How to Optimise Composition for Camera Phone Pictures

March 6, 2020

3:46 pm

Conor Mulloy

Founder of InstaTours - Shoot amazing instagrams because image is important.

Ever wonder why your friend’s Insta feed gets so many more likes than yours even though it is just pictures of objects and rooms, shot on an iPhone? 

The trick to getting the best out of your smartphone photographs isn’t merely the subject.

It is the juxtaposition of different elements within the image, also called the composition. 

If you’re struggling with making your smartphone photography more attractive, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you some tips to optimise composition for the pictures you take using your camera phone. 

No matter what make it is.


Defocus the background

Source: Pixabay

If you believe that the background doesn’t really add much value to the story you are trying to tell, try using that wonderful live focus feature on your smartphone camera. This will bring your subject crisply into focus, blurring out the background making for a powerful shot.


Fill the frame

Source: Pixabay

This one is pretty basic. By filling the frame of your lens with the primary object, you give importance to the subject, as opposed to any background. This is a good composition to use when the background doesn’t have much to offer by way of a story about the subject, as in the case of a beloved pet gazing into the camera. 


Frame your shot

Source: Pixabay

Choosing a natural frame for your primary object is a great way to enhance the subject. The frame can consist of any other objects that surround the main subject. An example is this great shot of a plane surrounded by buildings on all sides. Framing has a soothing effect on the viewer, who subconsciously appreciates the natural frame created from the surrounding elements. 


Assemble the shot in symmetry

Source: Pixabay

Symmetrical shots are a great way to attract viewers to your smartphone shots. Nature has a lot of great examples of symmetry, so this is something to look for the next time you are in the woods. The more appealing the image, the better your shot will appear. 


Use texture

Source: Pixabay

Textures can add a compelling view for your audience. Imagine a rain spattered umbrella. Or a close up of a grainy wood surface. Textures can add an interesting flavour to an otherwise dull image, particularly when shot up close to the subject. 


Look for bright colours

Source: Pixabay

Bright colours are the best way to fascinate your audience. A bright explosion of colour against a drab background adds a pop of life to your timeline, making a viewer sit up and take notice. 


Go for depth


Depth shots work well for certain scenarios. Take for example when you are shooting a series of objects with the first being closest to the viewer and the rest disappearing into the distance. Showing the depth also works well by allowing the background to be slightly out of focus compared to the foreground. 


Show some space


Showing space around the subject of your picture is a classy way to add a professional look to your smartphone shot. This can mean that if you have a subject looking at something off-camera, take a larger shot so that there is some breathing room around the subject. 


Enforce the rule of thirds


Most smartphone cameras have features that are close to what you would expect to find on a DSLR. For instance, turning on gridlines in your camera settings can bring up a grid that can help you place the elements in your image so that a subject intersects the lines of the grid. You can then place the subject off centre and get a perfect shot that pleases the eye. The rule of thirds, as it is called works because our eyes are more attuned to images that are split into three parts. 


Capture the contrast


Contrast can be a fascinating way for you to add more detail to an otherwise flat looking image. You can take advantage of natural occurrences, like a fog in the distance, to add contrast. You can also do this by using natural lighting conditions that make the foreground brighter than the background, and so forth. 

You’ll find that the more pictures you take with your smartphone, the more you will understand how composition works. Keep looking for interesting patterns and use your creativity to make an otherwise dull image more appealing. Practice makes perfect, so don’t lose hope!



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