If you were a particularly good boy or girl, you may have received a new smartphone for the holidays. Many people select their smart device not on the basis of how it works as a phone, but on how it works as a camera.
Use these tips and tricks from Hubspot and generate Instagram envy among your friends and family.
1. Use gridlines to balance your shot.
One of the easiest and best ways to improve your mobile photos is to turn on the camera's gridlines. If you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced, level, and allow viewers to interact with it more naturally. To switch the grid on ...
iPhone: Go to "Settings," choose "Photos & Camera," and switch "Grid" on.
Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to "Settings," scroll down and switch the "grid lines" option to "on."
2. Set your camera's focus.
Today's phone cameras automatically focus on the foreground of your frame, but not every picture you take on your phone has an obvious subject. To adjust where you want your camera lens to focus, open your camera app and tap the screen where you want to sharpen the view.
If you're taking a photo of something in motion, for example, it can be difficult for your camera to follow this subject and refocus as needed. Tap the screen to correct your phone camera's focus just before snapping the picture to ensure the moving subject has as much focus as possible. A square or circular icon should then appear on your camera screen, shifting the focus of your shot to all of the content inside that icon.
3. Avoid zooming in.
When you take a photo from a distance, it's tempting to zoom in on something specific you're trying to capture. But it's actually better not to zoom in -- doing so can make the photo appear grainy, blurry, or pixelated. Instead, try to get closer to your subject -- unless it's a wild animal, in which case we would advise keeping your distance -- or take the photo from a default distance and crop it later on. That way, you won't compromise quality, and it's easier to play around or optimize a larger image.
4. Use natural light.
It's hard to find a great smartphone photo that was taken with a flash. Most of the time, they make a photo look overexposed, negatively altering colors and making human subjects look washed out. Take advantage of the sources of natural light you can find, even after dark. This gives you a chance to play with shadows or create a silhouette with other ambient sources of light, like traffic and surrounding buildings.
Remember, once you've taken your photo, you can use filters and apps to make the subject even more vivid, or to crop it to frame the subject correctly. The brightness, contrast, and saturation of the photo can also be adjusted accordingly -- all from your phone.