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Camera phone: 3 tips for better photographs

Once you’ve gotten your head around our jargon buster, it’s time to start shooting – here are the three best ways to help turn your phone snaps into great pictures:

1.Touch to focus – use it if you’ve got it!

  • This will only be applicable if you’ve got a phone with touch to focus enabled such as the iPhone 4S, HTC Sensation or Samsung Galaxy Nexus
  • Tap your touchscreen and your camera will focus on exactly what you want it to
  • This is ideal for close-up objects which can otherwise be difficult to focus on

  • If you don’t have touch to focus, but have a two stage shutter button, half press to focus, then full press to take the picture. Give the camera a chance to focus to avoid blurry shots

2. Get correct brightness

  • Metering determines how bright to make the picture and most camera phones adopt something called centre weighted metering. This means, if you have dark content in the centre of your image, the camera will try and brighten the scene and vice versa
  • Try and make the centre of your shot something neutral to get an even level of brightness.
  • If your camera has a two stage shutter button, you can half press, this usually locks metering and focus. Once the metering is locked on something neutral, recompose your shot

3. Low-light shooting

  • Hold still: when shooting low light, the camera takes a slower shot, this gives it more time to grab detail. Any movement is therefore picked up, so if you keep getting blurry night shots – hold still

  • Get Support: If your hand just won’t hold still enough – get some support from a Spider Podium. Acting as a tripod for your mobile, it will give you the best opportunity to get a clear night time shot possible. Furthermore, set the timer to 2 seconds, and there will be no residual shake from pressing the camera button
  • Switch to night mode / low light mode. This bumps up the ISO grabbing more detail from your darker images
  • Flash: If your camera flash just isn’t firing, tap on the little lighting symbol and change it from auto to on. This will make sure it fires every time

Bonus: Getting a blurry background

  • We’ve included this as it’s one we’re asked about all the time
  • Not even top-end camera phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the iPhone 4S can compete with SLRs for this, however you can still get some pretty impressive background blur (also known as depth of field) in macro mode, provided your camera phone has auto-focus
  • Set the focus to macro (flower symbol), bring an item into the foreground and ensure that the background objects are far away enough to be blurry

This should leave you in a technically better position to get the shots you’re after. Where to go next? Check out some photography books, improve your compositions and practice – you’ve got a camera in your pocket, use it with confidence!