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Take better photos with your Android phone

If you've got a Galaxy S4, HTC One, Xperia Z1 or any other flagship Android device then you've also got a very capable camera. In this tutorial we'll show you how to take better photos with your Android camera phone

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Phones aren’t just for making calls and sending texts anymore, they also serve as a handy compact camera for taking photos. As you always have your phone to hand, you never have to miss a photo opportunity, which is part of the reason why cameraphone photography has become so popular.

The improved quality of smartphone images has also helped, with many new phone featuring bigger and better image sensors than ever before. Being able to edit and share your shots straight away using the thousands of apps available also opens up even more opportunities for getting the most out of your shots. There are a few easy tricks that you can use to take perfect photos with your phone, so follow our simple step-by-step guide and get snapping.


  1. Frame the shot

    First off, think carefully about how you are going to frame the shot. The secret to a great photo is often a great composition, so find the best angle to shoot from for the best results. Look for lead-in lines, such as pathways and fences, that will guide the viewer’s eye through the frame and pick a strong focal point with a simple background instead of capturing a cluttered scene. As your phone is small and light, make the most of being able to manoeuvre it into unusual positions to capture really unique shots.


  2. Use your gridlines

    Another way to help you compose your shot is to switch on your cameraphone’s gridlines option. A nine section grid will appear across the frame to help you keep your shot straight and also help you to make use of the rule of thirds. This involves positioning your horizon along one of the horizontal lines of the grid and your main focal point along one of the intersecting points for a balanced and pleasing composition.


  3. Zoom with your feet

    Smartphone cameras do not have an optical zoom, just a digital one. Using digital zoom can reduce the quality of your photo as it is simply zooming in to the image on your sensor rather than moving the lens closer. The best way to zoom when using a cameraphone is with your feet. If you can, move closer to your subject and frame the shot from there. If you can’t get close enough, then take the shot and zoom in later by cropping in to it using an editing app.


  4. Use the flash

    You also need to think about the lighting for your shot. Bright sunlight can cause harsh shadows to appear in your photos, so consider moving your subject into the shade if you can. If you are shooing in low light or if your subject is backlit and therefore in shadow, you could use your phone’s flash. The light from your flash can sometimes be a little harsh and unflattering, so you could tape a small piece of tracing paper in front of it to soften the effect.


  5. Keep it steady

    Blurry shots are common problem with smartphone photography, particularly when shooting in low light. Try to keep your phone as steady as possible when taking photos by holding it with both hands and keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides or resting them on a sturdy surface. You could also secure your phone to a small cameraphone tripod to reduce camera shake.


  6. Add a lens

    There are hundreds of accessories that you can buy to help improve your cameraphone photos. One of the most useful is a clip-on lens. There are several varieties available, including macro lenses for taking extreme close ups, telephoto lenses for capturing distant details and fish eye lenses for shooting extreme wide-angle images.


  7. Focus the shot

    Before you take your photo, make sure you focus it first. This is incredibly easy to do with a smartphone, as you just have to tap the screen. Make sure you tap the most important part of your photo, such as your portrait subject’s eyes, to keep them really sharp. This will also tell your cameraphone which part of your shot to set the exposure for, ensuring your main subject appears bright and clear in your photo.

For more great photography and editing tips and tricks every month, check out Photography For Beginners magazine and visit PhotoForBeginners.com for news, reviews, handy tutorials and more.

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