A friend once told me that the best camera you have is the one in your hand. It's true. I do have a big DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera that I love to shoot with, but for capturing everyday moments, I use my phone just like everyone else. It's a quick way to connect with friends and family via Instagram and Facebook without having to download photos from my DSLR, edit them, and then share them. But if you follow some simple photo-composition tips, you won't have to sacrifice great pictures for simplicity and ease:

1. The rule of thirds:

Imagine that there's a tic-tac-toe grid when you look through the viewfinder.  The Rule of Thirds basically states that you should place the subject of your photo along one of the lines in your “grid” or at one of the points where the lines intersect. In other words: Just place your subject in one of the “thirds” of that imaginary grid (top third, bottom third, left third, right third). To make it even simpler, place the subject of your photo off-center. Do not put the subject of your photo in dead center. The photo has better depth if your photo subject is in one of the thirds of your frame.

Rule of Thirds, how to take good photos

2. Pay attention to the background:

If you're taking portraits, you'll want to keep the background as uncluttered as possible. (I'm constantly stopping to toss toys off the lawn when I'm shooting outside with the kids.) An ill-placed object in the background can detract from the photo subject.

how to take good photos

3. Framing:

This is a really simple aspect of composition. If your subject is framed by an object (like a window, door, or play structure), fill the frame of your viewfinder so that the existing “frame" frames your subject. 

how to take good photos

4. Fill the frame:

If you're taking portraits, fill the frame as much as possible with your subject.

how to take good photos

5. Lines are important:

If you're taking a photo of a sunset or sunrise, place the horizon on the bottom grid line. If there are curved lines, it shows movement.

how to take good photos

Happy snapping!