5 tips for winter mobile photography

In How-to, Inspiration, Mobile
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It’s definitely winter in the northern hemisphere and with the change in light and the festive season upon us, I thought I might share some winter mobile photography tips. There may be less light around, but that just means you have to change your approach — there are still lots of opportunities for good images.

1. Baby, it’s cold outside
So why not stay in? This is a time to share your overhead pictures of epic family meals and other items on your table tops. To make up for the lack of daylight, try using Cortex Cam to avoid grainy images: it takes a bunch of pictures and combines them for a sharper result. Remember to hold your breath as it’s taking its pictures! And if your images are still too grainy, try removing noise using the Photoshop app.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

2. I’m beginning to see the light
With all those festive lights shining in the dark, why not try a little blur on purpose? Lock the focus on something nearby and then play around with the exposure to get the right feel of your image. Or use an app that lets you set the focus and exposure points separately  (Camera+ for example), to create a deliberate blurry effect.

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset

3. Tis the season to be jolly
Be sure to make the most of the low sun by taking pictures of silly silhouettes and long shadows. I’ve written about taking silhouettes on your mobile phone before, but the short version is: find a hill so that you have a clutter-free horizon, place your subject at the top of a hill and go to the bottom, then shoot up and into the light. Try reducing the exposure and increasing the contrast when processing your images to deepen the blacks and emphasise the shapes. Add a little clarity/sharpening to your image to make your silhouette really stand out. For dramatic long shadows, go somewhere really flat just before sunset. Try to add something personal to your shadow; I often like to add my bicycle to mine.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

4. Kind of blue
If you’re shooting indoors under mixed lighting, your images may come out warmer (yellower) than usual, so now’s the time to apply colder (bluer) filters, or play around with the temperature setting in your favourite processing app, to push the colours towards the blue. But be careful, because skin tones will quickly start to look odd, and it will look as though everyone has frostbite! I’ve been playing around with an app called Priime for the last few months and it has some lovely wintry filters; check out Leila Peterson’s December and Nostalgia filters.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

5. A foggy day, in London town
With sunrise being later and sunset being earlier, there’s plenty of opportunity for dramatic images without having to get up too early. When processing your images, go easy with the special effects (or apply filters, but turn them down), because it doesn’t take much to overcook a sunrise or sunset. If you’re using Priime, try adding a little of Chris Ozer’s Longhorn filter. And if it’s foggy too, sunrises and sunsets can be even more dramatic, as the sunbeams start to break through!

Processed with VSCOcam with q1 preset



  1. You always inspire me to try new things — and new apps! Can’t wait to try these. Lovely images!

  2. so much inspiration and information in your words and images: thank you!! I’m going to try and follow up on your suggestions. it’s going to be fun! xox

  3. This was some really great stuff from the best overhead photographer I know and love your silhouettes too! Now I have a new app to check out, thank you Kirstin.

  4. You make your mobile photography look nothing like mobile photography – that last photo is GLORIOUS. Always inspiring, my friend.

  5. Thanks for sharing these amazing photography tips.

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