AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

Snap decisions

Take better photos with your phone. The top apps and tips for making better memories.

You would have to be living under a rock to miss the fact that photography has come a long way from the Box Brownie, but when it comes to phone photos it can sometimes seem like the myriad apps and gadgets are overcomplicating things.

Let’s start with some tips. With the phone itself, you start by selecting which mode you want to shoot in. This may sound simple but with phones like the iPhone 11 out now with advanced options like Portrait Mode, you need to decide what end result you want.


Follow the rule of thirds

This is an old trick that photographers have long used, whether shooting with SLR cameras or phones. See that grid on your phone camera? The one that divides the image up into nine boxes? The rule of thirds says that a photo is more interesting if you place the important parts – the person, object or pet – along one of these grid lines. Or where the lines intersect. It stops you from getting a very square, very boring image.


Change your perspective

We are used to just putting a camera up to our eye level and snapping away, but good photographers bend down or climb ladders. Try holding your phone above your head, or crouching right down, to change the perspective you are shooting from. It makes the shot more interesting.


Ditch the flash

This feature almost always results in red eyes and bright reflections. Used by a pro, a flash might work, but for phone photos you're better turning it off. Use natural light or change the exposure slide on the phone camera. There are other great features on the phone itself. Check out Burst Mode, which takes several shots at once – perfect for when you're chasing the grandkids around.


Use third-party apps

There are so many apps for photography, from filters to complicated editing software, that it can be hard to know where to start. But here are three that we rate:


  1. Adobe Photoshop Express: Photoshop is what the pros use, one of the best apps for editing photos, lightening pics or cropping images. But it is not the simplest option for beginners. Still, the phone version has options for adding text, applying effects and blending images together.
  2. Aviary: This app is free for both Android and Apple and simple to use. Things like one-click colour effects, manually adjusted brightness and orienting or cropping tools are easy to find and you can undo any mistakes with a single swipe. A great one for beginners.
  3. Snapseed: Another simple app is Google’s entry into the photo-editing sphere that offers easy-to-find effects and cropping. Another function that makes this app easy is the range of effects filters that can manipulate an image with just one touch.


There is a lot of pressure put on our photos these days via social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, but while we might not all be photographers, we can all do a few things to improve the memories that we love so much.