10 holiday phone photography tips

As more and more of us use our smartphone as a primary camera, I’ve got some tips on making sure you don’t miss a shot at Christmas and New Year gatherings.

Keep it clean!  Get a small microfiber cleaning cloth and make sure to clean the lens for sharper photos and the touchscreen, so you can really see what you’re taking a shot of. If your lens has gotten really gunky, dip a cotton swab in a tiny bit of denatured alcohol. Just enough to make it moist and carefully clean the lens.


Power it up! Make sure you charge up that phone before the gathering. Bring a power cord with you and also consider investing in a rechargeable backup battery. A portable device like this is especially handy if you’re shooting video, which can take a lot of power.


Make room!  Check your device to see how you’re doing on space before your gatherings. Transfer photos from the camera and delete unnecessary shots to make room for new stuff. If your device supports expanded memory, pick up a microSD card to hold your memories.

Get a tripod or selfie stick. Pocket tripods aren’t hard to find and they’re a great option for getting group photos. Check the dollar store. While a selfie-stick might seem like a great gift for a teenager, it’s actually quite useful for taking group shots.


Get familiar with your phone’s camera. If you haven’t played with the settings, take a few minutes to sit down and check out your flash, timer, and shooting mode options.  Don’t forget, most cameras also offer voice control.

Don’t forget about lights! Christmas lights are pretty, but they can make getting great shots tricky. Test a few shots before things get going to see if you need the flash or should switch to a different shooting mode to get the best images. While you’re trying to get the shot of a toddler opening a gift is not necessarily the best time to figure that out.

Only one person needs to take the picture. Remember, the photo is digital. Eight different people don’t need to take the same shot. One person can take the picture and easily share it with everyone else.

Pick a family hashtag.  If family members plan to share your images on social media choose a hashtag like #jonesxmas2021 to assist everyone in finding the images.

Don’t zoom!  Digital zooming isn’t really zooming in at all, it’s just cropping and it can end up making photos shaky and blurry. Instead, either take it from a distance and crop it later. Or just get closer if you can.  If you really need to be able to take shots from far away, then bring a separate camera with an optical zoom.

Take lots of photos! Remember, you don’t have to pay to get them developed. If you have adequate storage you should have plenty of room. But make sure to go back and delete the duds later.

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