Photography Tips and Advice

Phone Photography: Advice, Tips, Apps & Gadgets

As a DSLR shooter, I never thought that I would embrace phone photography. I might be young, but I still remember the days of the incredibly grainy flip-phone photo that people would show off to their friends. This was the day of the 2MP phone camera, and I’m so glad it’s over.

Now, well technology has taken some giant leaps forward, and those improvements don’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon. It’s been amazing to see what phones can do, but it’s the cameras that have impressed me the most.

How I Started

To be honest, although I owned my first smartphone around 2010 I never really started photographing anything on my phone until 2012. It was then that I started this website, and I started wanting to photograph more things with just the equipment I had on me. This passion for phone photography became even more pronounced when my camera randomly decided to pack it in while I was on holiday, leaving me deprived for months as I saved for another one. Not long after this I moved to a tropical island paradise to work an internship for a travel company, and my phone photography went into overdrive!


Now as you are probably already aware, the little camera on your phone has become one of the most convenient camera for most people. For some, especially those without the cash or interest to invest in a DSLR, a phone camera is a simple solution for the camera dilemma. So, how can you improve that experience?

Phone Photography Apps

Almost any smartphone will offer a decent enough camera to take advantage of. The easiest way to take those capabilities to the next level is to take advantage of the many phone photography camera apps out there. You’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of different apps available. It’s overwhelming to try and choose between them, so I hope that I can help by providing the ones that I use regularly.

Now I should probably warn you, I am a bit of an app addict. I have an entire page on my phone dedicated to various camera and design apps. What can I say? They all speak to me in various ways 😉

The ones I use for shooting and photo editing are:


Instagram | Afterlight | Manual

Snapseed | PicTapGo | VSCO

Picfx | Layout | PhotoshopMix

The ones I use for adding design and text (when I’m in the mood) are:


Over | Word Dream | Typic | Phoster | ABM

I told you, it’s a lot of apps. Some of them I paid for, some I got for free, and others I got discounted when they were on special (or even free app of the week!). You definitely don’t need all of these apps in order to take good phone photos though, so don’t go on a shopping spree! I’m hoping to review the apps soon, and when I do I’ll post a list of the reviews for you guys to look at.

Phone Photography Gadgets

Phone photography is such a popular thing now, there are lots of things you can get to make your own experience even better. To be honest, the choice is almost too much to contend with, which is why I haven’t really investigated it that much. Instead I have been lucky enough to find a great piece of phone photography equipment that has really improved my shots. It’s an attachable iPhone lens called the olloclip. Now you can read my full review here, but rest assured it’s a stunning piece of phone photo gadgetry to consider as you follow your passion.

This post originally appeared on, the pre-evolved version of Maps And Mandalas. I’ve republished it here with its original date because I love it that much.

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  • Reply
    July 1, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Are these still your top app choices for photos?

    • Reply
      Oceana Setaysha
      July 7, 2019 at 10:44 am

      Hey Rose! I definitely need to update these apps, but I can tell you that Snapseed is definitely still among my top choices for general and specific editing. I’ll also add Unfold for Instagram stories, VSCO for filter-style photographs, Lightroom (but some features are with the Adobe subscription only) or Afterlight 2 if you’re looking for a much cheaper option to Lightroom that has many similar features.
      Happy shooting!

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