FREE Roadmap to Create Your Next Favourite Photo
The 15-step process is involves four phases:
> Photographic intention
> Storytelling, narrative and composition
> Photo capture techniques
> Mobile photo editing to enhance the narrative
You are a photo enthusiast who loves to capture photos and create your favourite images. Taking the step to learn photography brings you so much joy, love for life and transferrable skills to other arts and hobbies, even travel.
Photography is therapy and a distraction for many of us in this busy, crazy world we live. Committing to a little time each day, you will further love the creative process of photography.
'You can learn photography without ever intending to do it professionally.'
The quality of the photos you can capture and images you can create on your existing smartphone is insane. When you learn photography and how to edit your photos, they will begin to have more meaning to you.
The more you learn photography and come to understand the 'why' behind it all, the more you'll enjoy it. Let's get into this massive list.
Make sure to post a comment at the bottom letting us know why you love photography.
Few hobbies are as inclusive and allow us to connect with loved ones and strangers around the world.
You can do it anytime, anywhere
Some hobbies are seasonal, location dependant, special equipment or involvement of other people. Smartphone photography is so convenient to capture a photo at any opportunity. You can then enjoy the amazing image editing apps on your phone to capture, edit and share your images.
Capture a memory
With a photo, you can capture a moment, and turn it into a memory. Holiday snaps and photos of our loved ones become more valuable over time to relive and cherish. The audience of your images can also be yourself to relive memories after your memory has long faded.
Document the life of your loved ones
The smartphone has made it so easy for us to reach for a camera, often already with us. The challenge for many of us is to remember to take the photo. Photos do not always have to be a posed, perfect happy family. Recording all moments are precious. Recently, my children were in hysterics watching videos of their younger selves.
Photography preserves memories of lost loved ones
Presenting at camera clubs, I always share my story of my mother passing away. I have worked in photography for over twenty years and had access to the best camera gear available. Regardless, I can count on one hand how many photos I have of my mother with my children. I also have no video at all recording her voice.
I then encouraging attendees to offer their phone to the person seated next to them to take their photo. Those of us over 40 are not so keen on selfies. We need to get over this because our children will appreciate it more than us feeling a little awkward.
Related article: This is My why for starting Smartphone Photography Training
Most of life's 'big moments' are not repeated. You cannot go back and re-take those images that are blurry or obscured people in group photos. Although, there is an app for that!
Learning photography will help you to capture important photos the first time. Todays' moments are tomorrow memories.
Create more impactful images
If your goal for learning photography is to create stronger images. The three main elements are lighting, composition and storytelling. Notice these three main ingredients did not mention equipment. A lens attachment can extend the capability of the smartphone camera. Doing so can produce unexpected results, thus being a more impactful image.
Create more engaging images
An impactful image can be engaging. I have this as a separate reason for learning photography. Improving visuals for a business can better communicate and connect with their audience. A relevant, attention-grabbing image holding the viewers' attention is often the goal.
Related article: Three steps to capture a WOW photo
Learning photography helps you to break down elements of a scene to it's simplest form. You then recreate components in a calm way that emphasises the beauty.
Improve your existing photos
Learning to edit your photos allows you to go back and enhance all those previous amazing photos you have captured. Remember not to save over the originals! As you continue to learn photography, your editing skills will improve. It is always better to return to an original image to re-edit as you develop your own editing style and preferences.
Receive feedback on your images
If you learn photography through a course, be sure to enrol in one that provides feedback on your images. This can be project work or just having the option to contact the course facilitator directly.
There are many photographers who produce quick course as a source income to their business as a 'passive income.' I can tell you my course is anything but passive. I am constantly responding to questions, requests and I love it. That is the best part of transferring my business to online. I get to provide feedback on images and see the progress of the participants.
Related article: My process as a camera club monthly photo competition judge
Do photoshop edits without the complexity and steep learning curve
One of the reasons to learn photography on your smartphone is to avoid the steep learning curve of desktop photo editing programs. Many are available as a subscription-only requiring payment every month. If you are not deriving an income from your photography it can become difficult to justify that ongoing cost.
There are many free photo editing apps that are very powerful, without having you feel completely overwhelmed by the many options you will never use.
Related article: Six-step photo editing process using Snapseed
Have fun on your own
Once you learn the basics of photography, you will see opportunities everywhere. You will notice how light reflects and absorbs on surfaces, shapes, lines and textures. When you capture these images, you will gain satisfaction and enjoyment. Photography will change your everyday experience.
Have fun with family and friends
Was one of your parents passionate about photos or did you discover it on your own? You will love to share photography tips and compare images with loved ones. My youngest son loves to sit me down and show me how he is going to edit images. The smartphone enables us to learn photography and experience our passion with important people.
Photography can be practised anywhere at any time. You are not restricted to specific locations requiring access. Some of the best photographs are captured in your everyday life.
People with motor impairments may need to use multiple fingers to hold and touch the screen. Lifting the phone, framing the shot and actuating the shutter can be challenging. Many phones now have voice activation to open the camera app. You can then say the word cheese, smile or capture.
A great resource for wheelchair adaptors for 'big' cameras is the Disabled Photographers' Society.
Photography is accessible for people with mental illness
Smartphone photography can be as simple as point and shoot. If you have a limited capacity for concentration, you can take the photo and appreciate the photo straight away. Unlike photo editing on a desktop computer, the smartphone can be simple, quick and easily saved. The ability to put the phone away without shutting down a computer gives control to the user on how they edit.
Photography is a safe hobby
All my children love taking photos. My daughter takes random snaps without an appreciation for a quality image. Yes, she is one of those that record 'a lot' of her own life! My young boys both love setting up their photos and editing them into WOW images.
Photography is a safe hobby, for those that do not attempt death-defying shots. Tragic incidents have also occurred where people have stepped back into traffic. No hobby is immune from injury, well an exception is scrapbooking!
Photography can be a shared activity with children
You have no doubt taken photos of children and straight away they want to look at the photos of themselves. They love photography. You don't have to teach them photography. Just make it fun. A great first tip for children is reflection photos off puddles of water. Show them how to take a slow-motion video of a Lego creation smashing on the floor.
Bring you closer to your family and loved ones
Taking the time to capture loved ones suggests that you want to remember them. Sometimes as a parent, we get caught up in the difficulties and frustrations. In time, your children will only remember the good stuff. Photos capture a moment frozen in time – of the good stuff! Be sure to capture the difficult times too. You will look back at many of them and laugh.
Create better family photos than you have
Do you have cringe-worthy images of yourself as a child? Are they blurry and you wish they had of taken another with your eyes open? Learning photography will ensure your children will love their photos. So much so they will soon start taking more photos than you! Albeit it selfies where the exact head tilt is more important than the background.
Bond with other photographers
Sharing a common interest is a very powerful way to connect with people. When you start to discuss how you both see the world differently, you have hours of conversation.
Like gardening, photographic communities are full of passionate, positive people. They appreciate life and see the beauty around them.
Meet new people
There are amazing online and in-person amateur photography communities for people like us. Smartphone Photography Club members have access to an amazing, supportive Facebook group. There are also in-person photography groups at Meetup.com.
Study the great photographers of our past
When you learn photography, you will quickly realise it has little to do with the camera. As you study the greats of photography, you quickly realise their imagery had/has very little to do with their equipment. Yet, they understood lighting and composition. You may find it fascinating to study the greats in the particular field that you find interesting.
The Candid Frame podcast hosted by photographer, writer and educator Ibarionex Perello is a fantastic resource of photographer interviews. Now surpassing 500 episodes, many interviewees discuss photographers of the past that have influenced them.
Experiment with different genres
We all start photography with a particular interest. It may be recording family moments or photos in your garden. You will grow much more as a photography enthusiast if you experiment in different genres. Each genre has transferrable techniques and image considerations that transfer to other genres. This is a great way to avoid a 'creativity rut'.
Creating macro images on your smartphone is a great way to learn the technical and creative side of photography. The smartphone has many limitations in this genre necessitating learning how to overcome these. Macro photography is very rewarding, requiring anticipation, patience and a good understanding of capture and editing techniques.
Related article: Close up macro photography on your smartphone
You do not need to compete with other photographers. Being inspired by other photographers can help to develop your skills and style.
Camera knowledge ensures you don't miss 'the decisive moment'
You may have heard of the phrase capturing 'The Decisive Moment.' Street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is credited with the phrase, meaning to capture an event that is ephemeral and spontaneous, where the image represents the essence of the event itself.
The camera can be quickly launched on your smartphone, even when the screen is still locked. Depending on your phone, it could be a double-tap on the home button or swipe from the edge of the screen. Live Photos on your iPhone is a great way to capture three seconds of images and select the best-timed image.
Bring back the original intention and emotion lost through the camera
Our smartphone cameras can struggle in some scenes to capture the dynamic range and original colours in the scene. At times, the camera edits the images averaging tones producing flat images. Every image benefits from yourself editing them. As you learn photography and become more adept at visual language, you will be able to further enhance sections of the image to direct the viewers' attention.
Photography forces you to slow down, prepare and even expect a photo opportunity. In street photography, I like to find a location, then wait for a person entering the scene. Having patience and waiting is better than walking around taking happy snaps.
Focusing on a photographing a subject is a great way to 'let go' of your other worries. Becoming so immersed provides a temporary reprieve from your daily stresses. It will all be there when you are done! Then it's time to edit your photos and have another break from the stress!
Get the most out of that camera in your pocket
You may simply want to learn photography to get the most out of that existing camera in your handbag or pocket. The standard in-built camera is incredible. Did you know there are many camera replacement apps for your smartphone? They use the hardware and change the interface and software to create another camera. My little mind was blown away the first I discovered this. My favourite camera replacement app the Moment Pro Camera App. The Moment app allows manual control over the camera and integration to use the Moment lens accessories.
Photography can be a side business
Learning photography does not need to be a full-time career. If you choose to make some money from your hobby, there are opportunities. Your goal may be to fund a new smartphone each year!
One of my favourite recommendations is stock photo agencies. You can upload images using their app on your smartphone – foap, stockimo, eyeem and bylined.
Improve the photos in your business
Visuals for social media is very important for many small businesses. Customers expect you to be where they are searching. Google also rewards websites that have links to active social media accounts. You know your own behaviour on social media. We all scroll through and pause when someone of interest or relevance grabs our attention.
Learning photography on the smartphone is the most convenient and affordable way to consistently create these images. Creating a narrative to an image of relevance, evoke an emotional response and action of the customer is a very difficult task.
Photography helps you capture better video
Learning photography teaches you skills directly transferable to video. Recording loved ones. is incredibly valuable for years to come. Composition, lighting, focus and holding the camera steady all still apply.
Become a storyteller
One of the main elements you need in an engaging image is a strong subject. Other elements in the image provide supporting context to the scene. As you begin to deconstruct scenes and put them together, you start to view your images as a story. Learning photography has you questioning if the content in your scene 'adds to the story'. Does that distracting leaf in the flower photo add to the vibrant colours that caught your eye? Does the rubbish bin in that urban streetscape add to the story of the beautiful colours of the shop fronts?
Related article: Storytelling and photographic intention in smartphone photography
Learning photography is so important to document your valuable travel photos. The smartphone is also unobtrusive to others travelling with you.
Become a more confident street photographer
The smartphone has done wonders for amateur street photographers. We can now get ourselves into locations in a way that is unobtrusive and discreet. Street photography is a fantastic genre to learn photography collectively. Great images require planning, equipment knowledge, accessories, etc.
Related article: Street art photography tips using your smartphone
You do not need to be disappointed in your travel photos. Instead, learning to embrace that middle of the day harsh sunlight. Learn black and white images to capture stunning images of people walking in and out of shadows.
Create better panoramic photos
The Pano mode on your smartphone is fantastic. The algorithms involved to avoid most optical distortions. Instinctively we have our arms outstretched and move our hands along the scene. Learning capture techniques will improve these images. The best quick tip is to hold your smartphone close to your body and pivot it on the single spot. Make sure you keep that arrow aligned with the line on the screen.
Blur the background like professional photographers
One of the reasons you want to learn photography on your smartphone is to replicate some of your favourite 'big' camera photos. One of the biggest advancements of the iPhone and Android smartphone was the ability to create a blurred background. This replicates the shallow depth of field that a 'big' camera can create through lens aperture.
Features called Portrait mode, Live Focus mode and others are now not only limited to multiple lens phones. The technology even allows you to adjust the amount of blur at the time of capture and when editing. If you do not have one of these smartphones, I have an article that will help here.
Related article: Blur the background on your Android & iPhone photos
I have had people tell me now they cannot enjoy a movie anymore! This is because they begin to analyse the directors choice of angles and shot contexts!
Learn how to take better night photos
One of the struggles that I regularly hear when comparing the smartphone camera to the 'big' camera is the low light capability. The latest smartphones are becoming exceptional as technology continues to advance at a fast pace. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have the latest and greatest equipment. Learning how to take better low light night photos involves some techniques that can be applied on any smartphone old or new. There are also image editing apps available to help remove noise and enhance your low light images.
Add a new skill to your CV
Almost every business now has an online presence, a website or social media. These all requiring quality visuals. It's a fair assumption that photography would be a desirable interest. As we all take photos, chances are your interviewer will enjoy photography too. Learning photography may be the difference to score that job!
Further enjoy your other hobbies
As you learn photography, you can pair photography seamlessly with your hobbies. Capture and share images of yourself or others enjoying other hobbies or sports.
Travel is another perfect hobby that perfectly matches photography.
Related article: 40 tips to take great travel photos using your smartphone
Learning photography will encourage you to explore new techniques, new subjects and genres. Your challenge will likely be a creative rut. It happens to us all. This is because we become more self-critical of our own photos. One secret to getting breaking through the rut is to try new challenges. You may find yourself enjoying a new genre or editing style that you would not have considered. One that I found enjoyable was capturing black and white images of wilted flowers. That new subject gave me permission to try new moody editing styles.
Related article: Business Event Photography – on your Smartphone!
Some of us deal with people every day and prefer to take photos of landscapes, nature. Well, anything that does not neede interacting with people. You know who you are! Others love meeting new people or observing human behaviour and enjoy street photography.
Become a life-long photography learner
As we get older, our interests can change. Personally, I travel more and now enjoy a newfound genre of street photography. This has required new skills to expect movement and handling difficult midday lighting.
Save time and money
Learning how to better capture and edit photos on your smartphone saves you time and money. Learning photography prevents going back to take more photos. You will save time better editing and sharing images directly on your phone. You will also dramatically improve your photography without needing to update your gear!
No need for expensive equipment
The biggest expense used to be the camera. Now, you already own one in your smartphone. Creative vision and basic technical knowledge are more important than buying a camera. You can find tutorials online. Yet, a structured course will explain not only how to use a tool, but it will also teach when and why you would use it. A great course facilitator requires a qualification in training design and adult education.
Related product: New wide-angle lens & circular polarising filter | Struman Optics Cinematic range
My quick tip is to apply an edit to your liking, then reduce the adjustment. You can always add more adjustment later if you need it. As you learn photo editing, you will discover some editing apps will degrade image quality with an incorrect editing sequence.
Create your own filters and editing style
A filter is a saved set of edits that can be applied to your photo in one tap. Learning how to strategically edit your images helps to identify which filters work best with which image. Filters also known as Presets are a great way to quicken your photo editing workflow. Some photo editing apps that offer filters are Snapseed, Lightroom Mobile, Pixelmator, Filmborn, RNI Films, Afterlight, PhotoToaster, and Mextures to name just a few!
Improve your editing workflow
Learning how to edit iPhone and Android smartphone photos on your device itself already speed up the editing workflow. My six-step photo editing process using Snapseed is super fast editing workflow that can be applied to almost any image. I typically start my edits this way before moving into more image specific editing.
Stop taking blurry images
Taking the step to learn photography often is a result of frustration in your images. One such frustration is blurry images. There are shooting techniques that help, such as holding the phone steady, remote shutter and sufficient lighting.
Related article: How to sharpen your images in Adobe Lightroom mobile app.
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