the roundtable

Capture, Create & Communitcate

Elevating your mobile phone photography with Gabrielle Touchette


I’m Gabrielle

I’m a portrait and commercial photographer here in Winnipeg. I’ve been taking photos since I was 13 and started pursuing photography more seriously in my 20s with several years of part time courses.

After obtaining a diploma in professional photography in 2008, I started my photography business. I’ve been running it full time since then, as well I’ve been teaching photography in my community.

In the last 4 years I discovered a love of iPhone photography and started teaching non-photographers how to take better photos with their phone cameras.

Today’s discussion will touch on the top four principles of photography that everyone needs to learn in order to level up their phone photography skills.

No experience or fancy cameras needed!

Taking photos with intention and purpose

→ Improving your phone photography skills is not about tricks, hacks and iPhone apps. It’s about taking photos with intention and purpose.

It’s about applying the basic principles of photography which have been used for 200 years by all the master photographers.

It’s not about the camera gear. It’s about you, your unique perspective and unleashing your creativity.


photography means →  light (photo) Drawing (GRAPHY)

“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” – George Eastman

Not only is it important to understand and use light well for technical purposes, but finding light that is unique, powerful, and incredibly compelling is the key to good photography. Being a good photographer is someone who can transform something ordinary into something extraordinary, by using light well.

→  four attributes of light:

Quantity of light (How bright the light is affects your photo. More light gives you photos that are sharper, clearer and have truer colours. Low light can be moody, adding drama and intrigue.)

Quality of light (Soft light gives soft shadows and keeps things clean and not distracting. Hard light gives harsh-edged shadows, making photos look more dynamic and higher contrast.)

Direction of light (Which angle the light is coming into your photo and falling on your subject has a big impact. Side light creates more texture, back light creates a hazy wrap around look, and front light gives a flat, even lighting that minimizes texture.)

Colour of light (Light is either yellow or blue. Your phone auto white balances for every lighting situation, but be careful in mixed-lighting. That can’t easily be white balanced and it can create a muddy look.)

Aside from the technical aspects of light,

it’s much more import to train your eye to find light that is unique, fascinating and captivating.

The human eye is attracted to light that is bright, complex and dynamic. You should look to add captivating light in all your photos, whenever you can. This is the most important step in starting to train your eye to be a good photographer.


 As a photographer, your job is to take your viewers on a guided journey to discovering your photo’s message, purpose or story.

There is no better way of doing this than applying rules of composition.

Composition is all about how you arrange elements within your frame in order to create a more visually appealing and impactful image.

→  rule of thirds

When a subject is placed along the lines in the grid or at the intersections of the lines, a photo tends to be more visually appealing and balanced.


Storytelling helps us make sense of the world around us, and communicates ideas and emotions that are too complex for words.

Before taking a photo, observe and relate to the story or the emotion. Then answer these questions:

→ What is this photo about?

→ Who or what are you highlighting?

→ What do you want it to communicate and what is the purpose of this photo?

→ What effect do you want it to have on your viewer?

→ What result do you want to achieve?

photo editing
One of the easiest ways to have your photos stand above the rest is by developing a photo editing practice.

I recommend using Lightroom Mobile. It’s the only editing app you will ever need and it’s the most used software by professional photographers. There’s a free version that you can install on your phone.

Get started in Lightroom Mobile with my Black and White Preset!

→ Click here for download and install instructions in Lightroom Mobile.

want to take your photography further?