Phone Photography Mini-Workshop

Lesson 1: Taking Better Photos


Scroll down for the video and lesson notes.

And if you haven't already, make sure you're signed up to receive Lesson Two in my video workshop.


"Beautiful memory-keeping projects begin with beautiful photos."



Lesson Notes


Tip No. 1: Line it Up

  1. Enable the grid on your phone
    1. On an iPhone, do this by going to settings > Photos & Camera > Enable the grid.
    2. On another phone, try opening the settings and looking for your camera. You should be able to enable some kind of a grid that will give you lines to work with as you take photos.
  2. Line up something horizontal or vertical in your shots
    1. Look for horizon lines, doorways, walls.
    2. Even a person or a tree can be used as a vertical "line" (even though they're not strictly a "line").
    3. Lining up one thing in your photo can clean up the look of it and help focus the eye.
  3. Hold your camera at a straight angle
    1. Rather than tilting your phone, hold it at a 90-degree angle so you're taking a shot straight-on.
    2. If you're photographing kids or something lower, crouch down to get at their level.
    3. If you're taking a shot from overhead, hold your phone parallel to the surface you're photographing.

Tip No. 2: Find Uniform Light

  1. Take photos of people in the same light (preferably shade!)
    1. Shadows on people's faces and bodies can take away from a simple, clean, crisp look.
    2. If possible, move so that the full subject is in the same type of light.
    3. I like shade or cloudy days the best! No squinting and no weird shadows.
  2. What to do with full sunlight
    1. Full sunlight makes people squint, which is sometimes necessary, but not ideal.
    2. Put your back to the sun and have your subject facing the sun. 
    3. Don't have the camera facing the sun. Your background might turn out, but people's faces will be in shadow, making editing a challenge.

Tip No. 3: Use the Rule of Thirds

  1. Use the grid to offset your subject
    1. Offsetting the subject is pleasing to the eye!
    2. Place your subject at the cross-sections of your grid.
    3. Try doing this when you're taking photos oriented as landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical).
  2. What to try when your subject is centered
    1. Try offsetting your subject low or high in the frame.
    2. Look for white space.

Stay tuned for Lesson 2, which will arrive in your inbox soon. I'll show you how I edit photos on my phone using really simple tools you have at your fingertips.

As with any art form, photography is subjective. Play around with with these tips and techniques to find your preferred style, and let me know if you have any questions!

XO, Catherine



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