In an earlier article (link to part 1) about improving your photos when using your phone’s camera, we discussed the need to learn the basics of composition, ignoring features like the zoom, and relying on editing software instead of online or onboard “filters”. We also talked about basic maintenance, like keeping the lens clean, and investing in a high quality phone case. When these are all part of your photographic habits, you can then take things a bit farther and start to use your phone camera’s strengths and weaknesses to improve your shots.

1. Avoid low light

– The one major limitation with cell phone cameras is that their sensors are very, very small. This causes them to automatically adjust the setting known as ISO. That is what used to be called film speed in the days of SLR and film cameras. With digital ISO, though, the higher the camera sets the number, the grainier your images. When you shoot in low light, and don’t use a flash, the photos are going to be grainy or “noisy”. You can use the flash but we really suggest you don’t.

2. Natural or available lighting is always better than the flash

– Think about the ways you have seen a flash ruin an image. When you are using a cell phone camera it is far more likely that the flash is going to always reduce the overall quality of the shot. Because the light is right next to the lens it is likely to wash out a subject, give them red eye, and so on. Instead, just look for a nearby source of light and use creative composition to get the most light you can into the scene.

3. There IS an app for it

– Remember that you can find a whole range of different photo and camera apps for Android and iPhone. These are often able to give you the same controls over the results as a standalone camera. You can adjust the settings like the speed, the white balance, brightness, and more. Some even have those same presets that let you make good shots on your regular camera.

When you know how to compose a shot and which camera features to use, your photos improve right away. When you know about dramatic lighting and apps for phone cameras, you’ll have the skill and gear to begin making some of the best shots you can take, at home or abroad.

Now get out there, get your camera a tough case that will withstand the wear and tear of daily use and travels, start making memories, and taking pictures to remember them by.