How to easily capture WOW photos using your Smartphone

In our mobile world, we have an incredibly short attention span as we scroll through our feeds on social media etc. Photos are interpreted 60,000 times faster than text. It takes only 13 milliseconds for your brain to interpret a photo!

The convenience of mobile phone cameras and the popularity of visual marketing have resulted in an unprecedented surge in the use of imagery in our daily lives. This is a great thing! More people are discovering photography and how they can use it in a positive way (both on a professional and personal level). The best thing now-a-days is the realisation that you do not need an expensive camera to get on board.

To make certain your photos stand out and give your audience the ‘WOW’ factor, there are three elements to consider:

  1. Grab your viewer’s immediate attention;
  2. Create a strong subject or story;
  3. Demonstrate strong composition techniques.

Grab your viewer’s attention

Technical elements of a photo can instantly grab our attention:

  • Bright and vivid colour
  • Contrast — black and white
  • Very sharp incredible detail
  • Extreme close-up
  • A dominant colour
  • Different angle or perspective
  • Upside down photo

Strong subject or story

Photography is an art form, capturing light and colour in an attempt to tell a story.

To effectively tell a story — you need to be conscious of what you are trying to communicate. Is it a message, a mood, an emotion, an idea or a combination of any of these? What I love about photography is that the viewers can interpret your image differently based on their own experiences and memories.

You do not want to leave your viewer confused about what you are trying to tell them:

  • Your main subject needs to be larger than everything else;
  • Reposition the main subject (or yourself) to avoid distracting backgrounds;

Try to make an emotional connection — awe, amusement, inspiration, shock, controversy;

Strong composition

Composition is how the main subject and other elements in the image interact with each other. Effective composition can guide the viewer through your photo and ensure they focus on the correct element/s. Knowing how we interpret a typical scene will help us to create an image that is easily understood and increase viewer engagement.

Basic composition principles or guidelines explained below:

Rule of thirds

You may have noticed that you have an option on some Smartphones to turn on gridlines. These form two horizontal and vertical lines on the screen to create nine imaginary squares on the screen. The idea is to guide your placement of the main subject matter in your photograph. The rule of thirds tells us that the ideal location is directly on one of the four points where the lines intersect. This allows the viewer’s eye to locate the main subject matter, but also have sufficient space to move their attention around to see what else is occurring in the scene.


A symmetrical photo is one that can be split in half either horizontally or vertically and mirrored. This technique produces an aesthetically pleasing image that is intrinsically free of distraction offering balance, harmony and proportion.

Leading lines

Lines occur everywhere. Strategically capturing them in your image will lead your viewer’s attention to the main subject, followed by the supporting subjects and elements. Leading lines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal or curved.

When you pick up your Smartphone, think about what is motivating you to take the photo. This will help you concentrate on structuring your photo in order to best communicating that story or moment.

Originally published at Smartphone Photography Training.

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About The Author: Mike James is the founder of Smartphone Photography Training. You can get in contact on Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram.

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Learn to create visual impact in your Smartphone photos; by applying photography and phone specific techniques & the best photo editing apps available.

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