Any time you are using your cell phone to take pictures outside, especially if you are going to publish or share online, there are a few things you need to remember as you are taking them.
1. Get Closer. We all want to get the shot in the excitement of the moment, but stop, get closer, the photo will look better.
2. Pay close attention to your backgrounds.
Having the sky or a light in the back (backlighting) is going to force your phone into taking a picture that is too dark.
Put the subject with a darker background behind them. It will make the camera take a photo that is much brighter, helping to reduce harsh contrast.
3. Remove Hats. When we are outside we all wear hats, but they are the worst for taking good pictures. The one below on the left has a hat and is nearly unrecognizable. The on on the right is better, even if it’s not great.
If you cannot remove the hat, use your flash. Turning the flash on will help a bit, and if you cannot take the hat off, then every bit will help.
4. Use HDR Mode. (not pictured) Most smartphones come with an HDR option, which takes three photos of varying exposures to provide you with a composite of the best part of each photograph. For more on HDR, read here.
Remember that not everybody will edit the photo before they use it. Bad editing is always worse than good photos. You have a screen that shows you the picture before you take it, use it. And, only take the picture you want. What you see IS what you get published.