Depending on how you’re schooling this year, you may have less access to your school’s trough of camera equipment and be more reliant on your mobile phone than ever.

It’s a good practice to strive for having a photo with every article you’re publishing. If you’re pursuing the SNO Distinguished Sites Multimedia Badge, you’re going to need it. This year, we’ll be more receptive to phone photography in reviewing that badge; but, frankly, it can be so hard to tell the difference anyway.

In some cases, the camera on your phone may be of a higher quality than the one sitting in the journalism room at school. It’s time to use it.

Here are a few tips when using the camera on your phone (specific to iPhones):

1. Make sure your lens is clean

It’s easy to get dirt, dust and fingerprints all over our phone’s camera lens. Get in the habit of wiping it off before composing your photos. This’ll take roughly 1-2 seconds.

2. Turn on the camera’s grid function

Turn on the grid feature in your iPhone’s Camera settings to help you abide by the Rule of Thirds. It throws grid lines on the screen when taking a photo to guide you.

3. Keep your phone steady

Hold your phone with two hands. Lean your body up against something to steady yourself. Keep your elbows tight to your body when holding the phone. Or, go to the next level by investing in a tripod for your phone.

4. Try creating Bursts

Burst Mode allows you to take roughly 10 photos in a second, so perhaps one of those 10 will be the perfect one. Hold down the camera button on your phone to take a Burst, but definitely go through them immediately to delete the bad ones and spot the good one.

5. Use Portrait Mode when it fits

Portrait Mode doesn’t exist on some older iPhones, but it’s a cool feature on the new ones. It enables you to establish some depth of field, like blurring the background behind the subject that’s in focus. Portraits don’t fit every type of photo, though, so use it sparingly.