Aung Chan Thar Sunset

How to take a good weather photograph on your mobile device

20 June 2023

The Standard Chartered Weather Photographer of the Year 2023, hosted by the Royal Meteorological Society, is back and better than ever.

This year’s competition offers three categories to enter, including a dedicated Mobile category.

This category invites entries captured on a mobile device, showcasing the beauty and power of the natural world through innovative and creative perspectives.

Taking great photographs with a mobile device has never been easier, thanks to advancements in technology. Whether you're a professional photographer or just looking to take some photos for your personal collection, here’s some advice on how to take your mobile photography to the next level.

Standard Chartered Weather Photographer of the Year 2023 judge, expert photographer and author, Jo Bradford reveals how to take eye-catching photographs on your mobile device.

Focus on the detail

Sometimes, the best photos are those that focus on the detail. Try taking close-up shots of objects, textures, and patterns to capture unique and interesting details.

“When framing your photos, why not try searching for a captivating foreground detail that serves as an anchor, grounding the composition from the bottom. By incorporating an interesting detail in the foreground, you can create a sense of depth, elevating the overall composition of your photographs.”

Expose the sky

Capturing breathtaking skies in your photographs requires a simple yet essential technique: tapping. When you concentrate on the landscape, your camera ensures that it is correctly exposed, often neglecting the sky. However, to truly make the sky, lightning bolt or rainbow stand out, it's crucial to expose it properly by tapping on it so it is your primary focus. By giving the sky the attention it deserves, you can elevate the beauty of your images to new heights, creating mesmerizing landscapes that leave a lasting impression.

“To add an extra touch of drama to your weather photos, use the on-screen drag feature to enhance contrast, light, and shadow. This simple technique allows you to create captivating visuals that bring out the dynamic nature of the weather conditions you're capturing.”

Ensure your equipment is ready to go

The first and most important thing is to make sure that your device and lens is clean. It's easy for dust, dirt, and fingerprints to accumulate on your devices camera lens, which can result in blurry or smudged photos. So, before you start shooting, take a moment to wipe down your lens, ideally with microfiber cloth or similar that won’t damage your device.

Use the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a photography composition technique that involves dividing your photo into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. This creates a grid with nine equal parts, and the idea is to place your subject along one of the lines or at one of the intersection points. This can help create a more balanced and visually appealing photo.

Most mobile devices come with a feature that overlays a grid of lines on the screen. This can be a helpful guide for composition, especially if you're using the rule of thirds. Turn on the gridlines in your camera settings to take advantage of this helpful tool.

“Once you've tried the rule of thirds, feel free to explore other, less conventional ways of framing your photographs to create stunning compositions. Rules are meant to be broken after all!”

Use a tripod and accessories

If you're taking photos in low light or trying to capture a steady shot, consider using a tripod or a stabiliser. This can help prevent blurry photos and make it easier to explore long exposures.

In summary, mobile photography is a fun and accessible way to capture beautiful moments and express your creativity. By following these tips, and practicing as much as possible, you'll be well on your way to taking great photos with your phone.

For more information on the Standard Chartered Weather Photographer 2023 competition and how to enter, please click the link here.


About Jo Bradford

Jo Bradford is a photographer and Associate Lecturer on the Marine and Natural History Photography BA (Hons) at Falmouth University. Having authored two books on smartphone photography, Jo brings expertise and insight to the Standard Chartered Weather Photographer of the Year.