How to take photos worthy of home decor magazines on your phone

The not so humble phone camera. Now capable of doing pretty much anything you could dream of – including, taking amazing, home decor magazine worthy photos! 

Taking great photos on your phone needs a little understanding  of some simple photography principles – such as composition and lighting – and an eye for framing the perfect snap. 

We’ve compiled a list of top tips to help you make the most of your phone’s camera to take brilliant photos that wouldn’t look out of place in a glossy interior design magazine. 

Tip 1: Avoid flash and make the most of natural light

The cornerstone of any great photo is good lighting. Understanding how to use light in your favour will produce the best possible results. 

Avoid using your phone’s flash and aim to take photos with the light source behind the camera, and not shooting directly into a window with sunlight shining through. Use angles to your advantage to find the perfect spot that shows your subject in the best possible… well, light. 

Tip 2: Take your photos at the right time of day

As mentioned above, it’s harder to take a good photo if you have bright sunshine coming through a window and directly into your phone lens. Equally, too little light and not making the most of it and you’ll start having to use too much artificial lighting / contemplating your phone’s flash. 

A great time of day for indoor photos in the summer is during the day, but when the sun isn’t at its strongest, to avoid glare / over exposure. In the winter months however, mid-morning to midday is likely an ideal time to take your snap to make the most of the light available. 

Tip 3: Don’t overexpose your images

Negate the risk of overexposure by tweaking your phone screen’s lighting. Tap to select the focal point of your image and then use your finger to alter the exposure by moving it up and down on the slider. Some phones are different in their functionality – but all modern phones will have an option to adjust the exposure. 

A photo that’s too dark can be fixed with editing. A photo that’s too bright and loses the detail of the subject is often beyond improvement / saving. 

If you are shooting an interior shot with windows in the background, tap on the window on your screen and use that as your reference for the brightest part of the room, bringing the light down accordingly so that everything else in your shot has a suitable level of exposure. 

Tip 4: Follow the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a photography guideline that places the subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.

For interior photos – for example if you’re taking a shot of a kitchen island and cabinets, that may take up one third of your shot, with the wall cabinets above the top third and the sink and kitchen sideboards in the middle third. (this is dependent on the layout of your kitchen of course) but using the rule of thirds to create a balanced shot that consists of multiple (if relevant) focuses of interest, is a great way to create an eye-catching photo. 

You can also try other compositions, such as asymmetric. For example you may have a vase of flowers on your kitchen worktop in the bottom left of your photo and in the top right, a focus on the kitchen larder or shelving in the background. 

Experiment with using your phone’s camera settings to switch on gridlines to aid photo alignment. 

Tip 5: Draw the eye of those looking at your photos

‘Leading Lines’ draw the eye into your photo – making people follow lines you create with your shots.

For interior photography, using the kitchen as an example again, this could be a shot that runs lengthwise along a kitchen island, leading the eye from one end of the kitchen island (front of field), to the far end of the kitchen island and other elements of the kitchen behind it. 

It can be tricky to get a whole room into a shot using this method – but give it a go and see how the shots look! 

Tip 6: Clear the clutter and ‘dress the room’ before you start snapping

Before taking your interior photos – be sure to do a quick spring clean and some arrangement to really make your photos come to life and look worthy of any of the top home decor magazines. 

Carefully positioned vases of flowers, or freshly baked bread and bowls of fruit etc. can add those perfect little touches to make your photos pop.

Tip 7: Landscape works best for interior shots

Landscape generally works best for interior shots, simply because you can get more of the width of the room into your shot in that format. We’d recommend taking shots in landscape – which can always be cropped to portrait for Instagram uploads. Or take some portrait shots as backup so you have a range of options. 

For Instagram specifically, the best Instagram image sizes for posts are: 1080px by 1080px (Square) 1080px by 1350px (Portrait) and 1080px by 608px (landscape). 

Thanks for reading and happy snapping!