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Take better photos with your phone

Lumia Music 02/01/2015

Want to take smartphone photos that will dazzle your friends and family? Check out these top tips for getting the most out of your camera phone.

© Getty

Think about light

Shooting in the middle of a bright, sunny day can cause shadows on people’s faces: use ‘fill-in’ flash to reduce them, or find an area of well-lit shadow and position your subject there. Alternatively, try shooting your subject against the sun to create stunning silhouettes. And don’t forget to adjust the white balance to offset colour casts caused by artificial light sources.

Get close up

Almost any digital image will degrade in line with the amount of zoom you use to frame the shot. Far better to take a few steps closer to whatever it is you’re photographing, take the shot and crop it afterwards. That gives you the maximum amount of image quality and you can still frame the image the way you want. By getting closer to your subject, you might also capture details you’d otherwise miss.

Easy on the filters

The right filter can add instant appeal to almost any smartphone snap. But using one to cover up flaws in a photo isn’t just bad practice – it also limits what you can do with the photo in future. Instead try to make sure your shot is properly framed, lit, focused and exposed before you start playing around with it. In fact, you’ll find you have far more creative options if you take a decent shot to begin with.

© Microsoft

Go easy on the blur effect

Most smartphone cameras have wide-angle lenses and small sensors, which makes it difficult to create background blur and pick out your subject. Lots of editing apps allow you to add artificial blur to your images, however. But too much of it can make your photos look fake and unappealing. So before adding it to your shots, try to think about how colours and positioning could highlight the subject instead.

Think about the background

Pick one strong subject and avoid filling the background with distracting clutter. Make sure there aren’t any lampposts growing out of people’s heads too, or strangers in the background staring at the camera. And to create a more harmonious composition try to stick to the rule of thirds – imagine your frame split into a 3x3 grid, and place your subject where the lines intersect.

Shoot from different angles

You can make your photos more interesting by varying the angle you shoot from. Get down low to snap pets or toddlers and you’ll avoid that ‘bird’s-eye view’ feeling that occurs when you shoot down onto smaller subjects. Shooting up at buildings and people from a crouching position will make them seem more imposing. And tilting your phone can create more dynamic and exciting action shots.

© Microsoft

Show depth

Some of the best smartphone photos draw in the viewer by creating a sense of depth. You can achieve this effect by including objects on multiple planes when composing your shot. For example, a shell in the foreground, a person in the middle ground and a boat on the horizon. Or a road that snakes from foreground to background with a car in the centre of the scene.

Keep still

Shooting photos one-handed can result in blurry images, as selfie fans will know. Avoid camera shake by resting your camera phone on or against a solid object before you click the capture button. Or try holding your camera phone with both hands and your elbows tucked against your sides. Also, don’t forget that shutter speeds are slower in low light, so don’t move until you’re sure you’ve got the shot.

Back up important shots

Remember to back up any important photos using tools such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, which also gives you lots of options for storing and sharing your favourite shots. In fact, this might well be the most important piece of advice we can give you. Because no matter how well framed or brilliantly lit your photos are, if you lose your phone or memory card before backing them up, your efforts will have been wasted.

Discover the new Lumia range including the 930 – boasting a 20MP PureView camera and Surround-Sound, it means you can capture high-quality photos and video wherever you are. Find out more…

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