How to take good holiday photos on your smartphone

You don’t need to have a top-of-the-range digital camera and a degree in photography to take amazing photos.

All you need is a smartphone and a good eye.

But if it was that simple we’d all be award-winning photographers, right? Here are some simple rules to follow to take better photos on your phone next time you go away.

How to take good photos on your smartphone

The rule of thirds:

This is one of the most basic but effective rules to remember when snapping with your smartphone.

Think of your photo as having a grid of nine squares laid over it.

photography rule of thirds

When taking your photo, experiment with lining up your subject with the intersections (shown with the red circles in the grid) or the lines.

OB photography blog rule of thirds example 27jul16

In this example of a little boy on the beach, we can see that the horizon is at the same height as one of our grid lines.

The following photo draws the eye to the balancing stones by positioning them on a vertical line.

How to take good photos on your smartphone

When taking your image, visualise these lines and position points of interest either on the lines or at the intersections.

Don’t be flash

Turning on the flash is guaranteed to take the wow out of your smartphone photos.

It will dull the image, flatten any colours and transform it into one that’s heading straight into the trash.

photography blog lighting

Instead, use the natural light around you, or make the most of any artificial lighting. As you can see above, having backlight will create a silhouette image.

Use the back camera

The front camera on your smartphone is great for taking selfies, but it normally has lower resolution specs than the back camera.

photography use the back camera

To take the best shots, use your phone like a camera and shoot away from yourself.


When framing your photo, place the emphasis on just one single person or item.

photography blog focus on item

Trying to capture everything can make the picture too busy and distracting, while having just one single focus draws the eye and makes a strong impression.

To force your smartphone to focus, simply touch the screen to focus the camera on the subject and click away.


When taking your photos keep your eyes out for unusual reflections, whether in the sea, lakes, puddles, mirrors or glass.

photography blog reflections

A striking reflection can make or break an image.

Different angles

Get creative when taking your photos – instead of simply pointing and shooting straight ahead, how about laying down and taking the shot from on the ground? Or getting above the action and shooting straight down?

photography blog different angles

A different perspective can add a whole new layer of interest to your smartphone photos.

Get up close

Sometimes it’s the finer details that make an impressive impact.

photography blog macro shot of chain

Look out for colourful details and make these the centre of your image.

Capture moments

Facebook and Instagram are full of still life images – photos of legs on the beach, sunsets and scenery, but real memories are made when people are involved.

photography action shot

Take action shots to add some interest – reduce blur by tapping the subject on your screen to force the camera to focus then click away in quick bursts to capture the action.

And if you manage to take an absolute cracker, it could even win you a holiday to Cornwall…. upload your photos here and you could win a week’s holiday in luxury accommodation at Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall.

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