Create Amazing Pictures With Your Smartphone!

There's no secret that we love sharing photos. With Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter right at our fingertips, we not only want to create gorgeous "photography like" shots of our kids, our friends, and our family, but we want to do it without buying a fancy camera. 

Though you can't get pro-photography from a cell phone (though they love to claim you can), the semi-pro photographer in me wants to share some awesome tips for taking shots with your phone, and turning them into pieces of awesome artwork.

With this you will need the following:
- A Smartphone:
It doesn't matter whether you've got an iPhone or a DROID, if you've upgraded your phone in the past year or two, you probably have an awesome camera on your phone. 

-A Good Amount of Light:
Dark and dim places tend to make things grainy, and honestly, using the cell phone flash looks pretty darn terrible. Find a spot with a good amount of light and shoot your initial image there. 

- A Steady Hand:
Because you don't have a high end SLR inside your phone, you will have to be sort of steady. The shutter speed isn't all that quick on phones, and this is why you see a lot of celebrity drunk selfies come out all wobbly looking.

Okay, now that you've got that covered and you've shot your images, here's a little segment I like to call "Post Production/Cheating":

Similar to how photographers will edit pictures, here's some awesome applications that I even use on occasion to work on photos from my phone: 

Adobe Lightroom - Available in iTunes App Store and Google Play
Lightroom is one of the premiere programs that photographers will use, along with Photoshop as the "big guns." Lightroom is free with subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud program, which will run you about $9.99 a month for a computer version of a Photoshop/Lightroom bundle. So if you take a lot of photos that you load into the computer with a camera, then that might be a good thing to pick up. 

You can do mostly everything a photographer can do using the Lightroom App, and here's a couple shots, directly from my smartphone to show you some of those tricks:

Picture 2

If $9.99 doesn't fit into your budget, fear not, I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve! 

VSCOcam - Available in iTunes App Store and Google Play
This program has similar effects, and personally I enjoy this a little more than I do the Lightroom App. Excuse the selfie, but here's one of me I did with an iPhone, with the right amount of light (very very important!). You can add filters, similar to Instagram, but to full frame photos, and not a diss to Instagram, but VSCO has some awesome filters that you won't see in their square. You can also change the tone, saturation, vignette the corners, or add fade to a photo to tone it down some.

Picture 3

The best part? It is free. The only purchase you would ever make is if you decide to download more filters, which could range anywhere from $0.99 to $6.99 depending on size of package, but it honestly comes with so many already, you'll probably do just fine with the standard ones. 


Facetune - Available in iTunes App Store and Google Play
Lastly, the perfect selfie. Kim Kardashian loves to take them, and now you can too. You can also edit yours, somewhat similar as her. I did not pick the same application that she did, but I opted for the App called Facetune. Now, here comes a moment where my face was less than perfect, but for the sake of the post, I shall share. 

You can whiten your teeth, you can smooth out your skin, and for those people who want to look like they are a little less fluffy than they are, there's something in here for that too. You will also notice with these shots, front facing cameras make photos grainy. My favorite feature, however, is the patch tool. I will get zits occasionally, and of course, that could leave you a little self conscious. 

photo 3

You can use the patch tool to clear up the skin, you can de-focus corners of the photos, and you can use the smooth tool if you want to look extra silky. Though we always encourage you to be your best self and not to over-do it, this is a great tool to use, all for the teeny cost of $3.99. 

So, when applying this all to your daily life, you can add golden hues to your kids playing on the playground, add some effects and make them look like they were taken and edited by a more sophisticated system, or make yourself look gorgeous and glowing for your Match/Tinder profiles. The world is your your smartphone!

Happy Snapping! 


Amy Cooper is a writer and pop culture fact nerd, and on multiple occasions has been referred to as a “Walking iPod.”