For a journalist, smartphones are great for photography because they are portable, always at hand and take high quality images.

Here are some tips to get the best out of a Smartphone’s camera.

Know your camera and apps

Spend time playing with your camera and apps and learn what they do and some of the terminology means e.g. HDR. The more you know about how things work, the better choices you can make when taking pictures.

Take charge, don’t wait for things to happen

You can never be a passive photographer – you must try to get the best shot possible. If this means moving people into the best light or position then do it.

If you don’t have that sort of control, e.g. you’re photographing sport or an event, then move yourself to the best position.

Find the best light and use it!

A photograph is a snapshot of light. Without good light, your picture will be rubbish.

Look for light sources (the Sun, indoor lighting) and make sure it’s illuminating your subject properly. You may need to move or rotate so that light is shining on the subject.

Open curtains if you need to.

Avoid using the flash!

Using the flash looks unnatural, and generally make the image look really flat. This is because a strong light coming from the same direction as the camera removes any definition created by shadows on the subject. Always try to get adequate natural light first before considering the flash.

If you can’t avoid using flash, can minimise it’s harshness by covering with an opaque material e.g. a paper over the light to diffuse the light from the flash a bit.


It’s vital to know some composition rules e.g Rule of thirds. It can make all the difference.

Take lots of shots

We’ve all been in photos mid-blink or accidentally gurning. Take lots of pictures to avoid this. If you have a burst shot setting on your camera app, turn it on.


The only way to improve your skills is to practice! If you’re out and about or even if you’re on a night out, take pictures –  but remember to think about composition and light!