Say, "Cheese!"

I wanted to improve my amateur photography skills. No, I don't own the newest Nikon, but I do take lots of pics using my phone. As I searched for tips and tricks, I came across one blog post, The Ultimate Guide to Smartphone Photography (96 Best Tips!). While this list is pretty stinkin' comprehensive (and even offers a downloadable pdf of the post), I was just overwhelmed with all the tips. I needed something simple ... just a few ideas I could implement today.

So, here's what I learned—well, a synopsis of what I learned. If you want to dig deeper, feel free to implement the 96 tips mentioned above. If you're like me, here are a few tips to get you started.

Explore Camera Settings

Every phone is just a little bit different, but all phones have certain camera settings to help set you up for the best shot. You have settings for photo size (regular, square, pano), filters, and flash. Live photos capture a second of motion within the shot. Your camera also has a setting to reverse the direction of the camera ... perfect for selfies. Take time to play with the settings and practice taking pictures using different settings. 

Hold Still

Camera movement makes for blurry photos. Keeping the camera still enables it to capture the clearest image possible. If you're standing, spread your legs shoulder-width apart to keep your body more stable as you capture the shot. If you're sitting, you can rest your arm on a stable surface to steady your hands. You can even spring for a cell phone tripod to take with you on hikes and adventures.

Adjust Lighting (Or Adjust Your Position)

When the lighting in the photo is behind the subject, a shadow will cover the subject. Adjust your lighting by turning on lights indoors. If outdoors, you may need to reposition the shot for the lighting to be in front of the subject. You may also be able to tap the subject on your camera screen to prompt your phone to help adjust the lighting.

Rule of Thirds

Split your desired shot into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. You'll end up with a virtual grid of nine spots, like a tic-tac-toe board. For the most part, you'll end up with a great, engaging photo if you place your subject at an intersection of lines (one vertical and one horizontal). Centering the subject in a photo is not recommended.

Use Burst Mode for Action

Whether capturing wildlife in action or your kids at play, use burst mode on your phone to take a series of photographs. These photos are taken quickly in succession enabling you to get just the right shot when the subject is in motion.

What photography tip can you share? Tell us in the comments below.