How to Take Professional Looking Photos on your PHONE

Part 1

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Lately, I have received a lot of questions on what camera I use for the photos on my Instagram and blog.  At first, I was a little embarrassed to admit that I actually don’t use a professional camera at all, but rather the camera on my phone!  However, as I got more questions about this subject and read the replies (most everyone was surprised that my phone pictures turned out so great), I realized that I must be doing something right.  So today, I am going to share my tips and recommendations on how to make the best use of your own phone camera and I will also include some of my own pictures as examples!  This will be a two-part post, so be on the lookout for the next installment.

K N O W    W H A T     Y O U    W A N T

Before you start your shoot, it is always a good idea to have a clear idea of your end goal and the pictures you want to end up with, especially if you are not shooting on a regular camera.  Practice poses and think about what you are shooting for.  Do you want entire outfit pictures, detail shots, or both?  Are you aiming to look tough, elegant, or carefree?  These are just examples of questions you should have answers to before taking pictures.

L I G H T I N G    I S    K E Y

Yes, I know, you have probably already heard this sentiment countless times before, but maybe you will learn something new from me, so keep reading! 🙂  It is best to be in full sunlight or full shade while taking pictures, so you don’t have shadows across your shot. Staring straight into the sun creates a beautiful photo and is best for face shots, just remember to close your eyes right before the picture is taken!  For indoors, natural lighting is super and was a key factor in the picture of me with my book down below.  I have found that the best times of day to take pictures for optimal lighting is about 2-3 hours after sunrise and 2-3 hours before sunset, as long as it is a sunny day.

Here is a picture that I took staring into full sunlight:

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Solo Style: Camel Coat Staple

TIP: Point your face towards the sun with your eyes closed for 5 seconds, then open them and your eyes should now be better acquainted with the harsh, harsh sun.

Natural lighting:

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R U L E    O F    T H I R D S 

This is another trick you might have heard of and one I should practice more often!  The rule is, when taking outfit photos, to stand on the outer thirds of the frame, so the picture doesn’t come out too posed if you are in the middle.  This easily makes a well-balanced and engaging shot, as it alludes to where you are and lets the viewer see more of the background.  In general, the rule of thirds is a simple way to create more visual interest without forcing anything on the viewer.

B U R S T    F O R     A C T I O N    S H O T S

Shooting movement on a phone camera is near impossible, unless you use the burst feature.  To do this, hold down the camera button while capturing the entire movement. This works great for twirls, jumps, and walking shots. Although, make sure you move gracefully and have a good face while taking a burst, because many times I will look back on the pictures and realize my arms were awkwardly positioned during the jump or my face was weird during the twirl! 😛

One of my spinning shots while using the burst feature:

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Festival Lookbook 2017

T A K E    A    L O T    T O    G E T    A    L I T T L E

My last tip for part 1 of How to Take Professional-Looking Photos on Your Phone, is to take lots of pictures because normally the majority aren’t going have a wow factor, especially if they are taken on a phone.  Keep moving around and shifting your pose, so that each shot is unique.  You can even get your photographer to change how and where they are shooting the picture (more on that in Part 2 ;)).  The more photos you take, the more likely you are to to find The One.  

For instance, while shooting for my Majestic Purple Jacket post,  I took over 40 pictures on these stairs.  I tried standing, sitting, climbing up them, and posing in different spots before ending up with the perfect one:

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This is all for Part 1, but be on the lookout for Part 2 in the very near future!  Hopefully you have learned something new and these tips can help my fellow phone photographers out there.  And of course you don’t have to follow all of these exactly, if you want funky, artsy shadows or blurry shots, go for it because sometimes I like those better too!

💜Love, Olivia

INSTAGRAM: @absolutelyolivia

41 thoughts on “How to Take Professional Looking Photos on your PHONE

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