The Definitive Guide to Taking Professional Photos with Phone Apps

Every business, no matter what industry or what size, needs great photos.

Even if you don’t sell “pretty products”, and even if you don’t sell a physical good, great photos are a must. According to Larry Kim, the CEO of MobileMonkey, people form a first impression in 50 milliseconds. First impressions are everything and when potential customers see lazy and unprofessional images connected to your brand, they wonder what else in your business is lazy and unprofessional. But, there is no need to buy an expensive camera or have a photographer on staff. You can easily learn how to take professional photos with phone apps!

Your media represents your business and brand. Taking great, quality photos can help your business to establish credibility. Plus, it helps to visually tell your customers a story, and provide shareable content. Also, people are more likely to engage with quality content by liking and sharing.

Where You Need Photography

But before we get into how to take professional photos with phones, let’s cover how you’ll use these photos. Before consumers buy items online or in-person, they research them! This means having quality, professional photos is crucial for any and every business. Professionals photos are a positive reflection of your business and help to build your brand! Your photos should be displayed and posted on your business’ website, social media pages, and business listings.

For businesses with tangible items such as clothing or jewelry stores, the online photos of your products or services are the first impression for potential customers. For businesses with intangible items or services such as accountants, health care providers or consultants, you need professional photos too! Since customers can’t typically try or inspect these items or services beforehand, they are likely to depend on reviews and the photos provided online of the business when making their purchasing decision! For example, when booking a hotel online, do you book the hotel with the bad quality photos or the one with the quality pictures?

What Should Be In The Photos?

Next, let’s take out what should be in these professional photos you are taking with your phone. As previously mentioned, these photos reflect your business so you want to stay on brand. The pictures should include your staff, the items/services you offer, and all things related to your brand! For example, if you post a graphic with text, make sure the background and text colors are your brand colors!

A Guide to Great Phone Photography:

Tips To Taking Better Pictures

You don’t need to be a professional photographer or camera gear to take great photos for your business. All you need is your handy, dandy smartphone! Besides basic things like keeping your camera steady, or not using zoom, did you know that your camera phone has multiple hidden features that help to take quality photos? Here are some quick tips on how to take professional photos with a phone:

  • Turn on HDR: HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range.” This feature helps to brighten parts of the image that are meant to be bright while managing to keep the dark colors dim. Also when HDR is turned on, it takes three photos instead of just one. You should use HDR when taking photos of things like landscapes, portraits in sunlight, and in low light/backlit scenes. You should not use HDR when taking photos that include movement, high-contrast scenes, or vivid colors.
  • Locking the Focus: By simply touching the object on the screen, the focus of the camera will shift towards it. On most phones, using the AF lock feature can help to keep the focus exactly where you want it to be.
  • Burst Mode: For taking images of action shots, we recommend using burst mode. This feature allows you to continuously capture ten photos every second. It helps to capture moving subjects or even when your hand and camera are moving! It can be used for candids, action shots, nature and more. Simply tap and hold the shutter down on the phone’s camera app to activate burst mode.
  • Rule of Thirds: Basically the rule is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (horizontally and vertically) so you have 9 parts. When taking a photo on your phone, you typically see a grid with the rule of thirds applied already. If you place points of interests in the intersections, your picture becomes more balanced. This allows anyone viewing your photo to interact with it more naturally.
  • Portrait Mode: This feature is only available on the iPhone 7 Plus and later versions. Portrait mode uses the dual cameras in your device to create a depth-of-field effect. This helps to keep the subject of your image sharp and blur the background. On the newer version of the iPhone including the 8 Plus and X, you can use Portrait lighting to apply studio-quality lighting to images!

Five of the Best Photo Editing Apps

After you take high-quality pictures using your phone, upload them into an editing app for a little touch-up! Then you can share them on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. With photography, you can’t go wrong with experimenting. From adding custom filters that match your brand to adjusting the contrast and exposure, these photo editing applications help to take your phone photography to the next level! Here are five of our favorite editing apps.

Snapseed: It’s a free, easy-to-use professional photo editing app that was developed by Google. It features filters and photo editing tools such as lens blur, tonal contrast, and white balance. You can also even stack multiple effects on photos.

how to take professional photos with phone

To start, you can either upload your photos to the app from your camera roll or take a picture within the app. Once you have selected your picture, use their pre-designed filters and various tools to edit your picture. With 11 filters and 28 tools, Snapseed helps to perfect your photo. Two unique features on this app are blur strength and portrait. These help to give your photos the same depth effect portrait mode would. This is extremely helpful for those who don’t have portrait mode on their phones or if you didn’t originally take the picture using portrait mode. After editing your picture, click the “Export” tab to save, export, or open your picture in another app. You can directly post your picture to Instagram or Snapchat from the app.

Afterlight 2: It’s deemed “the most powerful, full-featured photo editing experience on mobile” with filters, frames, and editing tools all for a single payment of $3. One cool feature is that you can create your own photo filters – which helps to keep your brand consistent and unique.

For 2.99, you’re paying for access to all that Afterlight has to offer which includes features such as double exposure and dust textures. The Double exposure feature allows you to blend photos together to create unique, one-of-a-kind combinations! The dust textures add vintage effects to your images to give it a rustic feel. Unlike other photo editing apps, Afterlight 2 has an artwork and text feature. This allows you to add words to your pictures with hand-picked fonts and designs!

A Color Story: This free application with in-app purchases available which includes over 100 filters, 40 moveable effects, and 20 tools such as selective editing and curves. Also, you can save custom filters which is great for branding!

how to take professional photos with phone

With their one-tap filters, effects that blend with your photo, and the 20+ tools to fine-tune adjustments, ColorStory helps to define your brand. One of their various tools is the hue effect that helps to adjust specific colors or shades in your picture. As pictured, you can see how the hue effect helped to change the shades of blue on Serah and Lindsey’s jackets. Another unique tool featured in the A Color Story app is the added effects. You have the ability to add light flares, color fogs, and light leaks onto your image. Also, while editing you can add filters, effects, and tools into your favorites by clicking the heart icon when editing. This way you can easily locate the effects you use to edit images and help to maintain with your images and stay on brand!

VSCO: It’s a free application that has in-app purchases available. The app features filters and various photo editing tools to help enhance your pictures. VSCO’s presets each has their own aesthetic and features tools like saturation, exposure, clarity, and shadows.

how to take professional photos with phone

With free 13 tools and 25 filters, VSCO helps to make your media aesthetically pleasing to your followers. Like the other apps, you can either take the picture within the app or upload it from your camera roll. With their yearly membership, you can now edit videos too! Once you select the picture you want to edit, you have access to 13 free tools and 25 free filters to help make your media aesthetically pleasing to your followers.

Unlike other photo editing apps, you have the ability to adjust the strength of the filter! Like most photo editing apps, VSCO features editing tools such as exposure, clarity, saturation, shadows. For example, we adjusted the saturation (the intensity of the color of an image) to show how one slight change can change your entire picture. Also, VSCO is a social network. You can share your edited photos with VSCO’s millions of users.

Adobe Lightroom CC: With this app, you can use all of the capture, organization and sharing features for free along with most of the editing features. For $10 per month, you can subscribe and edit raw files, sync your photos to all your devices, and have access to Photoshop.

how to take professional photos with phone

For this app, you’ll need to create or already have an existing account with Adobe. The Adobe Light CC app features basic to advanced editing tools and a pro camera with Lightroom’s Professional capture mode. Also, you have the ability to back up your images and access them across all devices including your desktop! Unlike other photo editing apps, there is an “Auto” tab which helps to adjust your exposure, contrast, and highlights automatically for you. Another unique feature Adobe Lightroom CC has is geometry. This allows you to distort your image. As pictured, you can distort your image by adjusting it vertically or horizontally as well as changing the aspect by stretching or squeezing the image!

How To Take Professional Photos With Phone?

The bottom line is there are so many tricks and techniques you can use to improve your photos taken by your phone! Make sure your media reflects your business and brand in the right way! Utilizing the hidden features on your camera and editing apps can help.

We want your media to be a reflection of your brand. Want to level up your media and digital marketing? Schedule a free strategy session today!