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How To Take Better Smartphone Photos

The last few years have seen some dramatic improvements in the quality of smartphone cameras, including more megapixels, better lenses, and improved photo-editing tools. Unfortunately, many of the pictures that are taken with smartphone cameras still tend to be of inferior quality when compared to photos taken with traditional cameras.

Most of the time this has nothing to do with the equipment but instead can be attributed to poor photographic technique and a lack of familiarity with the various camera settings. Here are some suggestions that can help you get the most out of your smartphone camera:

Light your subject well

The number one reason for poor quality smartphone pictures is poor lighting. Even though smartphone cameras may have limited settings, we put extra strain on the equipment by shooting indoors or in poor light. Try to shoot your subject outdoors or turn up the lights and use flash. You can always edit out red-eye later.

Get close to your subject

One of the most common mistakes with smartphone photos is that the subject ends up being a tiny unrecognizable object in the distance. Fill up your view finder to save having to zoom in on the subject when you edit later (which can dramatically decrease image quality).

Keep still

As with all digital photography, the steadier your camera is when taking the shot, the clearer the image will be. This is especially important in low-light situations where the camera may select longer shutter speeds to compensate for the lack of light. Lean against a solid object or steady your smartphone with two hands. Keep in mind that many smartphone cameras suffer from ‘shutter lag,’ which means you have to hold the phone steady for a little longer before moving it away from the shot.

Use the camera settings

Most smartphones have a number of easy-to-use camera settings. Spend a few minutes to find out what they are and use them whenever the conditions are appropriate. Almost every smartphone camera will allow you to vary the resolution (go for the highest setting available), the shooting mode (single or multi-shot), the brightness settings, and also allow you to zoom in or out. Experiment with the various settings to see what produces the best images. Smartphone cameras are particularly good for experimenting with new angles and perspectives – up high, down low, close up, etc. You can shoot and delete at zero cost until you know what works best.

Learn how to transfer to the web

The easiest way to get your photos out of your smartphone is to send them to your phone service provider’s web site as soon as you have taken them. (For example, Verizon customers can use Verizon Cloud.) You can automatically sync your phone and access your photos from other Web-enabled devices.

Use editing software

While you may be able to perform a certain amount of editing and add effects right there on your smartphone, editing pictures on your computer can produce much better results. Free photo-editing software like Photoshop or Picasa can work wonders for your pics and can be a lot of fun to use. Make sure you take your shots in color and high resolution to keep your options open; you can always make a color picture black and white but you can’t make a black and white picture color!

Keep your lens clean

Smartphones spend a lot of time in bags and pockets, and are dropped and generally misused. Make sure the lens is clean and not scratched. Fingerprints are a common problem. Give the lens an occasional wipe with a soft cloth.

Use your cell phone camera wisely!

We all know about those embarrassing photos that end up on Facebook. Use your smartphone camera wisely. Respect other people’s privacy and ask permission before you take pictures of people and post them to the Web.

If you follow the above guidelines, you might find that your smartphone becomes your best friend all over again – and a worthy substitute at weddings and family gatherings when you forget to bring the Nikon!

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