you will find that shadows add patterns and drama to the scene. Shadows can change the atmosphere and restructure the composition of your scene. They are great for creative photography.
Shadow photography can be abstract and dynamic. Or, you can also use shadow to add intrigue to your portraits and still life.
You might find ready-to-shoot lines and patterns around your house. But, you can also get creative. Make your own shadows using everyday household items. You can add lines, patterns, and texture to your photography.
Shadows give you incredible scope for creating photography ideas at home.
4. Whet Your Camera Skills With Water
Water is another excellent subject for creative photography ideas. You find it in different areas of the house, and you can use it in different ways.
Rain is the perfect place to start. You can capture the raindrops on your windows or the ripples they create in your pond or birdbath. You can contrast the wet weather outside with the inside of your cozy kitchen.
Water is also easy to manipulate. You can use water droplets on different surfaces to make shapes and effects. Water in glass also manipulates light, creating interesting shadows. And, you can create ripples on the water’s surface when it’s in a container, just like in Jurassic Park!
Photography ideas at home are endless when it comes to water, even inside the house.
5. Capture Patterns Around Your Home
Patterns are all around us. Some are artificial, some natural. Others we might not even notice, and others we can create ourselves.
One photography idea is to take photos of the patterns on your tea towels and tablecloths. You could also use denim and corduroy from your wardrobe. And the wood grain on your tabletop or guitar can provide stunning natural patterns.
This photography idea will help you see the world in a new way. The patterns are there for you to find!
6. Create Stunning Still Life Images at Home
Still life is a creative photography idea that is full of versatility. There are so many still life photography ideas for you to try.
The subject is completely up to you. It could be food, utensils, bottles of alcohol, or family heirlooms. And the studio can be your kitchen tabletop.
Still life photography is also a great way to experiment with composition . You can learn to ask yourself important composition questions. How do I frame the subject? How many items do I include? How do I light my subject? These are all things you can play around with.
This photography idea is about turning the mundane into a masterpiece. Get your camera and try some still life photography at home.
7. Use Reflections to Create Surreal Images and Illusions
Mirrors are a useful tool for photographers to get creative in the home. Whether on the wall or hand-held, a mirror can work magic in your photography.
A mirror can be used to add light or create space, expanding a scene beyond the standard frame of the photo. They allow you to see from different angles at the same time. And you can create illusions and surreal effects by using multiple mirrors.
Another creative photography idea is to introduce a mirror into your portraiture. You can use the mirror to frame your subject, creating a frame within a frame . This is great for self-portraits too.
8. Create Spooky Scenes With Smoke
Smoke is another element you can use when looking for photography ideas. With its many connotations, you can use smoke to add mystery and danger to your photos.
First things first, be careful. Real smoke is dangerous, so it is best to use artificial alternatives like dry ice or aerosol sprays. Incense sticks are another option.
You can use smoke to bring a spooky atmosphere to your still life photos. Or, you can use lights to highlight the patterns of the smoke. Add mystery to your images using smoke to conceal elements of your scene.
Smoke can also be used in portrait photography. A common trope in old-fashioned close portraits was to have the subject smoking a cigarette. The smoke adds extra texture and intrigue to the photo.
9. Take Portraits of Your Nearest and Dearest
Portraiture may seem a bit traditional, but it’s an excellent photography idea if you want to get creative at home. If you live with family or friends, your subjects are right there.
In portrait photography, your camera captures the subject’s identity. You can take intimate photos of those you love. The subject could be your children or your grandparents.
The photos don’t have to be serious. You can play with the form using different styles and techniques. Some examples are close-up portraits, framing just the face, or you can try a more candid style.
You can also use different rooms of the house for varied lighting effects. And your subject may have a personal link to a specific room. Using settings this way will enhance the subject’s personality and your photo.
Portraits let the photographer flex their creative muscles. And, you’ll create photos you can treasure.
10. Indulge Yourself With Self-Portraits
Is a self-portrait just a selfie? Not really. Although you are still the subject, a self-portrait is far more than just a selfie . It’s a great way to experiment with photography ideas.
Self-portraits allow photographers to play with the form, even if they live alone. You don’t need a tripod—you can use any surface in the house. Having a camera with a timer is beneficial, but you can also use mirrors to capture yourself.
You can use different rooms of the house and curate your own set. You can use costumes, mirrors, or any other props you like. Have a look around your home. There will be a load of things you can use to get some great portrait photography ideas.
It’s also a great creative photography idea for introverts. The self-portrait can be used to portray parts of the personality they may not feel comfortable expressing in public. You are your own subject. The self-portrait is an opportunity to present an image of yourself, whether true or false.
11. Make Bubbles With Oil and Water
Oil and water don’t mix. But don’t worry, that’s why using them for photography is such a great idea.
The oil bubbles sit on the water, creating beautiful shapes and patterns. You are then able to capture the beauty with your camera. And a macro lens is definitely a bonus with this kind of photography .
You can manipulate the bubbles for different effects. To add other effects, you can use colored oils or add food coloring to the water. Light is another fantastic way to change the atmosphere or add creative elements .
You will need a few bits and pieces for oil and water photography. And, it could get messy, so be prepared. Nonetheless, it’s still one of the more creative photography ideas at home to try.
12. Explore Color and Patterns With Flower Photography
Flowers have been the subject of many artists over the centuries. And they can still be an excellent subject for trying out creative photography ideas.
In many ways, they are the perfect subject. They are colorful and manageable, and they stay still, unlike your dog! This allows the photographer to take their time. They don’t need to rush. They can focus on getting the right image. It’s great for experimentation.
You can use any camera for flower photography . A macro lens can get great floral shots, but you can make great images with your standard lens . You can even have a go with your smartphone.
If you are running out of photography ideas, send yourself a bunch of flowers!
13. Trim The Fat and Go Minimalist
Minimalism is another photography idea you can try out at home. Minimalist photography is the exploration of space and sparsity. It’s about simplicity and starkness.
When it comes to minimalist photography, you use negative space to emphasize the subject or scene. You are looking to make a clean and precise image without clutter.
Minimalism has a broad scope. You can have minimalist still lifes or landscapes. And minimalist portraits are an excellent photography idea to play with as well.
Minimalism is perfect for creative photography. Just remember, less is more.
14. Double the Fun With Double Exposure
Double exposure is a fantastic photography idea to experiment with at home. And, it’s a lot simpler than you may expect.
Double exposure is when you overlay one photo over another. And in some cases, it’s not just two images. This can be done “in-camera” or in post-production using Photoshop .
This technique allows you to add surreal effects and textures to your images. And no photography genre is off-limits. You can play with landscapes or portraits. Or you can use the laying effect to add humor to your photos.
Double exposure is a great way of experimenting. And it can take your photography to a whole new place.
15. Manipulate Time With Time-Lapse Photography
If you want to experiment with your camera at home, time-lapse is a great photography idea. You don’t need loads of equipment . You only need your camera , your subject, and some time.
Time-lapse with where you shoot the same shot multiple times at regular intervals. It allows you to document your subject for extended periods. You’ll need a wide aperture, but the shutter speed is up to you.
The intervals between the shots can vary. You will want short intervals for something fast, like a moving car. Maybe just one second. But if you want to capture something slow, like a blooming flower, you can extend the intervals.
Time-lapse is an excellent idea for creative photography in the house. You can document the flowers on the kitchen table or people moving around the room. Or, you can capture the light coming through the window throughout the day.
16. Carve Up the Hours With Time Slice Presentation
Another creative photography idea is a time slice . It’s a way of presenting your time-lapse images in a fun and exciting way.
If you have several images of the same scene at different times of day, you can take a slice of each one and put them together. You can then display the time-lapse from start to finish in one image.
Time slice is an excellent way to be creative with your photos in post-production. Photoshop is ideal, but you could even use Microsoft Paint.
17. Broaden Your Portfolio by Creating a Home Studio
Making your own home studio can be cheap and easy. And you don’t need to be a professional photographer . It’s an excellent photography idea that will allow you to get creative without leaving the house.
Creating a home studio doesn’t mean you must remove all the furniture and paint the walls white! You just need to set aside a space you can dedicate to taking photos. It can be a corner of a room or even a tabletop.
If you are doing larger, whole-body shots, you can pin bedsheets to the wall to create a white background . If you’re working on a surface, you can use white or colored paper. And for lighting, you can use any household lamp you have.
If you want to get some product photography shots, you can create your own infinity curve or lightbox .
Making a home studio is a fantastic way to create great images of portraits, products, or pets. It’s cheap, easy, and great for creative photography at home.
18. Use Depth of Field to Create Different Moods
Another excellent photography idea is to experiment with depth of field . No matter the photography style , you can experiment with the depth of field in your images.
Depth of field refers to how much of your photo is in focus. A photo with a shallow depth of field will have its subject in focus , while the foreground and background will be out of focus. For images with a deep depth of field, the full photo will be in focus.
You adjust the depth of field by changing the f-stops on your camera. For shallow depth, you will need a wide aperture like f/22. And for a deep depth of field, you’ll need a narrow f-stop like f/1.4. To get the correct exposure, you will have to adjust the shutter speed.
For real estate or landscape photography, a deep depth of field is beneficial. It keeps the whole scene in focus. For something more intimate, where you have a singular subject, you may prefer a shallow depth of field.
No matter what genre you’re shooting, you can get creative with depth of field.
19. Spice Up Your Photography with Homemade Filters
Add some effects to your photography by creating your own filters . These DIY options are cheap and easy to source, but they are great for a creative photographer on a budget.
Be careful, though. Do not put anything directly on the camera lens . Substances like Vaseline and lipstick can ruin the glass coating, causing irreversible damage to the lens.
To give your photo a dream-like haze, take some clingfilm or a sandwich bag and wrap it around the front of your lens. You don’t want to cover it; you want to encircle the lens with plastic. It will blur the outer edges of the image.
You can also try sheets of transparent colored plastic. You can use more than one sheet to create more colors and a heavier blur. Another option is to use a prism close to the lens.
Trying your hand at some DIY is a great way to expand your creative photography at home. Have some fun and create your own lens filters.
20. Experiment with Photomontage
You can get creative in post-processing with a photomontage . It’s easier with digital images. But it’s great fun with film photography too.
Photomontage is where you take many photos of the same subject and combine them to create one image. Much like cubism in painting, you can play with perspective and form. You can capture your subject from different angles and put the photos together in a surreal and textured photomontage.
You can also use photomontage for landscape photography . By using many photos, you can expand the frame of the final image. You will achieve a panoramic effect.
Creating a photomontage is an excellent photography project you can do at home. The subject and style are up to you. Check out David Hockney’s photomontages for inspiration.
21. Get Up Close and Personal with Macro Photography
Macro capture is a creative photography technique you can try at home. Get up-close and personal to your subject and stretch your horizons as a photographer.
It isn’t just close-up photography. Macro photography is about capturing the very small but making it look large. You want the subject to dominate your photo. Flowers and insects are excellent subjects to start with, but feel free to experiment.
Getting a good macro lens is the best place to start. But, you’ll also need to understand depth of field. It’s the technique to give the subject a powerful presence in your image.
If you are curious about the very small, the macro niche is a perfect creative photography idea for you. To learn more about macro photography, check out our Macro Magic eBook !
No matter the reason you’re staying in, our list of great creative photography ideas at home will give you something to try. Being inside doesn’t mean you can’t create great photos!
Play around and use what you have at your disposal. Combine props with new photography techniques , like depth of field or time-lapse.
5 Stay at Home Mobile Phone Photography Ideas You Can Try Today
Here in the United States, the coronavirus is still (ostensibly) keeping people at home, and that means lost gigs and fewer chances to shoot outside. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative at home. If you want to challenge yourself using only your phone (or if that’s all you have), here are a few tips to create some interesting images with minimal tools.
Photographer Jordi Koalitic shares a few images he made with his Xiaomi Redmi Note Pro , and while that’s not the most common phone around, the techniques he uses in his YouTube video can apply to any phone out there. In the video, you’ll see a lot of information about shutter speeds, apertures, and ISOs that were used, and while something like the default iPhone app won’t give you such controls, it’s simple to find an app, such as ProCam , that can add these features to your phone without much fuss. Some of these photos use ultra-wide lenses as well, so if you’re a Google Pixel 3a user, like myself, some of the effects will be harder to recreate since phones like that only have one lens that approximates a standard field of view.
Once you’re past the point of manual control on your phone, Koalitic shares how he used ordinary things that are easy to find — orange peels, sand, ice cream cones, and sprinkles, for example, to create extraordinary images. Some of it involves changing your perspective, such as using glass to get under the sand, while others involve some classic tricks with shutter speed (such as long exposures to create light trails and fast exposures to freeze action). Of course it seems that Koalitic has a few folks around who can serve as models for his photos, and so if you’re quarantining alone, you’ll have to get creative, or perhaps use yourself while your phone is on a self timer. There’s always the option to use a GorillaPod with a phone mount to get some creative angles as well.
Koalitic even recreates a photo a user submitted to him as part of a photo contest, making creative use of an orange peel at the end of the video, again all with only using his cell phone for the image.
Have you come up with any creative photo projects using minimalist gear while staying at home? Share your own phone creations in the comments below.
Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.
Phone Photography 101: How to Take Good Pictures With Your Mobile Device
Published: September 07, 2023
Before the days of smartphones — if you can remember such a time — taking a great photo was a labor-intensive process. Now, it’s easy to learn how to take good photos with your phone — no fancy cameras or desktop editing software required.
What's the secret to taking great pictures with your smartphone, then? As it turns out, there are a few of them. Check out these tips below to improve your smartphone photography game. (And once you have the photo-taking part down, check out some of the best photo editing apps for mobile .)
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Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today:, how to take good photos with your phone: 11 tips & tricks.
- Get to know your camera.
- Learn how to use light.
- Compose each photograph.
- Focus on one subject at a time.
- Set your camera's focus.
- Hold your phone still.
- Experiment with exposure.
- Use photo accessories.
- Don't be afraid to edit.
- Ask for feedback.
Photography is a way of seeing, and showing how you see the world around you. Smartphone photography is popular too. On average, people around the globe take over a trillion photos each year — and according to research, 92% of these photographs are taken with smartphones. But you can make your photos unique — all it takes is practice.
Take as many photos as you can.
Your phone is probably with you most of the time. This means that you can take great photographs anywhere and any time. So, instead of taking just one photo of a subject you’re interested in, take 10, 20, or even 30 photographs. Then, spend some time looking at your pictures to see which ones you like best, and why.
Find different perspectives.
Taking photos from a unique, unexpected 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 people taking photos on mobile photos are shooting images either straight-on or from above.
Try taking a photo from a slight distance and playing with the sky as negative space, like in the first photo below. Or, you can try taking it at a slight downward angle.
Pro Tip: If you take a photo and find the perspective is a little askew or tilted, use the SKRWT photo editing app to make the lines look clean and square.
Posed photos can be great for the sake of memories — happy moments with friends, family, or the occasional run-in with a celebrity. But sometimes, candid shots of people doing things, or people with people, can be far more interesting.
That's because candid photos are better able to effectively capture the emotion and essence of a moment. One of the best ways to capture this kind of shot is to just take as many photos as possible. You'll have more to choose from, and the best photos often happen when the "stars align," so to speak, in a single moment — everyone's eyes are open, one person is tilting their head just so, and you finally got a shot of your chronically closed-lip friend smiling with his teeth.
If you want to take more photographs and aren’t sure where to start, check out this list of Instagram post ideas for inspiration.
2. Get to know your camera.
It can be tough to take good photos on a phone if you don’t know exactly how it works. So, take the time to explore the different camera modes and settings on your phone. Get familiar with functions like adjusting focus and exposure. Many phones have automatic white balance, so you may need an extra app to get the features you’d get on a digital camera like a DSLR .
Use a modern phone with a good camera.
Invest in a phone that offers excellent camera capabilities. Think about resolution and low-light performance too. Brands add new technologies to smartphone cameras constantly, such as built-in telephoto and ultrawide lenses. So, if you’re looking for specific features you may want to do some research before buying. You can also use older phone technologies to create interesting images with a vintage feel.
That said, if you are hoping to achieve high-quality images that meet the standards of your favorite Instagram photographers , a newer smartphone is more likely to bring you those results.
Use HDR mode.
High dynamic range or HDR, is a camera app feature that helps balance the light and dark elements in a high-contrast photo. You can use it to give photos a more creative, or artsy vibe, but it’s commonly used to produce an image that looks more like how you see your subject with your eyes.
Often with smartphone cameras, it’s hard to get the perfect exposure for light and dark areas. You could be taking a photo of someone in a shaded area outside against a bright background or in a room with low light against a bright wall. Setting the exposure to the background could underexpose the person being photographed. Conversely, setting the exposure to the subject could result in an overexposed background.
HDR prevents this by retaining both the details in darker areas and shadows and bright areas. The iPhone takes photos in HDR by default. For Android phones, you may need to adjust HDR settings manually.
Try portrait mode.
Using the portrait mode feature on your phone will create a shallow depth of field effect. This adds blur to the background and makes your subject stand out. You can also adjust the exposure for your unique shot or experiment with light settings in portrait mode. Test out different lighting conditions and distances to get the desired effect in your photos.
Clean your phone's lens.
A smartphone camera might be more convenient to carry around than a full-fledged photojournalist's camera, but it comes at the cost of protection.
Your phone is usually in your pocket or your bag when you're out of the house. All the while, the device's camera lens is collecting all kinds of dust and lint. Be sure to clean this lens with a soft handkerchief before taking a photo. You might not be able to tell just how dirty the lens was until you start editing your picture, and making sure the lens is clear before taking a shot can keep you from missing great shots.
3. Learn how to use light.
Understanding how to use light effectively is crucial for capturing captivating photos. The way you use light can completely transform any photograph.
So, to improve your phone photography, figure out how to harness light. Try using the golden hour in the morning or evening for warm and soft lighting or create dramatic shadows with a harsh spotlight. And, remember to adjust the exposure to make the most of the light you have.
Use natural light.
Natural light isn’t just for landscape photography. Take advantage of any sources of natural light you can find, even after dark. This gives you a chance to play with shadows or create a silhouette with other ambient sources of light, like windows or surrounding buildings.
You may also want to try backlight, where your main light source is behind your subject instead of in front of it.
Once you've taken the photo, you might want to play with the exposure tool in your favorite photo editing app to see if you can make the image slightly brighter, without making it too grainy.
Play with reflections.
There's something so idyllic about seeing the sky reflected in a body of water. There's a reason why we love seeing that — our eyes are drawn to reflections. So look for opportunities to play with them in photos.
There are plenty of out-of-the-box places to find reflections — puddles, large bodies of water, mirrors, sunglasses, drinking glasses, and metallic surfaces are just a few.
If you use flash, only do so during the day.
It's hard to find a great smartphone photo taken with a flash. Unless you use the flash expertly, it can make a photo look overexposed, negatively alter colors, and make human subjects look washed out.
Sometimes, using your camera's flash can improve a photo — but rarely does it do so at night. Because dark shots reveal a much sharper contrast against your phone's flash, it can make any flash look invasive and uneven.
But in already well-lit spaces, a flash can help to soften some dark shadows behind or beneath your main subject.
When framing your next shot, look on the ground or against vertical surfaces for any dark shadows you might want to remove. If you see any, flip on the flash manually in your camera app. Setting your phone's camera flash to "auto" won't guarantee that your phone will notice the shadows you want to get rid of. Just remember to turn the flash off again when you're done.
Consider the importance of flash for enhancing or hiding certain lines and features the next time you're shooting product photography.
4. Compose each photograph.
Composition in photographs is key. From Annie Leibovitz to Richard Avedon, the most famous photographers use careful arrangement of the picture plane to create powerful photographic images.
But you don’t have to be an expert to create unique and beautiful photographs. You just need to find a way of composing images that’s your own.
Use gridlines to balance your shot.
One of the easiest and best ways to improve your mobile photos is to turn on the camera's gridlines. That superimposes a series of lines on the screen of your smartphone's camera based on the " rule of thirds " — a photographic composition principle that breaks an image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, so you have nine parts in total.
According to this theory, if you place points of interest in these intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced and level, and allow viewers to interact with it more naturally.
To switch the grid on:
- iPhone: Go to "Settings," choose "Camera," and switch "Grid" on.
- Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to "Settings," scroll down and switch the "gridlines" option to "on."
- Google Pixel: Launch the Camera app, then tap the down arrow. Go to "More Settings," then "Grid type." Finally, choose the type of grid you want.
Use leading lines.
In some photos, there's a line that draws the viewer's eye toward a certain part of the frame. Those are called leading lines. They can be straight or curvilinear— think staircases, building facades, train tracks, roads, or even a path through the woods.
Leading lines are great for creating a sense of depth in an image, and can make your photo look purposefully designed — even if you just happened to come upon a really cool shape by accident.
Look for symmetry.
Symmetry can be defined as "a vague sense of harmonious and beautiful proportion and balance." And pictures that contain symmetry can be incredibly pleasing to the eye — it's also one of the simplest and most compelling ways to compose a photo.
In photography, symmetry usually means an image has two equal parts that are mirror images of each other. That's a bit different from reflections — you can find symmetry "in the wild," like the photo above, or you can set up your photo for symmetry, as photographer Andoni Beristain did below.
And remember — use gridlines to line everything up in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.
5. Focus on one subject at a time.
Composition is a huge part of what makes a photo great, but so is the photo's subject. Many of the best photos include just one interesting subject, like in portrait photography. So when taking a picture of a single subject, spend some extra time setting up the shot.
Some professional photographers say that the subject shouldn't fill the entire frame, and that two-thirds of the photo should be negative space — that helps the subject stand out even more. But be sure you tap the screen of your smartphone to focus the camera on your subject. This will help make sure that your image is in focus and has optimal lighting.
Pro Tip: Once you've taken your photo, you can use filters and apps to make the subject even more vivid, or to crop it to frame the subject correctly. You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation of the photo — all from your phone.
Play around with color blocking.
Color blocking can help to highlight the elements of a photo that you want to stand out, like a plant or something else with a bold hue. It achieves a similar goal as negative space, in that it can help a single subject stand out — but with color blocking, the photo's other elements stay intact for a cohesive image.
Pro tip: Isn't it cool when an entire photo is black and white, except for a single object? It turns out that yes, indeed, there are apps for that. One of our favorites is Color Splash — an app that automatically converts a picture to grayscale and lets you fill in the parts you want to colorize.
Abstract photos can capture the essence of an object, or a series of them, without revealing the entire subject as a whole. In other words, they serve the purpose of creating unique, surprising images from ordinary subjects.
You can accomplish this by cropping an abstract portion of an otherwise normal photo, or by taking close-up shots of objects that leave the viewer wondering — in admiration, of course — what the subject might be. And subjects with patterns or repetition are great candidates for abstract photography, like in the photo of umbrellas below.
Make 'em laugh.
Speaking of evoking emotion, sometimes the most memorable photos are the ones that make us giggle. The image below of a woman submerged in pink balloons is funny because it's unexpected — and there's a part of us that wants to join her, too. If you can make your audience laugh, they're likely to enjoy your photo.
6. Set your camera's focus.
Today's phone cameras automatically focus on the foreground of your frame, but not every picture you take on your phone has an obvious subject. 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, for example, it can be difficult for your camera to follow this subject and refocus as needed. 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.
Avoid zooming in.
When you take a photo from a distance, it's tempting to zoom in on something specific you're trying to capture. But it's actually better not to zoom in — doing so can make the photo appear grainy, blurry, or pixelated.
Instead, try to get closer to your subject — unless it's a wild animal, in which case we would advise keeping your distance — or take the photo from a default distance, and crop it later on. That way, you won't compromise quality, and it's easier to play around or optimize a larger image.
Keep an eye out for repetitive patterns.
Repetitive patterns are pleasing to the eye — they appear whenever strong graphic elements repeat over and over again, like lines, geometric shapes, forms, and colors. These patterns can make a strong visual impact, and photographing something like a beautiful, tiled floor can be enough to create a striking image. Other times, it's more fun to keep an eye out for where they appear naturally or unintentionally, like in the photo below.
7. Hold your phone still.
While smartphones have given us the benefit of taking pictures on the go, the cameras on our phones are still sensitive to movement. To help avoid blurry or warped photos, steady your camera first.
You can lean on a friend or wall to prevent your arms or hands from wobbling, or prop your phone up using books or similar objects to steady your phone.
Consider buying a mobile tripod.
Mobile devices make it easy to snap any photo on the go. But there's never been an easy way to make sure the shot stays level and balanced when you shoot — especially if you want to be in the picture and not just take a typical selfie with your extended arm.
Mobile tripods give you the freedom to mount your smartphone for quick hands-free shots without lugging any heavy equipment with you. Most mobile tripods are barely bigger than your mobile device and can bend to any angle. Learn how these miniature tripods can help enhance your mobile video experience below.
8. Experiment with exposure.
Another mobile camera feature you'll want to set manually is your exposure. Tapping your screen when your phone's camera is on doesn't just refocus the lens on a new subject — it also automatically adjusts how much light the camera lets in. This, too, won't always look just right. It's best to adjust it by hand.
To change your mobile camera's exposure by hand, open your camera app and tap the screen. When you see the lens refocus, you'll see a very small sun icon and a vertical scale. Slowly swipe your finger up and down this scale to adjust the light level.
Capture small details.
You may have heard the phrase, "It's the little things." Sometimes, that also applies to photos. Close-up images that capture small, intricate, and delicate details can make for really compelling visual content.
It can be tricky to photograph close-up objects with a smartphone. To focus on an object, tap the area you’re trying to capture. If you’re unable to focus the image, move slightly away. You can also tap another part of the screen, then go back to your subject to try focusing again. iPhone 13 and later also have a "macro" mode that can help with close-up shots.
Pro Tip: Use the "sharpen" tool in your favorite photo editing app to (conservatively) sharpen the details of your photo.
Embrace negative space.
"Negative space" simply refers to the areas around and between the subjects of an image — and it can take a photo from "good" to "great."
When you include a lot of empty space in a photo, your subject will stand out more and evoke a stronger reaction from your viewer. And what does negative space look like? It's often a large expanse of open sky, an empty field, a large wall, or water, as in the example below.
9. Use photo accessories.
Photo accessories like lenses, apps, and lights can make your smartphone a more powerful camera, adding features to boost your photographs while you’re shooting and as you edit and prepare your images for sharing.
Attach an external lens.
Want to get really fancy? External lenses are for you. There are actually several out there that you can attach to the top of your smartphone's native camera lens — from fish-eye to wide-angle lenses. These add-ons can bring an entirely new quality and perspective to your photos.
According to Wirecutter , the best camera lenses for iPhone photography are made by Moment , a manufacturer of mobile lenses. Start there, or do some research to find the lens add-ons that fit your smartphone photography needs.
Try a shutter button.
A selfie stick is great for making that special selfie a little less arm-focused. But shutter buttons give you even more freedom to create great photos with your phone. Remote shutter buttons also allow for steadier shots and help prevent the inevitable camera shake as you try to click the shutter on your screen.
Use photo apps.
Whether you want tone curve adjustments, blemish fixing, HSL color correction, or gradients, there’s an app for that. Photo apps for desktop and mobile enable you to go wild in post-production to make your photos one of a kind.
10. Don't be afraid to edit.
Composing and taking photos on your smartphone is just the first step to making it visually compelling. Editing your photos is the next step — and a critical one, at that. Filters can be a valuable photographic tool, particularly when it comes to two goals: 1) Removing blemishes from a picture, and 2) making food look even more delicious.
Beauty filters are a common fix— and now, the iPhone photos app offers many similar filters. There are also apps like Pho.to , which can automatically retouch facial photos without a lot of work. And when it comes to those photos of your daily meals? Another great app is Foodie , which comes with its own set of filters optimized for different types of food.
But there are many other fantastic photo and video editing apps out there for mobile devices — check out this post to see some of the best ones out there. If you want to edit your photos on desktop, this list of Photoshop shortcuts can help you speed up the process.
And, if you’re creating photos, you may also want to share them. Photo-sharing apps like Instagram include tons of in-app features for editing .
Some of the most delightful and remarkable photos come out of cool, unique ideas. Images are more effective than text at evoking emotion from your viewers — that often means getting your photos to say something.
Try thinking outside of the box when it comes to what you're capturing — your viewers could be pleasantly surprised by a cool or unexpected approach.
Want more tips on creating visual content? Check out these design tools for creating visual content .
11. Ask for feedback.
As you grow as a photographer, you can learn a ton just by looking at the work of other photographers . But if you really want to push yourself, it’s a good idea to ask for feedback.
Getting critique on your photos from others can give you useful insights about how what your audience sees in your photos and what emotions they evoke. This feedback process is also helpful if you’re using your photo skills for a business. If this describes you, you may also want to check out these tips on product photography and taking photos for real estate .
Share your photos with friends, family, or online photography communities to get some constructive criticism and tips for improvement. Critique can be tough to take at first, but if you really want to improve your photos, the risk is worth it.
Take Better Photos
Thanks to our mobile devices and the editing apps that come with them, we can now take high-quality photos and edit them just about anywhere — all from the same device that we use to make calls.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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