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How to Maximize Your Smartphone’s Features to Come Up With Great Photos

Updated on October 30, 2015

While there are digital single lens reflex cameras today and digital cameras made solely for the purpose of taking great photos, smartphone users don’t necessarily have to buy these additional gadgets just to have wonderful photos. If you know how to maximize the features of your smartphone, you can come up with great photos.

Most of these tips may not apply to iPhone users since the iPhone cameras naturally have a few settings, but you’ll find out later on some applicable tips for iPhone users as well. Android-based smartphone users on the other hand will benefit from most of these settings since an Android mobile operating system differs from iOS because it provides more options for variety and change.

If you know your phone’s features well as well as the options for enhancing photos, you can do a lot with your photos. Of course, the overall quality would still be dependent on the hardware features of your phone, but since most smartphones nowadays have high megapixel resolutions for their cameras, coming up with satisfying snapshots shouldn’t be a hard thing for most smartphone owners.

White Balance Settings

As with DSLRs and digital cameras, most phones also have settings that the owners can experiment with. These settings are important if you want to come up with great shots. One such setting is the white balance setting. You can choose to set it on Auto mode which is the default setting that works for most scenes. For phones with higher megapixel resolutions, this is a great feature.

However, there are times when your environment would require a different white balance. The white balance setting of your phone affects how white surfaces look on the photo. When you change it, you will see that there are times when white surfaces would look yellowish or bluish depending on your environment and the white balance setting you choose. Pick the one that would complement the photo the most.

Some of the most common white balance settings include:

  • Cloudy – This works best for overcast weather when you’re outdoors. If you’re inside and the lighting is somewhat gloomy, it may be beneficial to try this setting, too.
  • Sunny – Sometimes when you’re outside the aperture of your phone’s camera gets too much light. When this happens, choosing the sunny or sunlight white balance setting can help tone down the brightness and balance out the yellowing effect of the natural sunlight.
  • Fluorescent – When indoors, you can come up with more realistic images with the fluorescent white balance.
  • Light bulb –Yellow indoor light is different from sunlight. If you want a clearer and crisper photo that isn’t too yellow, balance it out with this white balance setting.

It would take trial and error to find the best white balance, and sometimes some settings work unexpectedly well even if they are not made for those situations, so try tinkering with this feature from time to time.

Photo Resolutions and Orientation

Sometimes you will be faced with a view that looks splendid and you would like to capture as much of it as you can. Basic knowledge of photo resolutions and orientation is essential if you want to capture what you see with your eyes.

Portrait orientation is great when taking pictures of a single person or upright objects such as statues, walking people, or something that is vertical. This would usually give you a narrow photo which you can even use as your phone’s wallpaper. Usually you don’t even need to crop or edit much in a portrait image if you are going to use it as a phone wallpaper.

Landscape orientation, on the other hand, works best when taking pictures of wide spaces such as fields, roads, outdoor landscapes. It would capture more space from side to side while still being able to capture some of the sky in your photo. These photos are ideal for post cards.

A special feature that would help you come up with interesting shots would be panorama. You can take several frames that would be stitched together to come up with a single photo. This works well for outdoor settings. Just move your camera from side to side or from top to bottom to come up with longer or wider photos.


The importance of lighting cannot be forgotten. Any photographer would tell you that lighting is one of the most important things in photography. The perfect lighting would add to the beauty and quality of your photos. Adjusting your flash settings would be beneficial indoors and in dark places, but remember the following tips:

  • Unless the space is dark, try not to use the flash since it would only make your background look darker.
  • If you want to use the flash without darkening your background indoors, use slow-sync flash to have a more balanced effect.
  • Using flash has the tendency to make well-lit places look darker than they are, so use flash sparingly, and only when the natural light, as well as artificial light, is really insufficient.

When you’re photographing something indoor, make sure not to block the source of light or that the shadow of your phone or hands don’t block your subject. This results in unwanted shadows. If the light is too bright, you may want to consider blocking it a bit with your body, but be careful when doing this because it may result in poor lighting if you don’t do it right. Experiment with your flash and see how much of an improvement it can do to your photos in low-light conditions so that when you need it, you know which flash settings to use.


When it comes to enhancements, there are many different mobile apps to choose from to come up with the best-looking photos for your phone. For iPhone users in particular, making use of apps to enhance photos is of the essence because the shooting features of their phone are a bit limited.

Apps can help you control contrast, brightness, sharpness, tones, saturation, and give you easy options on overall adjustments. Settings include low to high retouches and you will often be given options on how much you want to adjust your photos simply by dragging or clicking on adjustment features.

There are also apps that help reduce blemishes, add filters, give blur, and other artistic features that make your photos look like works of art. If you know how to adjust your photos using apps, the results might just amaze you as if you can have your own photo gallery. It would take some practice to come up with the perfect photos with you smartphone or iPhone but spending some time finding out which settings work best for photos of a certain look and how to control the temperature or saturation of photos would help a lot.

Keep these tricks in mind and don’t be afraid to experiment with your smartphone camera. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll definitely be able to come up with stunning photos. Be proud to share the photos you take with your smartphone on your social media accounts and get some feedback from others on how you can improve them or pick up some techniques that you probably never tried before.

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Submit a Comment

  • kgmonline profile imageAUTHOR

    Geri MIleff 

    3 years ago from Czech Republic

    Many thanks, Deborah! :) Namaste

  • Deborah Demander profile image

    Deborah Demander 

    3 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

    Thanks for the great tips! I look forward to trying them.



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