This time of year is fantastic when it comes to photo opportunities. Whether it’s snow covered scenery, the hilarity of a dog in a Christmas jumper (or better still, antlers), the children sitting on Santa’s knee or an impressive spread of festive food, it seems like everywhere you turn you’ll be tempted to click and share on social media.
While some people will always insist you get a “proper” camera, many of us (who aren’t professional photographers or enthusiasts) are more than happy to stick to our trusty (and more importantly, handy) smartphones. In all honesty, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Many phones now have amazing quality cameras inbuilt, and you aren’t compromising too much on quality.
However, there are some tricks of the trade you ought to be aware of if you want to make sure your snaps don’t cause you disappointment once the frivolity is over.
#1 Keep it clean
It possibly seems like the most obvious piece of advice imaginable, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t think of it – keep your camera lens clean.
Can you even remember the last time you cleaned the lens? It’s so easy to forget, but you consider what your phone goes through on a daily basis, it’s probably a miracle you can see anything you are photographing in the first place!
# 2 Don’t zoom
If you are far away from the object you want to photograph it can be tempting to take advantage of your camera’s zone facility. That is, after all, what it is there for, to get you closer to the action. However, it’s not quite that simple.
When you zoom in your phone has to essentially guess what it is looking at, which means that the image can quickly become very distorted. You are much better off taking the picture as it is, and then cropping afterward or move closer to your subject.
#3 Use touch-to-capture for selfies
Picture the scene. It’s you, and your bestie, at *the* Christmas party of the season. You are perfectly poised, angles all worked out, pout prominent and camera ready. Then you drop the phone.
It’s happened to the best of us.
When you enable touch-to-capture you will be able to capture your classic selfie by touching any part of the screen, rather than simply that small button in the centre.
#4 Avoid the flash
No, we’re not talking about superhero The Flash here, but more that disturbingly bright light on your phone. To be honest, it doesn’t matter what camera you have, flashes should always be avoided if possible. If you want natural photos then you are going to want to use natural light, although, admittedly, this isn’t always possible.
Given that the LED flash on your phone is likely to be located close to the lens it can give a terrible glaring effect. If you find that natural light isn’t quite good enough you can increase the exposure value and ISO on your camera, although, be warned, this can make pictures look grainy.
#5 The rule of thirds
Capturing a great photo is an art form, and one of the top tips for achieving this is to follow the rule of thirds. Simply put, our eyes naturally gravitate towards images that are divided in to thirds, where the subject of the image is slightly off centre.
This can be hard for the untrained eye to capture, which is where your phone comes in. Most smartphones will allow you to use a grid of two horizontal and two vertical lines. The subject of your photo should be at one of the four intersections of these lines to give you the most visually pleasing image.