Dramatically improve your smartphone photography by following the simple rules.

Everybody loves taking pictures, but very few budding enthusiasts focuses on how the photo will turn out. For some, snapping a photo and sharing it on various social networking sites is a norm and details of the photos are neglected. When, in fact, there are various ways you can take photos like a pro with your smartphone minus the bulk of a DSLR and the costs, of course.

Knowing the capability of your Android phone camera such as when to use the flash, where to focus, the effects and more– will raise your photography result and could give you a more satisfying and more accomplished work. So whether you are picturing a sunset by the beach, a red car on high flyover, or a frozen Niagara Falls you should take time before you press the click button.

Here are some useful tips on how to take photos using your smartphone.


One of the basic things you need to consider during photography is to hold your Smartphone steady. Try to have a good grip of your device when taking photos. Since smartphones are now touch screen, our hands often tremble when we touch the shutter button. Using a tripod mount or stand for your smartphone could help avoiding a blurred and shaky result.

Use the HDR mode.

Shooting still-photos? Use the HDR (high dynamic range) mode of your smartphone. The HDR mode properly expose the lighting and shadows of a subject. It takes longer to shoot photos using the HDR mode since it takes several different exposures then compressed it into one single well-exposed image. It is very important that your hands are steady or mount your smartphone on a tripod while shooting HDR photos. HDR mode works finely with motionless subjects– if your subject is moving they may appear blurred.


This picture was taken late afternoon at the Toronto Harbourfront centre. You could actually see and ‘feel’ the rough edges of the stone. The colour characteristics are clear, too. The leaves of the trees are blurry, that is because it was windy. As I’ve said HDR mode works best for capturing unmoving subject.

Save the flash for emergencies.

Use environmental lighting. Natural light is still the best way to illuminate your photos because you want your photos to look simply natural. Although the use of artificial lights can be quite beneficial in low-light environments, soft, natural light can make images appear more dramatic and well-balanced. But there are instances where the flash should be used. For example, if you are shooting people outdoors and the light is on their back or side– chances are their face will be dark or shadowy, this is the right time to use the flash. Avoiding the flash unless necessary will give you a much-better photography result.


These photos were taken simultaneously. I used flash with the image on the first picture, while no flash was used on the second. Although both images are not quite clear, the differences are obvious. The mascot’s detail looks clearer in the image without flash used. The mascot’s tongue looks more lively, you could read what is written on the armband, the eyes looked brighter and also the hat and the spikes are more colourful. I’m not a pro in photography as you can observe in the images above. But practice, learning the tricks, following professional photographers advise could lead me (even you) to that ultimate shot.

Do not zoom.

Digital zoom is a NO in smartphone photography. This is because the digital zoom actually enlarge and crop the picture before capturing it which means you will be missing out the details of your subject. Take zoomed-out photos then crop them manually at a later time if you want it to be closer up. But maybe you wanted to take a photo of something and the background details doesn’t matter, so you zoomed-in anyway. Just remember that digital zoom is actually cropping, so avoid it if possible. After all, you can always crop the image later which is actually the same as performing digital zoom.

Use Panorama.

I always use this to capture stunning landscapes, large events or gatherings, or even busy streets as smartphone cameras could literally replace a point-and-shoot camera. One of the coolest feature of today’s smartphones is the panorama. For some who aren’t used to it, a little practice could do the trick. Panorama is not just moving your phone from left to right. As I’ve said on top, your hands should be steady. Panoramic photos are best taken with enough light as the images could not be generated properly. It is not advisable to use indoors. Experiment taking panoramic photos of different sizes, eliminate the things you don’t want in the scene and stitch the best ones to form a single panoramic photo.


I took this photo during the weekend while I was roaming around downtown. It is obviously impossible to capture all those tall and wide buildings in one photo without the use of panorama. Trial and error could improve your smartphone photography. So, go ahead explore the capability of your smartphone camera and make the most out of it!

Got any ideas to improve smartphone photography? Share it with us. Your thoughts are most welcome.

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