How to take better photos with Windows Phone

Be the master of your Windows Phone camera with our pro tips...
How to take better photos with Windows Phone

Become a master photographer

As a nation we’re pretty snap-happy when it comes to our smartphones. With phone cameras becoming more advanced and Instagram fans sharing everything from holiday pics to last night’s dinner it’s no surprise.

We now use our smartphones to take more pictures than we do with digital cameras, Ofcom research says... 60% of people use their smartphone most for taking a photo.

Take photos on your smartphone like a pro with our helpful hints…

Don’t be tempted by digital zoom

If you want to get closer to your subject – for a better framed shot of a flower, say – then it can be tempting to hit the digital zoom. This however is not the same as the optical zoom on a dedicated digital camera (and a few smartphones).

Optical zoom works by extending the lens out from the camera – put simply, the lens actually moves closer to the thing you’re trying to photograph. Digital zoom doesn’t move – after all, can you see a lens extending from your phone when you hit zoom? Probably not.

Digital zoom creates the effect of making the subject look closer on your screen by cropping the image and enlarging it. This leads to stretched pixels and lower image quality.

Achieve a professional look with the rule of thirds

Good composition can take your photography from scruffy to sophisticated in a few simple steps. It’s all about how the people and objects in your photos are arranged. The rule of thirds is a photography term that breaks up the frame into different boxes using a grid of horizontal and vertical lines. These lines act as guides showing you where your subject should be.

The idea is they should be to the left or right of the centre but not quite in the centre. You can bring rule of thirds photography to your phone with the framing grid in the Windows Camera app.

Use the volume button to take a picture

When taking a photo on your smartphone, pressing the screen is the natural way to release the shutter. But it’s worth tweaking your settings to use the volume rocker as the shutter button instead.

Why? When pressing directly onto the screen you’re likely to slightly knock your angle. Also with no actual button to push, it can be harder to be precise and your camera is likely to slip.

Some phones have the volume button automatically set as an alternative shutter. If not you should be able to set it up easily in the camera settings menu.

Learn the basics of manual camera settings

If you’re serious about photography it’s well worth experimenting with manual settings on your smartphone camera. Professional and amateur photographers adjust exposure, white balance and shutter speed to change the look and feel of their photos.

Exposure controls how much light is used to make a picture – meaning you can end up with a brighter or darker photograph. While ISO makes your camera more sensitive to light for better photos in dimly-lit rooms.

In the Microsoft Camera app you can experiment with manual settings on your Windows 10 phone. Tweak exposure and ISO to create an arty or professional look.

Capture perfcet photos with Microsoft Photos

You’re happy with how your photography has improved by introducing the rule of thirds and ditching the digital zoom. But often your photos can be ruined by small – and annoying – imperfections. Use the Microsoft Photos app to improve pictures like these.

Adjust brightness and contrast, tweak colours and crop images. Get rid of red-eye and other annoying things. See your edited photo side by side with the original to judge your changes.

The more you get into smartphone photography the more photos you will be taking. With your best shots all muddled up with your not-so-best shots it can be hard to keep everything organised. Use the Microsoft Photos app to organise your pictures.

It takes the legwork out of organising by automatically creating albums for you, which you can then edit to get the exact mix you want. Looking for a particular shot? Just search by album, folder or date.

As Photos works with One Drive – Microsoft’s online storage service – your photos are backed up. This means you can free valuable space on your phone.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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