10 simple smartphone tips.


Byline: Dan Gould


For the past 40 years I've carried my Nikon SLR or a quality point-and-shoot wherever I went. That's what photographers do. That changed three years ago when I picked up my first iPhone. Since then I rarely carry my prized Canon G11 compact camera, choosing convenience over ultimate quality for everyday snapshots.

I still break out the big guns for publication or an important shoot, but as so many others have realized, a smartphone will often do the trick. As any photographer knows, it's what you do with the camera that counts. That said, I compiled a top-10 list of camera tips, with an emphasis on smartphones.

Clean the lens: iPhones, Galaxy, Droid, Lumia, etc., all live in a dirty world, at the bottom of pockets and messenger bags sharing space with their arch enemies, lint and dust. Considering that the lens is only a few millimeters wide, it doesn't take more than a crumb or a fingerprint to blur your photo. Cleaning the lens is a big deal. A soft microfiber cloth is recommended but an eyeglasses cleaning cloth or even a soft piece of clothing will do in a pinch. A gentle breath to lightly moisten the lens before a wipe can be helpful. Never use tissue or toilet paper, which are derived from wood products and will scratch the lens.

Zoom with your feet: Get as close to your subject as possible. Fill the frame. If you're taking a portrait there is no reason to have the subject's legs in the photo. You may not even want their arms. Avoid the digital zoom feature, unless you enjoy fuzzy, pixelated photos.

Never stab: On-screen shutter buttons on touch screen phones are counterproductive. Tapping the screen causes the camera to shake and results in blurry photos. If you must use the touch screen button, touch it ever so gently with a thumb or finger. Better yet, use the volume button on the side of the camera and squeeze. Reserve your tap and stab skills for texting or games.

Brace yourself: Holding your arms straight out is a recipe for disaster. Be steady, bring your elbows tight to your torso. Breathe slowly and shoot between breaths. Your photos will be sharper if your brace yourself against a wall, sit in a chair or rest the camera on a solid surface, like a table.

Tap dance: Before taking your prize winning photo, tap and momentarily hold the screen on the spot where you want to lock the focus and...

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