How to take better photos: a student guide

It’s World Photography Day on Sunday 19th August! To celebrate the big day, I’ll be sharing my photography tips for taking better photos and enhancing your photos with editing apps. I often get asked how I edit my pictures, how the photos were taken or what magical “invention” helped me to capture that particular moment. All you need is a smartphone to get started!

If you’re keen to get into photography or up your Instagram game, you can benefit from a few basic tips on how to enhance your photos. These tips may be useful to you, even if you don’t own a proper camera (one day, one day!). Powerful pictures are a great way to add impact to blogs, social media and online writing, so it’s important to know how to make the most of your photos. I hope you find at least some of the tips below helpful and inspirational.

Editing your photos

Usually, I take all the pictures with my iPhone 5 camera, which honestly isn’t the best. On the other hand, there is still a lot that can be done even with a camera like that. I genuinely use only two photo editing apps on my phone, firstly VSCO, which is a free app available on the App Store and Google Play.

Secondly, I use Afterlight, a paid app which you can purchase from the App Store. The process is quite easy, so I always upgrade the photo quality, add filters and additional effects if necessary. Another tip is to never save the pictures someone took from Facebook chat, but have them sent via WhatsApp or directly via Bluetooth instead.

Other great free photo editing apps include Google Snapseed, Pomelo and Aviary. These apps are all great at adjusting the lighting, colour and sharpness of an image.

Fish eye


Every time I take this odd-looking tool out everyone agrees on the usefulness of it. I’m talking about the fisheye lens! You simply clip the lens onto your phone camera any time you want. This item is available on eBay, where I got it for not even £2.

The biggest advantage of the lens is that if you are making a group picture or a selfie, everyone can be captured and it still looks professional! When an object is so big you can’t fit it into the frame of the camera, there is nothing easier than to just clip on your fish eye lens to capture it all.

Polaroid camera


Lastly, this gadget has definitely become my favourite – the idea is just brilliant. I bet we all have said to ourselves that we should print out all of our amazing photos. However, honestly, who has actually done this? My bet is not many! I was lucky enough to be given a Polaroid camera as a gift so I could capture all of my most unforgettable moments in physical form.

I love my Polaroid camera and I adore all the photos I’ve taken using it. You only have one chance to capture the moment, which let’s be honest, does not usually end up as planned (I know we all have 309294140 pictures in our gallery of the same moment haha). The Polaroids look astonishing on the wall or in an photo album. Trust me, every time you come back to these and browse your photo album, you’ll appreciate how special these photos really are.

What are your favourite photography tips using your smartphone? Do you have a favourite photo editing app of your own? Please do let me know in the comments!