An Instagram photographer’s rules for wielding your phone camera like a pro

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Amy Schumer take a selfie.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Amy Schumer take a selfie.
Image: AP Images/Invision for the Television Academy/Matt Sayles
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Photographer Guido Gutiérrez Ruiz is on a mission to improve the photography on Instagram.

With a few key rules (and a few key filters), anyone can take a good picture with their phone, he says. The Milan-based 26-year-old tells Quartz that he doesn’t even like to be called a photographer, because he is self-taught.

Gutiérrez Ruiz does have a professional DSLR, but he prefers to pack light for his travels. Downloading pictures from camera to computer takes too long, he says, compared with the ease of posting camera-phone pictures to Instagram.

He shared a few of his tips with Quartz, for how to get the right shot without all the fancy equipment:

1. The first thing to do is clean your lens. Most people do not realize that our cell phones are always on top of a table or in a pocket, gathering dust and dirt. The cleaning of the lens ensures clarity and sharpness

2. Be creative. Look for reflections in windows and mirrors. Every mirror or glass can give you a diferent view.

3. Play with the elements of nature. Clouds, birds and sun rays usually come out well in a picture. People and shadows are also good: Seeing someone from the back or the side, instead of the front, always suggests an intriguing story.

4. Look for geometry. Play with sharp lines and interesting angles (like looking up at a building). Long streets and hallways work too—you’d be surprised at how nice everyday buildings can turn out.