5 Smartphone Photography Hacks for Stunning Shots
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Use grid lines for balanced composition
  2. Exploit the rule of thirds
  3. Find unique angles
  4. Use leading lines
  5. Play with reflections

Smartphone photography has revolutionized the way we capture the world around us. No longer do we need hefty cameras or complex equipment to take stunning shots. With your smartphone in your pocket, you have a powerful tool that can create amazing images. But, to get the most out of your device, you need to know a few smartphone photography composition hacks. In this blog, we'll explore five such hacks that will help you take your smartphone photography to the next level.

Use Grid Lines for Balanced Composition

The first hack in our list of smartphone photography composition hacks is to use grid lines for balanced composition. This simple yet effective technique can transform your photos from ordinary to extraordinary. Let's break down how you can use grid lines to enhance your smartphone photography.

Understanding Grid Lines

Grid lines are a fundamental tool in photography composition. They divide your frame into nine equal sections—creating a 3x3 grid. This grid aids in positioning your subject and helps maintain balance in your photos. If your smartphone camera doesn't have a grid option, don't worry. There are many free apps available that provide this feature, such as Camera+ and VSCO.

How to Use Grid Lines

  1. Turn on the grid lines feature: Go to your camera settings and find the ‘Grid Lines’ option. Once you activate it, your camera screen will show the 3x3 grid.
  2. Align your subject with the grid lines: When capturing a shot, try to align your subject along the grid lines or at the intersections of these lines. This technique is known as the rule of thirds, which we'll dive into in the next section.
  3. Balance your elements: Use the grid lines to balance different elements of your photo. For example, if you're capturing a horizon, align it with one of the horizontal grid lines rather than placing it in the middle.

By using grid lines, you can create balanced, well-composed photos that are pleasing to the eye. So, the next time you're out and about with your smartphone, remember to use this handy composition hack for stunning shots.

Exploit the Rule of Thirds

Next up in our smartphone photography composition hacks is the rule of thirds. This hack goes hand-in-hand with using grid lines and can significantly enhance the visual appeal of your photos. But what exactly is the rule of thirds, and how can you exploit it in your smartphone photography? Let's find out.

What is the Rule of Thirds?

The rule of thirds is a basic principle in photography that suggests placing the main subject off-center can make your photos more dynamic and visually interesting. Imagine your photo frame divided into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, forming a 3x3 grid. The rule of thirds encourages placing your subject at one of the four intersections of these lines, or along them, rather than in the center.

Applying the Rule of Thirds

  1. Activate the grid lines: As we discussed in the previous section, activating the grid lines in your smartphone camera can help you visualize the rule of thirds.
  2. Position your subject: Place your subject at one of the intersections of the grid lines. This off-center placement can create a sense of balance and tension in your photo, making it more engaging to the viewer.
  3. Experiment with placement: Don't be afraid to experiment with the rule of thirds. You can place your subject along any of the grid lines or intersections, depending on what feels right for the photo.

By exploiting the rule of thirds, you can create compelling, dynamic compositions that draw the viewer's eye. It's a simple yet powerful smartphone photography composition hack that can dramatically improve your photos.

Find Unique Angles

One of the secrets to excellent smartphone photography composition hacks is the art of finding unique angles. An unusual angle can transform an ordinary photo into something truly extraordinary. But how exactly do you find these unique perspectives? Let's dive in.

Break the Eye-level Habit

Most of us—when we take a picture—do it from eye level. It's a natural instinct, but it can make your shots predictable. So, the first step to finding unique angles is to break the eye-level habit. Get low to the ground, climb high, or even tilt your phone in unexpected ways. By simply changing your perspective, you can create interesting and unique compositions.

Look for Unexpected Frames

  • Use natural frames: Trees, doorways, bridges—nature and architecture are filled with framing opportunities. Using these elements in your shot can provide a unique angle and draw attention to your subject.
  • Play with shadows and reflections: Shadows and reflections can add depth and intrigue to your images. Use them to add an unexpected twist to your composition.

Experiment with Portrait and Landscape Modes

Don't forget that your smartphone can take photos in both portrait and landscape modes. Each provides a different perspective and can lend itself to different types of compositions. Experimenting with both can help you find unique angles for your shots.

Finding unique angles can be a game-changer in your smartphone photography. It's all about breaking habits, exploring your surroundings, and not being afraid to experiment. Keep these tips in mind, and your photos will stand out from the crowd in no time.

Use Leading Lines

Another powerful tool in your arsenal of smartphone photography composition hacks is the use of leading lines. These are lines within an image that directs the viewer’s eye to the main subject. So, how do you incorporate leading lines into your photography? Let's explore.

Identify Natural Lines

First, you'll need to start seeing the natural lines that exist all around us. It might be the way a road stretches into the distance, the curve of a river, the lines of a building, or even a trail in a park. These natural lines can guide the viewer's eye towards your subject, creating a strong, compelling composition.

Position Your Subject

Next, consider where you're placing your subject in relation to these lines. Ideally, you want your leading lines to point towards your subject. This can be more effective if your subject is placed according to the rule of thirds, which we'll talk about later. The intersection of the leading lines and the subject can create a powerful point of interest in your image.

Experiment with Different Types of Lines

  • Straight lines: These can create a sense of order and predictability. They're great for emphasizing direction and can often give a sense of being pulled into the image.
  • Curved lines: These can add a sense of fluidity and movement to your image. They're often seen as more dynamic and can create a more relaxed feeling.

Remember, leading lines are a powerful tool, but like any tool, they work best when used wisely. Not every photo needs them, but when used correctly, they can add depth and intrigue to your compositions. Keep practicing, and soon using leading lines will become second nature.

Play with Reflections

Another exciting smartphone photography composition hack involves playing with reflections. Reflections can create a sense of wonder and make your photos stand out in a crowd. They can transform an ordinary scene into something magical. Let's dive into some practical ways you can use reflections in your photography.

Look for Natural Reflective Surfaces

Reflections can be found everywhere if you know where to look. Puddles after a rainfall, glass windows on a city street, or a calm lake at sunset are all perfect examples. When you spot a potential reflective surface, take a moment to study how it interacts with the light and surrounding elements. This will help you spot the perfect shot.

Experiment with Different Angles

Don't be afraid to get down low or change your perspective when shooting reflections. Sometimes you might need to crouch down or even lie on the ground to get the angle you want. Don't forget to use your smartphone's grid lines to keep your composition balanced when experimenting with different angles.

Use Reflections to Enhance Your Subject

Reflections aren't just a pretty add-on; they can also enhance your main subject. For instance, a reflection can create symmetry, adding balance and harmony to your image. Or, it can help to frame your subject, drawing the viewer's attention where you want it.

Keep in mind, though, that less is more when it comes to reflections. You want them to complement your image, not overpower it. So, go ahead and start playing with reflections and see how they can turn your photos from good to great!

If you're inspired by the smartphone photography hacks in this blog post and want to learn more, check out 'Smartphone Photography 101' by Alina Rudya. This workshop is an excellent resource to help you further enhance your skills and take stunning shots using just your smartphone.