2 Steps To Take Better Social Media Photos on your Smartphone

By Rebecca White
Published on October 19, 2018

Sharing beautiful photos of your tourism experience on social media, that you have snapped on your smartphone, is a simple, free and super effective way to attract new customers and visitors online.

However where good photos are a dime a dozen on social media, it is ESSENTIAL that any photos you share on social media stand out and inspire your ideal customers.

Below are some tips to help you improve your smartphone or iphone photography skills so you can capture and edit more inspiring photos!

1. Compose a better photo

A great photo starts with taking a few moments to think about what your eye is looking at before you capture the photo.

Horizontal or Vertical Hold

Before taking the photo, decide where you will be sharing it on Social Media.

This will help decide how you will hold your Smartphone either vertically or horizontally.

This is important, as you want your photo to stand out and look its best on mobile (which is where most people are checking their social media feeds).

As a guide, hold your phone the following:

Tip: Take a photo both horizontally and vertically, so you have both options covered.

From there, use the following composition tricks to take a better photo ( which I picked up through this great online photography training).

Rule of Thirds

Use the Rule of Thirds to guide the layout of your photo, such as putting the horizon on the top or bottom third, or put the focus image at one of the four intersecting points. This will make it look more balanced to the eye, and give it a better chance of standing out online.

On most smartphones, you have the ability to turn the “thirds” grid on in your camera settings, so I recommend you do this to help with setting up your photos.

If you are not sure how to do this, do a google search for “How to turn grid on in camera on  <insert your phone type>”.

Rule of Thirds example


Framing is when you use another object in the picture to frame and highlight the main subject.

Composing your images with a frame can help add more depth and create a focal point in your photo, such as the rails leading to the beach.

Framing example

Interesting Angle

You don’t just have to capture a photo of your subject straight on, you can take a more interesting and engaging image by taking a photo from an interesting angle or different perspective.

Use interesting lines

Close Ups

If you are taking photos of wildlife, wine, food or any other object, a great way to make these photos stand out online is to zoom in or physically move closer to your subject.

Alternatively, if this isn’t possible when taking the photo, when you are editing your photo, crop in around the focal object in the image, keeping the rule of thirds in mind as well.

Close ups examples

Remove Clutter

Take a few seconds to see what is in the background of your photo.

Move yourself around until you have as clean or less distracting background.

Or when you are editing your image, crop out the distracting background, like below.

Cropping before and after

Leave Space for Text

Depending on how you want to use the photo, when taking it, leave space (such as open sky) to allow you to add text to support the image.

Leave room for text on image.

2. Edit your Photo

The second half of sharing a engaging photo is to use some of the great photo editing tools to turn in from blah to awesome!

Most smartphones have great inbuilt photo editing features. However if you want to take it one step further, you can use a photo editing app.

My favourite is Camera Plus Pro. Think of it as Instagram without the social factor. You can quickly and simply edit your photo offline before you then choose where and how you share it on social media.

For Android users check out Snapseed which is very similar.

Ask yourself the following questions to help guide your editing and turn a average photo into an amazing photo:

  • Is the horizon level? If not, fix it!
  • Have you cropped or composed it using the rule of thirds?
  • Have you cropped in or remove any distracting background? Use rule of thirds to help guide you.
  • Could it do with a colour boost or filter? Adding a bit of colour usually helps a photo look more engaging.
  • Does the exposure need evening out? Eg do you need to increase to make the photo brighter or reduce it to reduce glare?
  • Have you left room for text if relevant?

Once you are happy with your editing, which should only take a minute or 2, then go on a share your beautiful photo out with your social media communities!


Over to you

We would love to hear from you what editing programs or apps you love to use to create amazing photos of your product or region? Pop a comment below and let us know!

Rebecca White

Rebecca is a visitor economy specialist and co-director of Tourism eSchool. Rebecca has lived and breathed tourism for over two decades, and is passionate about helping regional tourism organisations adapt and evolve their activities to ensure they are adding value to their local communities whilst also remaining relevant to their visitors ever-evolving values and travel planning patterns.