10 Simple Tips for taking Photos to Use on a Photo Phone Case

April 27, 2019

Why pay for a branded photo phone case when you can create your own? At Custom Envy, you can choose from a wide range of smart phones—including iPhone, Galaxy, and Google — and have your phone cases printed with your treasured photographs. The site makes it simple for you to add photographs of your children(1), pets(2), or even travel photos(3), to make unique phone cases that no one else has.

It may seem daunting in the beginning to think that you can create a beautiful iPhone or Galaxy phone case, yet it’s actually pretty simple. And most people today don’t even own a fancy digital camera, which is not necessary, as most smart phones can take great photographs.

Just imagine how simple it can be to take a great photograph and have it made into a phone case in only 10 steps! Soon you’ll have a great phone case of your wedding(4), or other special event that you attended this past year. While you can scroll through your photograph albums to see which may be suitable, you may prefer to start fresh and take photographs with the specific purpose of using them for custom picture cases.

Here are your 10 simple steps toward taking the best photos for your photo phone cases. 

Type of camera.

Your first decision is what kind of camera to use. If you have a good digital camera, go ahead and use that, then follow through the rest of the steps below. But don’t worry if you only have a smart phone camera or mobile device to use. These cameras have vastly improved in quality over the years. Remember that if you follow all the steps, you can still have perfect photographs that will print well on your phone case. You can also use other mobile devices that take photographs, such as iPads or tablets.

Even the most expensive pro digital camera won’t take a great photo if you don’t consider your subject, lighting, focus, and other photography elements. It is possible to take a great photo with any type of camera.

Did you know that you can even use your old SLR film camera? All you have to do is request a digital copy when your drop your film off for processing. They can either upload your digital images to a flash/stick/USB, or place them on a website where you can log in and download them. SLR film cameras can take great photographs, so don’t let that hold you back if want to try something other than your mobile device’s camera.

2. Choose your subject.

Your next decision is going to be based on your subject. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Children
  • Family
  • Pets
  • Objects
  • Events
  • Scenery

Pet Photo Case

Let your subject know of your ulterior purpose of having their image made into a phone case. You may even have to promise to order two cases, or more, so that everyone in the family has one for their smart device. Letting them know of your intentions will make them feel like they’re the top model in your project. It makes the session a bit more fun, and provides an explanation as to why it’s taking you ten times longer to frame your shot.

One of the best ways to have a great subject in your photographs is to maintain eye contact with your subject. A photo of them looking you in the eyes is more effective than them staring disinterestedly out into the distance. While it may be cute to see an entire subject, consider moving in closer to them so that their face appears larger through the lens. You should also clearly be able to see their eyes, rather than have them as black specs.

If you’re taking photographs of young children or pets, get down to their level. Avoid taking photos from above. Kneel down, or lie down, and take a pic at eye level. This also has the effect of pulling the viewer into the photo.

If you’re taking a photo of an object, such as a tree, flowers, or seashells, the rules are still applicable: get down to that level for your shot.

Some experts suggest you place your subject slightly off-center, so you’re not making it look like you tried too hard. Also remember that the average person will look at a photograph from top left to right, then, down the image. If you have your subject—whether human, pet, or inanimate object‚ slightly to the right, the eye will naturally rest on this spot and it won’t cause confusion to the brain.

3. Select your background.

The background of your photo is nearly as important as the subject. You don’t want to have a person wearing black, standing in the dark, as you can’t clearly see them as a subject in your photograph. Likewise, you don’t want your child wearing a white parka playing in snow. First, choose a good contrast between what your subject is wearing, and the background.

The background should never be so busy that it overshadows your subject. Move your subject away from busy backgrounds and in front of a simpler one. A plain background is ideal, and can even be accomplished in most event settings.

If you’re taking a scenic shot, then subject and background may meld together. But, you should still have a subject framed out. In a scenic shot, this could be a tree, a bird or shell on the beach, with your ocean waves or blue sky as the background.

Check out how nicely the trees remain in the background while allowing the family to stand out in the foreground of this case.

Children Photo Phone Case

After you have framed your subject against the background, check the surrounding regions. You don’t want your subject to appear to have strange objects growing out of their head. If you can, move items away from the subject, such as chairs or planters. 

If you don’t want to fiddle with the background, but aren’t certain what to do, you can get a Pet Portrait(10) case when Custom Envy does all the work for you. You simply send us your pet photo and we’ll crop out the background for you! Now you can have a closeup photo case of just Fluffy’s or Fido’s head.

4. Vertical or horizontal orientation.

A horizontal photograph is when it’s wider than taller, whereas a vertical photo means that it’s longer than wider. For most phone cases you’ll want to stick to a vertical image, such as in this Family is Everything(6) personalized phone case.

When you take your pics all you have to do is make a conscious decision to flip your phone sideways to take a vertical shot, then snap your photo. And if you’re taking pics of scenery, you’ll see how boring sky is eliminated, so you can better focus on the subject in your pics.

But if you have several horizontal photographs, there are ways where you can assemble them together into a collage, and make a photo case. For this case, you choose three different horizontal photos which are stacked on top of each other to create a phone case. This is a good option for people who simply can’t choose only one photograph for a phone case.

When you’re taking your photographs you can begin with a horizontal shot, then flip your camera around to a vertical position and take a second shot. You’ll discover how many subjects seem to improve with this type of orientation. The good thing about smart devices is that you can takes tons of photos, and then sort through them afterwards to choose the best shots for your iPhone or Galaxy phone cases.


5. Choose natural lighting.

Whether you’re using a flash unit on an expensive digital SLR camera, or your iPhone’s or Galaxy’s camera, the results can be disappointing. For this reason alone, try to take your photographs with as much natural light as possible.

The lighting is the second most important aspect of your photo, next to your subject. While you can adjust it a bit in photo editing software, it’s not going to bring you miracles. Light will affect everything within your photograph. Unless it’s your intention to have a silhouette of a person against a bright sunset, you’re going to need to spend extra time getting the lighting just right.

Lighting can either enhance your subject, or make them look terrible. The best natural light can be found outdoors. Be sure not to snap a shot of them against the sun, as the camera will compensate and make your subject dark. Instead, the sun should be behind the photographer’s back.

Remember that if you don’t like your lighting, you can always move your subject around, and move yourself around too. The best time of day to take scenic shots is first thing in the morning, or later in the day when there can be a beautiful sunset.

If you’re uncertain, just take a bunch of shots in a variety of positions around your location. You can always sort through them later to choose the best ones.

Many devices also have an option where they can automatically lighten a darkened region by using your fingers to highlight that area. Read your manual in advance to ensure you understand how this feature works.

Personalized Case with Photos

6. Crop don’t zoom.

It can be tempting to want to zoom in on your subject with your smartphone’s camera, just like with a real camera. While this can work great with an expensive digital camera zoom lens, it doesn’t work well with a smart phone’s camera. Generally, what happens if you zoom in with a smart phone is that your subject becomes blurry. You may even wish to check and ensure that the dot is all the way to the left on your screen, so you’re not accidentally taking a photo that has been enlarged.

The reason why your digital zoom makes your photographs blurry is because it is digitally increasing the size for you, much like if you did in Photoshop. A real camera has a special zoom lens that has been built with a special glass lens that really enlarges a subject. As of today, the traditional camera zoom lens still has not been accurately reproduced digitally.

Now that you know to not use the zoom function, the easiest fix for a subject that is too far away is to move closer to it. While taking super close up photos for other purposes is great, there is such as thing as too close for a custom phone case. Your goal is to nicely fill the screen with your subject’s face, and their upper shoulders. If it’s a group shot, ensure you get everyone together.

Some people can sit on chairs in the front of your scene so you can ensure that you get a large group of people together in your shot. Some can even kneel on the ground. It’s best to never have more than five or six people together for a phone case photo. You can see how some people are situated above others. But if you have too many people, each individual will have a small face that you can’t see clearly enough.

And remember not to get too close, such as when you’re taking a photo of your pet cat(9). Most cameras get blurry around three feet, unless you have a macro lens, which you won’t have on your smart phone. If you do, the same rules apply as to the zoom function, it will simply be too blurry to be of much use.

7. Accurate focus.

Now that you have your subject, background, and composition chosen, you’ll need to work on the focus. This means holding the camera in your hands and not shaking or moving it. To do so will cause a blurry effect. You need to give your smart device a few seconds so it can automatically focus on the subject. After it has done so, have a look. Is your main subject in focus?

Many smart devices will have a square appear where it thinks the main subject is. It may be adjustable, depending on how new your phone is. If it’s inaccurate, you can move it to your main focal point to ensure that it is in focus.

Perhaps you need to take a step back if you’re too close. Go ahead and take your photos. You can view your photos after taking them, then choose to retake them if you need to.

8. Upload your photos.

Once you have taken several photographs with your camera or smart device, you’ll need to upload them to your computer, and get them ready for sorting and selection.

You’ll attach your smart device to your computer with the use of the cable that came with it. If you’re using an Apple product, you’ll upload your photos through the Photos application. If you have a Galaxy, you’ll upload your photos to Share Shot.

Some people like to check the box that says “delete photos after import”, while others like to keep the photos until they have been safely transferred. Once this step is done, detach your cable and phone and put them away. Now you can view all of the photographs that you have taken. You may wish to copy your favorites, then place them in a special folder for your custom phone case, otherwise you may forget which ones are your favorites, and have to start over again.

9. Choose your best photos.

Once you have an assortment of great photos, now comes the fun part, choosing the best photos which will be used to upload to Custom Envy to make a fun photo and picture case.

Try and narrow down your choices to seven. From here, you can narrow it down to just one, or, make seven phone cases, one for each day of the week. You can even order extras for gifts, but don’t forget to find out what make and model of iPhone or Galaxy your friends and family have first.

    When choosing photos, you’ll want to search for certain elements. These will directly correspond to the seven steps above. You want to ensure that your subject is framed nicely, and doesn’t have part of their head cut off. You’ll also want to ensure that they stand out nicely from the background, and that they are in focus. It’s all right if the background is out-of-focus, as that will help your subject to stand out in the foreground.

    If you want to have only one photograph on your phone case, choose one with a vertical orientation. But, if you want to have three pics, one on top of each other, it’s best if all three are of a horizontal orientation.

    Family Photo Personalized Phone Case

    Also view the lighting in your photograph. Remember that your photo will be printed onto a phone case, which means it may not look 100% like it’s going to look on your computer screen. So, darkened regions may appear darker, while overexposed regions may appear brighter.

    Once you’ve chosen your favorite photos, you can move onto the next step.

    10. Choose your photo phone case. 

    The final step is to visit Custom Envy main phone case page and choose your Phone Type. Next, choose your desired Case Type. For Case Types there are two main options: Extra Protective, and Clear Extra Protective.

    After this, the site will prompt you through a variety of steps, making it simple to upload your custom phone case photographs. You’ll then do a preview of your case, and purchase it.

    After this point, we make your iPhone or Galaxy phone cases, and you wait for them to arrive in the mail. In 2017, we’ll also be offering Google Phone cases, so sign up for our Newsletter—the link is at the bottom right of the website in the black footer—to receive information on when they’ll be available.

    Do You Need Assistance with Making your Photo Phone Case?

    Yes, you may get frustrated with your first few shots and decide to trash them. But each time you’ll learn how to take a better smart phone photo, and soon you’ll have a vast selection of choices to make into photo cases. And remember that photo cases can be quickly switched out, so if you want your phone to wear a different one for each day of the week, that’s certainly possible.

    If you are experiencing difficulty during any step in the process of making a great custom photo phone case, please contact us and we’d be happy to assist you in making the best case possible. Remember that we can even crop out the background for you, so you don’t have to worry about doing it.

    If all else fails, simply send us your photographs and we can work on fine tuning and cropping your photographs, and getting your order ready. At this point we’ll send you a Preview of your case, and you can go ahead and approve it so that we can make it up for you. We do charge a modest fee for this service, but it can save you time and aggravation.

    After your custom phone case arrives in the mail, you’ll be proud to get rid of your tacky old cracked phone case, and snap on your fabulous new phone case. Soon you’ll be impressing your friends and family with your custom, unique, and original phone case, and only you will know how little you really spent!