Why Your Phone Is One of the Best Tools for Street Photography

Did you know that the mobile phone in your pocket is actually one of the best tools for street photography?

Street photography is one of the most popular genres of photography today. It’s also one of the most accessible since most of us have a camera on our smartphones. Decisive moments are happening all around us, so what better way to capture them than with the cameras already in our pockets? Join us as we discuss the benefits of shooting street photography with our phones in our latest original infographic.

Spray and Pray

Most default camera apps on phones require you to tap the on-screen shutter to take pictures. This can cause unintentional camera shake. But did you know some phones actually let you use the volume buttons as the shutter release? You’ll maintain a firmer grip on your phone this way too. Consequently, your images are likely to appear sharper. Better grip means you’re also less prone to dropping your phone by accident. Nobody likes a smashed phone screen, so this is a definite plus. By holding down the hardware shutter, you can also capture continuous bursts of images. Once you’re done, you can review each burst and select the best shot out of the bunch.

Bonus Tip: You could also use your headphones to trigger your phone’s camera if your phone has a headphone jack. Simply use the inline volume controls instead of those on the phone itself. Think of it as a cable release for your phone’s camera.


Some street photographers have an aggressive, in-your-face approach. It’s controversial, polarizing, and certainly not for everyone. Shooting street photography with your phone can be much less conspicuous. It’s perfect for photographers that prefer a more reserved and non-disruptive approach. Most people will have a smartphone on them when they’re out and about nowadays. Comparatively, someone walking around with a dedicated camera tends to stick out a lot more.

Always remember to silence your phone before you start shooting street photography with it. Most smartphones will play a simulated shutter sound when taking photos. This sound is a dead giveaway to anyone nearby. Disabling it will make you even more inconspicuous. Combine this with shooting from the hip, and most people won’t even realize you’re actually photographing.


Most native camera apps on modern smartphones do a decent enough job taking photos. However, they generally don’t offer the same level of manual and creative controls you would find on a dedicated camera. Thankfully, there are plenty of third-party apps available for both Android and iOS. They open up a whole new world of possibilities for mobile street photographers. These third-party apps generally fall into two different categories: cameras and image editors.

Third-party camera apps give you the ability to manually adjust your phone’s camera settings. You can adjust your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO just like you could on a “real” camera. Why let your phone’s native camera app determine how your images should look? These third-party camera apps allow you to take full creative control over how your final image will turn out.

Once you’ve captured your masterpiece, you can process the image using an image editor. Instead of importing it onto your desktop, you can do it right from your phone. RNI Films, Snapseed, and VSCO are just some of our favorite mobile image editing apps. What camera and image editing apps do you use on your mobile phone?