Loyola University Maryland

Office of Marketing and Communications

Tips for Mobile Photography

Phone Photography 101

Two hands on the phone. For added stability, always hold the camera with two hands – vertical or horizontal!
Zoom with your feet! Digital zoom adds a lot of grain and noise to your photo. Zoom with your feet! Get close with the camera and tap on the object you’d like to focus on.
Tap for focus. Getting close to objects lets you play more with depth of field. Remember to tap on the area/object that you want the camera to focus on!
Show, don't tell. Don’t tell the viewer what’s happening, show them. If it’s a flag football tournament, don’t take a posed shot of people with their flags on, get photos of the emotions and the actions. Let your photo do the talking, not the caption. 


The Rule of Thirds. Aligning a subject with the guidelines and their intersection points, creating a more visually pleasing image. 
Leading lines. Draw the viewer’s attention to lines - real or not - that lead to the main subject of the image. 
Get low (or high). Photos taken at chest-height are boring. A key to good composition is experimentation. Try going low, high, or even tilting the camera to find the best shot.
Make use of all grounds. Having something in the foreground, the middle ground, and the background emphasizes depth in your photograph. Natural frames are a great tool for this.
White space is your friend. Use of “white” or “negative” space puts more emphasis on the subject. Filling the frame with too many things can overcrowd and draw focus away from the subject. 


45 degrees. Particularly with people but in many cases, keep the main source of light (or “key light”) at a 45° angle from the camera. Light directly hitting a subject from the front or back can cause unwanted highlights or shadows. 
Softer light = better selfies. When shooting faces, always look for “soft light.” Soft light is such that it wraps around the subject without hard shadows. The further you are from a light source, the softer it can become. Cloudy days are nature’s soft light. 
Silhouette. Placing the main light source behind your subject can create a great silhouette effect. So shoot toward the light source and you can create a very dramatic visual. Outdoor silhouettes work best when the sun is low in the sky.
Exposure. When you tap on an area of the capture screen (such as the subject of your photo) a yellow box appears. Pushing up or down with your finger will increase or decrease the exposure of your photo, respectively. Don’t go too far either way! 

What to look for

Hero Shots. A WOW shot. Well-composed. Moving! The viewer of this kind of photo should want to know and learn more about the subjects or context. The elements of the photo should capture one or more facets of the Loyola experience.
Clubs & Activities. What does the Jiu-Jitsu club look like when they’re practicing? What’s happening at those tables outside Boulder? These are the moments talk about often, but have a harder time showing authentically with photography. 
Hands-on learning. The academic moments we always need are those that involve hands on learning. Students on excursions in a museum, pouring over maps for history class, or conducting research with bottles and beakers. 
Inside the residence halls. Hanging out with friends, using the common spaces, watching movies, cooking dinner, working on group projects, decorating at the beginning of the year or for Christmas…you get the idea. 
Events. Students host so many activities throughout the year. Concerts, cultural celebrations, silent discos, paint nights - we want it all! Capture the details of the events. Authentic photography gives a sense of time, place, and emotion. 

Break the Rules!