Acquired an Previous Telephone? You Can Nonetheless Take Lovely Photographs With These Professional Ideas


At the moment’s finest smartphones, just like the iPhone 14 Professional or Google Pixel 7 Professional, have superb cameras, with a number of lenses and superior AI software program that may seize any scene with breathtaking outcomes. However these high telephones include large costs that make them out of attain for many people. However fear not, as even if you happen to’ve bought an older telephone, or a extra budget-focused mannequin with out all of the bells and whistles, there’s so much you are able to do to nonetheless take stunning photos. In spite of everything, as any photographer will let you know, it isn’t simply the perfect digicam that takes the perfect photographs. 

Even 2017’s iPhone X has a digicam setup that significantly impressed us when it first launched, and although it won’t have a complicated triple digicam array or cutting-edge computational images abilities, it is nonetheless very a lot able to taking some nice snaps. However the {hardware} will go solely thus far in taking your photos — you will must put in some effort your self to raise your pictures from easy “ho hum” snaps to “oh, wow!” items of artwork.

Right here, then, are my high suggestions for the right way to get the perfect photos from an older iPhone, Samsung Galaxy telephone or any older Android telephone. 

On this shot, taken on the iPhone X, the street snaking its means into the body helps so as to add a number one line that guides the attention up towards the cloudy mountains.

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Nail your composition 

You’ll be able to take a photograph utilizing probably the most superior digicam system on the planet, however if you happen to’ve tousled your framing, you will nonetheless get a nasty photograph. In spite of everything, if you happen to’re taking a photograph of a beautiful church and also you handle to cut off the spire, no quantity of modifying will deliver it again. 

Do not simply snap away wildly at your photograph location. As an alternative, decelerate, stroll round and contemplate the scene in entrance of you and the way you need it to look in your shot. Taking a panorama shot? Search for main strains comparable to pathways or previous stone partitions that snake their means into the scene. Or maybe there’s some attention-grabbing rocks or flowers that might add some curiosity within the foreground. 


Taken on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. I used the curving rock face as foreground curiosity, taking pictures by the hole that factors towards the reservoir within the distance.

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You can too activate a “rule of thirds” grid overlay within the settings to assist line up the totally different parts in your scene in a visually pleasing means — or just to assist maintain your horizons straight. 

If you happen to’ve bought a number of rear cameras that provide a zoomed-in or wide-angle view, experiment with these totally different choices. Possibly zooming in may help eradicate distracting parts, or maybe that wider view can seize extra of the gorgeous scene in entrance of you. 


With no wide-angle lens on the iPhone 11 Professional, I used the panorama mode to seize a a lot wider scene right here.

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If you do not have a wide-angle view, strive utilizing the panorama mode to get a wider shot than the usual digicam can obtain — or use clip-on lenses, as I talk about under.

Inform a narrative

Essentially the most impactful, iconic photos by the years aren’t merely those taken with the perfect digicam, however the ones that inform a selected story or seize a second in time. And positive, perhaps you are not attempting to win a photojournalism prize in your summer time trip, however pondering like a photojournalist may help you are taking photos that you’re going to need to look again on in years to come back. 

Maybe you are heading to the gorgeous Italian coast this 12 months. After all, you will get a pleasant snap of the ocean out of your lodge terrace, however remember what else has made your journey so memorable; the plates of scrumptious meals, the previous, dusty streets, the musician enjoying within the sq. or the colourful colours of the fruits and flower stands on the native market. All these parts will make for nice photographs that seize the center of the situation and inform an excellent visible story once you look again by them. 


This stunning, shaggy Highland cow wasn’t the rationale I visited Scotland, however this was an excellent alternative to seize a picture of an iconic animal. And the shot actually provides to the story advised by the photographs I took on that journey. Taken on the iPhone 11 Professional.

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And it does not must be one thing you do solely on an enormous household trip. A weekend stroll downtown to the street-food market will supply up nice storytelling alternatives, from the graffiti artwork you see alongside the way in which to the plates of vibrant delicacies you select on arrival. And none of this stuff require the most recent digicam {hardware} to seize superbly.

Use the sunshine to your benefit

Although in the present day’s high telephones can take nice nighttime photos, older fashions doubtless will not have evening modes. Consequently, darkness will not be your buddy once you’re attempting to get nice photos. If you happen to’re heading to a viewpoint overlooking town, attempt to get there in the course of the day, maybe when there is a beautiful blue sky sprinkled with fluffy clouds.


Although the center of the day is not all the time a good time for panorama photographs, you may seize moments of peace like this. Taken on the iPhone X.

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Center-of-the-day images is usually averted by panorama photographers due to its harsh high quality, however if you happen to’re exploring metropolis streets, it might supply some nice alternatives to search for distinction attributable to shadows, which might make for dramatic photos.

No multi-camera iPhone? Use clip-on lenses

Older iPhones may lack the a number of lenses discovered on the latest fashions, however you do not simply must make do. Corporations like Second and Olloclip make lenses that connect to your telephone, offering wide-angle, telephoto and even macro views. 


Utilizing its customary lens (left) the iPhone X can solely match a lot in body. However with the Second vast angle adapter (proper) we get a a lot wider view.

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Certain, it’s important to carry an additional little merchandise in your bag or pocket as you discover, however including a clip-on lens is a good way to get a superwide view for these sweeping cityscapes with out having to splash the money in upgrading your telephone.

Shoot in DNG uncooked, even on previous telephones

Apple’s ProRaw picture format, launched on the iPhone 12 Professional Max, makes use of computational imaging methods like HDR however nonetheless offers you with a DNG uncooked file that is a lot simpler to edit in apps like Adobe Lightroom. It is not a operate discovered on older iPhones, however these of you on older telephones can nonetheless shoot in common uncooked if you happen to’re eager to do your individual edits.

You’ll be able to’t shoot in DNG uncooked in the usual digicam mode, so you will want to make use of a third-party digicam app that gives uncooked taking pictures. I often use Lightroom itself, as its digicam shoots in uncooked and mechanically imports the photographs into your library. However I’ve additionally had good outcomes with the Second app.


By taking pictures in DNG uncooked, I had much more flexibility in Adobe Lightroom to make this portrait of my candy bundle of gorgeous marvel look much more heartacheingly beautiful. 

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Capturing in uncooked permits you extra flexibility to regulate white stability and coloration tones whereas usually making it simpler to tone down vivid highlights or loosen up shadowy areas. These of you seeking to squeeze each ounce of high quality out of your telephone digicam ought to think about using uncooked — so long as you are keen to spend the time modifying.

Consider, although, that uncooked information are bigger than their JPEG counterparts, so you will shortly refill your telephone’s storage if you happen to shoot all the things you see in uncooked. 

Get artistic with modifying apps

Taking your photograph is barely a part of the method, and a eager eye within the modifying stage could make all of the distinction in creating stunning photographic artwork. If you wish to preserve a extra pure wanting {photograph}, look towards apps like Lightroom or Google’s Snapseed. These uncooked picture editors offer you management over colours, publicity and distinction and allow you to fine-tune your photos to fit your style.


Edited in Prisma, the summary artwork type means it does not matter if the unique picture is not superb high quality.

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Or you may take your creativity to an entire different stage with apps like Prisma, which transforms your pictures into usually psychedelic-looking scenes, or Bazaart, which helps you to simply create wild photograph collages that may look actually cool. You’ll be able to take a look at my roundup of my favourite picture modifying apps for extra inspiration.

The good factor with modifying is that there is no proper or mistaken option to do issues, and you may all the time return to your authentic picture if you happen to do not just like the modifications you made. However utilizing a few of these methods can flip an in any other case forgettable shot into one thing that actually stands out. My recommendation is to make a cup of tea, settle into a comfortable chair and mess around with the sliders in your app of alternative and see what you may give you.

Learn extra: Greatest Free and Paid Picture Modifying Apps for iPhone and Android

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