10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone

It is common to see great-quality photos on social media. What’s more amazing is that these photos are usually taken only by amateur photographers or ordinary people with their respective smartphones.

As smartphone cameras evolve, they have become a more potent tool for photography for ordinary individuals. However, it is important that people still have a basic knowledge in photography to yield amazing results. Therefore, people should avoid these common mistakes when shooting photos using a smartphone. 


10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone

No Defined Subject

One of the most common mistakes of people taking photos using their smartphones is having no clear subject. Yes, smartphone photography supports the point-and-shoot method. However, it is still important to establish the photo’s subject before taking a shot. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone


People often shoot whatever is in front of them, like pretty scenery or a busy street. Even though it may look appealing because of the colors, a photo must have a focal point. Photos need an object which the viewers can focus on. 

It is ideal that the viewers lock their eyes into the photo’s subject at first glance so that they will not be confused about what the photo is all about. It is not recommended to shoot blank spaces or wide scenery without this tip in mind.  

Busy Backgrounds

Connected with the first common mistake, people tend to shoot their subjects amid busy backgrounds. Some may find this scenery to be interesting, but it does not work most of the time from the viewer’s perspective. In these pictures, knowing which object is meant to be highlighted is confusing. 


10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone

With many elements and objects in the photo, viewers might miss the point of the image. There might be a tendency for the background to outshine the subject. Moreover, most smartphones cannot blur out the background, unlike in DSLR cameras.

The phones cannot detect the photo’s main subject automatically as the background is also sharp. It is advisable to take photos using a plain or simple backdrop when shooting using a smartphone. A wall or sky would be great options as they offer negative space.

Bad Framing

It is common to find photos with relatively bad framing for the subjects or the photo itself. They say that it can be attributed to people’s lack of knowledge of basic photo composition. Putting the subject in the center of the photo does not make it a good photo instantly.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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People have to consider the subject's angle, size, and background. Achieving a perfect balance among the objects on the photo is the goal of a photographer. This is why subjects do not always need to be in the center to be highlighted. 

However, smartphones offer an instant solution to this problem by providing a grid. With the help of the grid, people can center, re-enter, and de-center the photo easily. Lastly, it is ideal that people are familiar with the “Rule of Thirds.” This involves considering the photo in three separate sections. 

Poor Lighting

Smartphones are everybody’s main option for photography. People frequently take quick snaps of almost everything they see or experience. These photos are usually taken without much insight, which leads to issues with the overall appearance.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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One of the most common issues is the poor or bad lighting of the images. Since ordinary individuals do not carry lighting equipment wherever they go, they cannot ensure good lighting for their photos, especially at night or in dark places with a poor light source. 

Smartphones require as much light as possible to produce quality images. Thus, it is ideal to do photoshoots outdoors during the day. However, some people can make poor lighting work with a few light fixtures like lamps and flashlights even at night, but it is difficult to achieve. 

Flash Goes Wrong

Using the flash goes wrong most of the time. It is a hit-or-miss feature of smartphone cameras with a rare chance of success. Most of the time, photos that are taken with the phone’s camera flash turn out bad as they may look unnatural with too much brightness or too low brightness. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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When the subjects of a photo are humans, it is common to find them with flashing red eyes when the image is shot with a camera’s flash. It is indeed unflattering that the subject would like a vampire unintentionally. Even though a flash can be a band-aid solution for dimly lit areas, it does not usually work.

Unlike a DSLR flash or detachable light fixtures, a smartphone’s camera flash is only directed in one direction—towards the subject. People can not play around with the light of the flash, like directing or bouncing it. Moreover, smartphones have different flash colors and light intensities.

Zoom Can Be A Problem

It may be fascinating to use the optical zoom feature of smartphones, but it may cause more problems than solutions for the quality of the photos. Yes, it is great to magnify the subject without leaving the position or location, but the photo quality often suffers in return. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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Using zoom can pose a few problems because it may affect the clarity of the subject, and some points of the image may be too grainy or pixelated, which will appear blurry for the viewers. 

In addition, using the zoom feature can potentially crop important elements of the subject. This is due to the fact that zooming through the camera will be done in an aspect ratio. So, it is recommended that people just move closer to the subject.

Edit Overkill

Most smartphones offer automatic editing features. However, editing the photo can either be a hit-or-miss because an edit overkill will definitely ruin the image quality. Pre-saved filters or color palettes are not always reliable because they may not fit the intended vibe or style of the photo. 

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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Even though filters can bring great convenience as people can edit their photos with just a few clicks, most filters do not work well with every image. Sometimes, the image will look paler, lose the vibrance of its natural colors, be overly exposed, or have unnecessary elements highlighted. 

Photographers suggest that people should learn the basics of photo editing as there are many available mobile apps for beginners. In this case, people will not fall into the trap of using overly-used and unfit filters. 

Blurry Photos

Smartphones are hand-held, so people must have steady hands to have clear photos. The shaky hands of photographers can ruin the image by making it blurry, especially if the photos are meant to be static or steady. A good subject might be ruined by shaky hands.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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It is ideal to have a handy tripod so that you can be assured of steadiness. Another issue on smartphones that cause images to become blurry is dirty or scratched lenses. Phones can be placed on different surfaces, which may scratch the lens or make the lens dirty.

Moreover, smartphone cameras might experience a slow shutter speed, which means a slower capturing of the subject. This is a common experience for those taking photos at night or in dimly lit areas. Remember, dim lighting requires the camera to receive more light over an extended period—and more steadiness.

Mismatched Setting or Mode

Smartphone cameras nowadays are powerful with their advanced features. However, people are not always aware of these features, which leads them to not maximize the capacity of their devices or smartphone cameras.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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There are several settings or modes on smartphone cameras and each mode works best in different scenarios or situations. For example, users tend to turn on the High Dynamic Range (HDR) button assuming that it will take the photos in high definition. 

However, the HDR setting is meant to make the photos have a good and balanced exposure as the background or setting is too dark or too bright. In addition, people should know how to use panorama to get the best images out of their sceneries shots.

No Backups

Although it is not a problem with the actual process of taking photos, people tend to have issues with the copies of their photos. They might struggle with the backup copies of their images, in which they may lose their good photos.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shooting with a Smartphone
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People might have problems securing the photos on their local file storage as some smartphones require manually saving these images. Thus, it is ideal to set the phone's settings to automatically save the photos in the local file storage.

It is also ideal that people have backup copies in their respective cloud storage. In addition, people should also develop a habit of organizing their photos into folders to easily retrieve the files for future purposes.


Using smartphone cameras is convenient for taking quality photos anytime and anywhere. People do not have to worry about equipment as they just need to point the camera to the subject and take a snap.

However, people should take into consideration the common mistakes in smartphone photography. An image must have a clear and defined subject with a simple background while having good framing and lighting.

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