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Posted in Family and Friends, Your Family | April 2015

Say cheese!

family photo
Now that most smartphones are equipped with pretty decent digital cameras, people are taking more and more photos with their phones instead of actual cameras. While the camera quality in smartphones has improved dramatically, there are still some clever ways to make sure that you’re snapping the best possible pictures.

  1. Focus. It seems obvious, but do make sure that you have a look at the screen before you snap your shot to make sure that whatever it is you want to be in focus actually is. You may have to step back or readjust your position. You can also touch the screen of your smartphone to get it to focus in on the part of the scene you want crisp and clear.
  2. Don’t zoom. Digital zooms just don’t give you a nice quality picture. It’s better to physically move in as close as you can to your subject rather than zoom in and risk a blurry, grainy shot.
  3. Use the back camera, not the front camera. If you’re taking a selfie, chances are you’re using the front camera (the one that allows you to take a picture while still looking at your smartphone’s screen). But the front camera generally isn’t as good as the back camera, according to, so either get someone else to take a picture of you for you, or practice taking selfies “blind” with the back camera. You’ll get better quality, more detailed photos if you do.
  4. Edit, don’t filter. recommends that instead of putting a standard filter on your photos after you’ve snapped them (like the kind available in Instagram and other photo sharing sites), edit them instead using an app like SnapSeed, Photoshop Express, or iPhoto. This allows you to choose your own style instead of being limited to a few of pre-determined filters. With the most current iPhone IOS you can actually edit in the phone app that comes with the IOS.
  5. Try to avoid the flash. Smartphone cameras have improved dramatically, but the flash function is one that is best left unused unless you just want to capture a moment and don’t particularly care how washed out and unnatural your subject matter may turn out. Try to use a natural light source instead. It’s difficult to get a clear shot in low light, particularly if your subject has trouble staying still, but the photo quality will be nicer if you succeed. And you won’t end up having to try to remedy red demon eyes either!
  6. Clean up your act. We tend to stuff our smartphones in purses, pockets and bags, so the camera lenses may be dusty, dirty and smeared. Take care to wipe the lens with a soft cloth before using, and deep clean it using lens-cleaning solution every now and then.
  7. Avoid lens flare. Smartphone cameras tend to be prone to lens flares—bursts of light that can almost completely ruin an otherwise lovely shot by washing it out and obliterating detail. Move the camera around to make sure the sun or other bright light source isn’t ruining your shot, or cup your hand over your phone to make lens hood. This might help reduce some of the lens flare.
  8. Brace yourself. A steady hand can make all the difference when you’re using your smartphone camera. Whenever possible use both hands to hold your phone and use your thumb to touch the capture button. That will allow you to keep both hands firmly on the phone. Also, tuck your arms into your body to keep yourself as steady and stable as possible.
  9. Don’t forget the rules. Just because you’re shooting with a smartphone doesn’t mean you should forget all the classic rules of good photography. Brush up by visiting
  10. Make prints. We’re so used to having all our photos in digital format that we often forget that you can still print them out. When you get that perfect, shareable shot, why not make a print or two and share them the old-fashioned way.

Now that you’re all set to take some great smartphone photographs, it’s time to think about what to do all those fabulous shots! Check out this short video from the Today Show for some great organizational tip and sharing hints, or visit for clever ways to use and display your cherished photographs.

412310C CAN/US (04/15)


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