Take Better Smart Phone Photos

Just because your smart phone has a great camera doesn't mean you can expect every last picture to come out perfect. Learn how to take better smart phone photos with help from an expert in this free video clip.

Video Transcript

I'm Emily Davenport and this is Tech Know. Today, we’re going to show you how to take your picture-taking skills to the next level. Time waits for no man, and the same goes for good photos. You have to be fast on the draw to capture that magic moment. If the phone allows it, put your camera app in your most frequently accessed screen, That way you won’t miss that just-right moment looking through your phone for your photo app. Smart phones don’t perform well in low-light conditions, so shoot with the light, not against it. The light source should be behind you and falling on the subject so that the subject is well lit. A Quick tip if you want to get creative, do the opposite: Shoot against the light to create a silhouette. Place the subject between the light source and the camera. Just remember, too much light can be as bad as too little light. A smart phone flash can be harsh. So take two pictures: one with and one without the flash. Fill flash can remove shadows from the face, like those from wearing a baseball cap. This isn’t a separate flash setting, just another use for the flash, and is one reason to use the flash even in broad daylight. Even with a capable smart phone, external conditions can cause some common problems, such as blurry or jittery photos and videos. The culprit could be camera shake. You might even find it worthwhile to invest in a monopod or tripod or, just tuck your elbows in your sides for stability. Resist the temptation to zoom in on the subject. Most smart phones use digital zoom, which is like stretching a photograph. You’ll end up with an indistinct, grainy picture. If you want a close-up, walk closer to the subject. For the best picture, leave the Focus setting on Auto, but do let the lens focus for a second or two before clicking. What you see is really what you get, so frame your shot right. Vary your vantage point. Move around and look for the telling angle. Tilt the camera. You can even lie down if the picture demands it. Your moment is captured, your memory made. But if the photo is flawed, what can you do? Sync your phone to the computer and use a photo editing tool. You can tweak color levels or go black and white. Hipstamatic and Instagram on the iPhone and FxCamera or Vignette on the Android are just a few of the available photo-editing apps you can use to emulate a lot of camera effects and lenses. You can apply various special-effect filters and even give your photos an old-fashioned Polaroid-type look. Take advantage of these and other touch-up tools and you’ll be on your way to becoming a master at smart phone photography.

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