For portraits, find the right backdrop
Find a clean background — a natural canvas with a relatively solid color or shape, such as a wall, open sky or foliage. If that’s not possible, move around the subject to find a less cluttered backdrop. Also, check that there are no vertical objects, such as streetlamps or thin trees directly behind people’s heads, or other unwanted background objects that would distract from the subject.
Make the frame
It’s often helpful to have a portrait shopping list: headshot, half-body and full body frames (make sure not to crop people’s feet), as well as horizontal and vertical. Having these frames in mind will help you choose the best shot. Many of the latest Apple and Android phones offer a choice of inbuilt lenses with different focal lengths, which can help you do this quickly. You can also use portrait mode on your cellphone camera, which shortens the depth of field, blurs the background and gives a portrait style similar to what you get when using wide-open apertures on longer camera lenses.
Edit your photos more than once
Choosing the best photos is just as important as taking them. If you’re creating a separate album of your favorites, you already have a base from which to start. However, take your time and review all the photos you’ve taken, scrolling through the photos at least twice. If possible, leave a day between doing this. The eye can be overwhelmed when looking at a large number of pictures, and it is easy to miss a good picture.
Rush to post-production
Phone cameras, like regular cameras, don’t always read light correctly. Often one needs to adjust the photo’s exposure, shadows or color temperature. Many of these can easily be done using a phone’s inbuilt software — though there are also specialist applications such as Snapseed o Adobe Photoshop Express. What you can or should do is a personal decision. But, in general, spend as little time as possible working on an image, and focus on balancing tone and light in your selection of images so they feel stylistically cohesive.
Have hungry eyes
Eve Arnold, the wonderful Magnum photographer, once told of walking with Henri Cartier-Bresson from the Magnum office in Paris to lunch at his apartment on the Rue de Rivoli. During the 15-minute walk home, while he repeatedly told her that he was no longer interested in photography, only drawing, he took three rolls of film with his Leica. Great photographers have an insatiable eye for pictures, and a cellphone allows one to be prepared for everything. But the moment must also be clearly understood. Everyone wants to capture their memories of a trip so they can remember later. But it’s also important to see the world without feeling obligated to take pictures. Sometimes the eyes just need the pleasure of seeing.