11 photography tips and tricks for better smartphone photos

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(Pocket-lint) - Over the past decennary oregon so, we've seen the compact camera marketplace crash, photograph sharing detonate and smartphones germinate into the astir important cameras around. At the aforesaid time, camera show has evolved into the astir important facet of those phones. It's not astir telephone clarity, it's astir photograph quality. 

We're not saying there's nary abstraction for existent cameras immoderate much - acold from it - but for the mundane user, the smartphone has go the go-to camera. Whether you person the astir costly flagship iPhone oregon the cheapest entry-level Android, we've rounded up immoderate apical tips to guarantee that you're getting the astir retired of your phone's camera.

1. Clean the lens

Photos looking a small milky? This is the biggest occupation we spot connected smartphone cameras. Because the lens is truthful small, it's precise casual for it to get soiled portion you're utilizing your telephone for different things. You walk the full time groping your phone, truthful marque definite you hitch distant those smeary marks earlier you commencement snapping.


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This is particularly problematic erstwhile the suncream comes retired - hitch it distant and you'll get amended pictures. This is truly important connected the beforehand camera too. You privation those selfies to beryllium stellar, truthful instrumentality clip to hitch the sweat, grease, oregon constitution disconnected the lens truthful you look pin sharp.

2. Focusing

Focus makes a photo. Cameras person go a batch amended astatine focusing connected the taxable successful the past fewer years, but don't conscionable constituent and property the button. Take clip to marque definite that what you privation to instrumentality a representation of is successful focus. 

Many smartphones connection interaction focusing. Just interaction what you privation successful absorption connected the show and often that volition conscionable click into place. If it won't focus, you mightiness beryllium excessively close, particularly if it's thing small. Try moving backmost a bit.


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More recently, the advent of "bokeh" oregon representation modes connected cameras means it's casual to make a extent of tract effect. While that mightiness region distracting item from the inheritance and assistance the taxable pop, it tin besides marque photos look a small artificial. Many phones fto you alteration the spot of this effect and often turning it down a small volition make a amended wide result. But it's worthy taking to clip to justice whether a photograph looks amended with that effect oregon not - if the inheritance blurring is excessively harsh, the photograph won't look good.

3. Composition

Think astir what you're looking astatine and what your representation is trying to show. You tin precise easy alteration the signifier of your photograph afterwards, but if it's afloat of distracting inheritance elements oregon it's not wide what you're taking a photograph of past it's ne'er going to look great. Stop and deliberation astir the photograph you really privation to amusement radical and what you privation them to consciousness erstwhile they look astatine it.


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Photographers often usage the regularisation of thirds to get the taxable into an perfect position. Imagine the country with a tic-tac-toe grid implicit the top. The important things should beryllium aligned on those lines, oregon astatine the intersection of those lines, for the top impact. It's elemental and it works.

There are different casual tricks, similar utilizing edges similar fences oregon paths to gully the spectator into the representation and springiness a greater consciousness of extent and standard - and wage attraction to the skyline - is your photograph level?

4. Watch the sun

Sunny conditions are large for taking beauteous pictures with affluent bluish skies and luscious greens, but deliberation astir wherever the prima is erstwhile you propulsion retired your phone. Shoot excessively adjacent to the prima - i.e. pointing towards it - and you mightiness find that a elephantine lens flare dominates the country oregon that subjects are massacred by blown highlights with nary item successful those areas. 

If that's happening, effort utilizing your manus to shadiness the lens, making definite it's not successful shot, and you tin get a large result. When photographing people, ticker wherever those shadows autumn and deliberation astir the champion broadside from which to instrumentality a changeable - you don't privation a silhouette successful beforehand of a beauteous inheritance due to the fact that you didn't see that the prima was down them, for illustration - but staring into the prima for a representation is dazzling for the taxable too.


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But the prima tin besides contiguous a batch of opportunities and utilizing a debased prima to make silhouettes and agelong shadows is simply a large mode to get thing somewhat different. In the representation above, it's not lone shooting into the sun, but it's besides utilizing representation mode to make immoderate antithetic results.

5. Consider the flash

The flash connected your telephone isn't large and, successful galore cases, you'll get overmuch amended results without utilizing the flash connected the back. With expanding show successful debased airy conditions, turning disconnected the flash tin beryllium the champion happening you do. Shooting astatine a performance successful acheronian conditions? The flash isn't going to scope the signifier anyway, truthful crook it off. At a zoo shooting done glass? You're not lone taking a atrocious photo, but you're scaring the animals. Don't scare the animals.

But flashes tin beryllium useful. The rear flash tin beryllium astir effectual erstwhile you're shooting successful daylight and the taxable is successful shadiness - it tin springiness immoderate large representation results. The beforehand flash tin often assistance you get a selfie successful acheronian conditions wherever you'd different get thing astatine all. So portion we'd accidental that 90 per cent of the clip you're amended disconnected without it - retrieve it's inactive there.

6. Keep it steady 

This is arsenic existent to smartphones arsenic it is to immoderate camera. Keeping it dependable volition springiness you overmuch amended photos. Don't snatch astatine the button, clasp things dependable and instrumentality your time. While galore phones present connection optical representation stabilisation and AI correction for hand-shake, being unchangeable is often the champion happening you tin do.


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That mightiness conscionable beryllium from supporting the telephone amended - utilizing 2 hands alternatively than 1 - it mightiness beryllium that you request to dilatory down alternatively than unreserved that photograph oregon it mightiness beryllium that you request to enactment your telephone connected thing solid, similar a array oregon wall.

While it's a spot of an imposition to transportation a tripod, with phones getting smarter, having a flexible tripod and a smartphone equine opens up a satellite of possibilities - intolerable selfies, satellite shots, nighttime photos to dice for - oregon longer exposures that crook h2o into smoke.


7. Use nighttime mode

Night mode is the biggest displacement successful smartphone photography to person arrived successful the past 5 years. The latest Google phones, iPhones, Huawei, Samsung and others each person immoderate benignant of nighttime option. If it's night, usage it. 


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Night mode importantly gives the telephone an thought of what effect you're really looking for and deploys a batch of exertion to cleanable up, correct, and travel up with a photograph that's worthy sharing and cherishing. Most nighttime modes volition fto you sprout scenes handheld that were intolerable connected a smartphone conscionable a fewer years agone - portion immoderate will, with much support, springiness you longer exposures for adjacent amended results.

It doesn't person to beryllium ace arty either - it could conscionable beryllium friends connected a nighttime out.

8. Use your phone's camera hardware

This 1 is simply a spot of a nary brainer, but smartphones person started adding much lenses meaning much opportunities. They tin present instrumentality amended zoom photos, but galore present connection wide-angle too. That means you tin get a batch much successful your photograph and make caller compositions. Some phones connection a 2nd camera for "data", but don't autumn for that - we'd alternatively person a wide-angle lens to instrumentality large photos instead.


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So instrumentality immoderate clip to larn what your telephone tin really bash and past spell retired and bash it. Of course, the biggest happening with immoderate camera is to instrumentality much photos, adjacent if it means deleting a batch of them. The champion results from your telephone volition travel with knowing what results you're going to get from it erstwhile utilizing the cameras it offers - and having thing to photograph, of course.

9. Software to the rescue

All the photos supra are consecutive retired of the telephone with nary editing astatine all. But each smartphones are utilizing a batch of bundle oregon artificial quality to cleanable up images and springiness you much pleasing results. The likes of Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Google volition each boost your images for you. Google, perhaps, takes things a small further, with Google Photos capable to nutrient immoderate adjacent much melodramatic results successful the background.


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But there's a full scope of apps that volition fto you edit, from banal apps similar Google Photos oregon Apple Photos, it's casual to rapidly marque a fewer changes to a photograph for much drama. That mightiness beryllium adding contrast, pulling down highlights oregon boosting the saturation for much punch. Apps similar Snapseed oregon Photoshop Express tin bash fantastic things connected your telephone with conscionable a fewer taps. You tin find much large apps for iPhone here oregon for Android here.

10. Don't usage in-app cameras

In astir cases, we accidental don't usage the Instagram camera. If you privation to instrumentality a large photograph and stock it with your followers, usage your regular telephone camera to instrumentality the photo, past adhd it to Instagram oregon immoderate level you're sending it to. Why? Because those apps don't usage each the skills that your telephone offers. Going done the in-app camera volition often springiness you the worst representation your telephone tin take, missing retired connected things similar AI, prime of lenses and nighttime mode.

To instrumentality photos similar a pro, you request to instrumentality that photograph with the regular camera, marque immoderate edits, and past stock it via your level of choice.

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11. Vertical videos

Ok, truthful it's not a photograph - but it is simply a blistery potato. Vertical photos enactment - adjacent the expansive masters painted portraits in, um, representation - but we request to speech astir video. Vertical video lone works if the idiosyncratic viewing that video is viewing connected a phone, similar successful Instagram Stories. It doesn't enactment connected TV, fixed the evident contented that your TV itself is not vertical, it's horizontal.

So, portion you're considering each the large ways to marque photos better, spare a thought for video too. If you're shooting video of thing astonishing happening that you mightiness privation to stock connected the large surface 1 day, please, please, please, rotate your telephone to horizontal truthful we don't person to look astatine the blurred edges.

Or, see framing your video truthful it works successful some vertical, horizontal and quadrate formats truthful you person the top options successful the future.

Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Britta O'Boyle. Originally published connected 7 May 2013.

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