How To Take Photos Like A Pro With Your Phone

One of the most common questions I get asked (and thank you for noticing by the way) is how my photos have evolved from mere flatlays to lifestyle- driven. I’d be quick to admit that it took me several trial and errors, camera purchases (collectively through the years) until I cracked the code with my iPhone X. Convenient, handy, professional-looking at the very least. Yes, majority of the photos you see now, either here on the blog or Instagram were all taken using my phone, and refinements here and there with a program I will share below (more photos taken by moi while at the beach here).

Now if you have a significant other who will patiently take your photos and follow you around like a paparazzi, I say lucky you! My husband has excellent photography skills and eye for detail but taking photos beyond 5 clicks is a chore for him, haha! Either I don’t like my angle or you wait for his artistic mood to set in. Girl got no time for that because reality is, and I know you can relate if you’re a blogger, I take crazy amount of photos (50 conservatively) and only 3-5 make it to the blog. 

Lighting is key. As with conventional cameras, good photos start with the right lighting. I like taking photos outdoors when it’s not too sunny or there’s a good shade yet still bright enough to capture the subject being photographed (photos above were taken, believe it or not, near the post office, on a weekend). Indoors, it helps to invest on ring light or for a more natural touch, face the window, granting it isn’t gloomy outside (photos below were taken with ring light).

Tripod and remote control are your best buddies. I own one long tripod (least used), two short ones, and one with bendable legs. Why too many you ask. The long one I use at home for filming or for photos that require different angle; the small one when I’m out and about because it’s easy to set up and tote around; the bendable if there’s no stable surface such as wrapping around a branch, if that makes sense. As for remote control, either use your phone’s default timer or buy a bluetooth remote that’s compatible with your phone. Read: stay tuned for a blog post on how to take your own photos with Canon G7x (my fave vlogging camera at the moment)

Practice the art of taking your own photos. Know your best angle and learn how to creatively conceal your remote control. If you will buy the same remote control I have, it’s tiny and easy to hide. In all my photos, you will see my right or left hand either hidden behind or that I am holding a bag. My point is, opt for daily routines to make your photos look realistic and not overly rehearsed.

Edit like a pro with your phone. Read: no photoshop involved. My most used apps are Snapseed (free) and VSCO (paid version). I use Snapseed to adjust white balance and VSCO for Instagram uniformed feed. Here are some before and afters.

Left is before, Right is with VSCO filter (not majorly different but you can spot a warm brown feel to it).

Now here’s what it looks from original photo to Snapseed to my default VSCO

Choose a location where there are minimal to zero people or interference. Unless you are going for street vibe or bar scene, I say move away from the crowd so you can set up your tripod and be able to take nice photos. That’s why I really like my mini tripod because it fits my bag and it’s so easy to take it out when opportunity arises.

I hope you found my tips helpful and practical. By the way, along with this blog post is a video (vlog style) where I shared other tips and tricks on blogging and vlogging. I also talked about staying motivated fitness-wise, addressed criticisms, and lastly, just a snippet of moi hula hooping!

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  1. August 23, 2018 / 9:41 am

    Thank you for this post, Kathryne! I need to get some more photo equipment, and I will check out those that you suggested (I just have to get a new screen door and new carpeting for my bedroom first, lol) and hopefully buy them later this year. Also, I will check out Snapseed and VSCO. I use Moldiv and PicMonkey most, but I could use some better apps. Your pix are always great!

    • thefabzilla
      August 23, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      My pleasure. Happy to share my simple tricks. Now you got me excited with your bedroom additions! I also use picmonkey but find these apps helpful when I’m using my phone for taking and editing photos

  2. August 23, 2018 / 9:49 am

    What great tips for taking pro photos!! BTW, I adore your new Stella McCartney bag!

    • thefabzilla
      August 23, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      Thanks twinsy

  3. August 23, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    I’ve got a new iPhone 8 and that’s what I’m using now for pictures but I don’t have the accessories and I don’t have a willing helper. I guess I need the accessories at least!

  4. August 24, 2018 / 9:08 am

    Great tips! My camera’s remote stopped working when I upgraded to the Canon t7i. I can use the phone app for it but it’s a pain in the bum. I need to figure out a solution. I also like the idea of a mini tripod. Do you use that with your phone only or with your dslr when you’re out and about?

    • thefabzilla
      August 24, 2018 / 9:47 am

      Thanks Jen. I use the mini tripod for phone and Canon G7x only although it’s sturdy for dslr. I just don’t use the latter often ever since getting the G7x

  5. August 24, 2018 / 10:28 am

    Great tips! I have a tripod (I mostly use it to film my powerlifting for coaching feedback) but I didn’t even think about getting a wireless remote. How smart!

  6. August 24, 2018 / 5:21 pm

    I take HORRIBLE pictures of myself for the blog and social media. I either look like I’m trying to hard or I just look silly, it’s why I don’t do YouTube thumbnails with myself in them. You on the other hand take some amazing photos!

  7. August 24, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    You provided all the right tips!

    • thefabzilla
      August 24, 2018 / 10:17 pm


  8. 25 Sweetpeas
    August 26, 2018 / 5:00 pm

    love before and afters! I love snapseed too, its amazing! Fabulous post!

  9. Jess Scull
    September 4, 2018 / 10:00 am

    I am totally buying ALL of this! Thank you!

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