How to Take Sensational Photos With Your Smartphone

Smartphone photos main

Taking sensational product photos with your smartphone is possible… check out our tips to start snapping more enticing photos today!

Whether you have a seasoned ecommerce site or your small home business just made the leap over to an online marketplace, you probably already know, or are beginning to realize, just how important quality product images are.

But, there’s a good chance that a high-end DSLR camera to take those great product photos is not a priority at the moment — so what do you do?

While a quality camera should definitely hold a high-ranking spot on your list of (eventual) to-dos, it is possible to take sensational product photos with your smartphone — if you’re willing to put a little time and effort into mastering it.

Here are some quick tips and tricks for kicking your smartphone photos up a notch until those dreams of a DSLR camera come to life.

Great Product Photos Get Higher Sales!

Keep these five key points in mind when you prepare to take new product photos:

1. Use the back camera: Whenever possible, use the back camera on your mobile device. It is a much higher resolution and will produce better quality images. The front camera, while convenient, does not pack the same punch and image quality can suffer significantly.

2. Find the light: I mentioned this in detail before when sharing quick tips for better photos, but it holds even truer with product imagery via handheld devices. Simply put, these cameras are just not the real thing. Which means they need all the help they can get. Seek bright light that fills the space and especially your object. The better light you have available to you, the sharper and more clear the images coming from your phone will be.

3. Proper stance: Today’s point-and-shoot cameras, and most handheld devices as well, have given us the impression that we need to hold the camera/phone far out in front of us before we take the picture so that we can see what’s on the screen. Unfortunately, this often results in blurry images because you simply can’t hold your arms still when they are floating mid-air in front of your body. Whenever possible, try to keep your arms tucked in close to your body, locked at the elbows with your phone held firmly in your hands. When you go to take the picture, be sure to tap the screen where you want the image to be in focus and then carefully take the picture, doing your best to not move.

4. Consistent styling: When it comes to online shops or website home pages, your product offerings should speak as a body of work. They should be edited similarly in both size, color, and fashion so that when they are lined up together in your shops or blog features, they coordinate and look like the work of a business owner that delivers a consistent and well-executed service. When you find great light, set your “stage,” and seek to shoot a good majority of your images at the same time if at all possible. Keep the background free from clutter and restage new products in the same setting so that your overall image layout is similar from frame to frame. Your product should be the most prominent part of your image and must always be in focus, clearly identifiable, and free from distractions.

5. Know your limits: While the technology of modern mobile devices can support large file images and larger prints, most of us just aren’t adept enough at capturing sharp enough images on our phones that can carry over to larger prints. Do your best to not stretch images or blow them up (unless you’re a rock star and it looks fabulous!), and use them as smaller thumbnails wherever possible. If you resize it and it is blurry or grainy, don’t use it! Better to go back to the drawing board than to use an image with poor quality.

BONUS! Smartphone Editing Tools

Hopefully, if you’re a blogger, small business owner, online seller or any other online personality, you already have an Instagram profile. If not, it’s time to sign up! Instagram is an awesome visual platform that allows some wiggle room for image quality.

Take that with a grain of salt of course, especially as the technologically savvy are using this platform more and more to showcase high-quality image files that were produced elsewhere.

When you are uploading images online straight from your phone, whether in Instagram or to your Facebook Fan Page — or even your online shop, here are a few quick app recommendations from my small business partner at The Studio Hampton Roads, Somer Anne.

  • PicTapGo: Fantastic for basic image editing, color, and lighting adjustments.
  • Instasize: Post entire photos on Instagram without cropping.

Well, there you have it! 5 ways you can take your smartphone photos from so-so to sensational! Remember, it’s essential you take the time to represent each product you carry in a flattering and eye-catching manner to help entice your customers to purchase.

And now that you know it’s possible to improve your photos using an iPhone or Android device, there’s no excuse to put off this task any longer! Good luck!

Have any questions about smartphone photos? Share below!

About the Author

Katy Blevins

Katy is the writing mama behind Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy’s Survival Guide. In between juggling twin toddler boys, a rowdy preteen stepdaughter, a handful of fish, a newly acquired snail, and a self-entitled bull dog with her husband of almost 10 years, she works full time and runs a wedding/boudoir photography business.


  1. Lisa Campanella says

    Am looking for innovative ways to photograph my wreaths for my shop Little Bell Occasions, LLC on SMP. As they tend to be large, “staging a setting” is difficult and just hanging them on my front door is becoming boring. Help? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Shannon Willoby says

      Hi Lisa! I’m not sure you really need innovative ways to photograph your wreaths honestly. After all, you don’t want to distract from the product with a busy background and you want your wreath to be the focal point — as it would be photographed on a door. Think of it this way: You might get bored repeatedly photographing your wreaths on a door, but I bet your customers don’t get bored seeing them that way on your shop. Potential buyers are looking for high-quality images that showcase your products, not necessarily new and innovative ways to see those products photographed. Hope that helps! 😀

    • says

      Hi Lisa,
      Try covering your door with various types of paper or fabric for variety. For this you can use gift wrap, paper sold in rolls for decorating banquet tables, fabric or anything that suits your fancy. That way, you are displaying your wreaths as they should be (hanging) and providing background variety at the same time.:-)

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