Learning how to take better photos with your smartphone? This is now as important as learning how to cook. The phone is now an extension of our limbs and taking pictures with it has become a moral obligation of us users. So with all the buzz surrounding the smartphone and its camera, it’s time to go over some tips to ensure you’re maximizing the potential of your hand held device.

1. Use your grid feature

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The rule of thirds is perhaps one of the most common tips when it comes to taking better photos with your smartphone. The grids enable you to keep the horizon straight, an essential aspect for great portraits. In addition, if the background features an iconic landmark, the grid lines can be used to ensure the image is well aligned. If you don’t have the feature built in, try this. Break up your frame into nine squares of equal sizes. Next, align the subject of your image along these intersections and lines. This ensures a well balanced image, as opposed to an image with the subject simply at the dead center.

2. Crop, don’t zoom

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Zooming in on images may be the best and quickest way to focus on the subject. However, you might end up sacrificing on the resolution of the photo. It lowers the pixel info and loses the finer details of the image. A much better alternative would be to crop it. This removes the excessive background, while maintaining the clarity of the image. Furthermore, if its possible, always get as close as possible to the object. By reducing the distance, it would also make it easier to control the color balance in the background, while enabling you to take better photos with your smartphone.

3. Try the manual mode

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Most images taken from your mobiles are probably using the camera’s automatic setting. While there is nothing wrong with this, capturing images with the manual mode puts you fully in charge of the image. This comes in handy when it’s time to adjust the image exposure setting. This ultimately decides how light or dark the image may appear. The exposure setting usually comes with the +/- symbol. If the image appears too dark, simply increase the exposure above the zero mark, and vice versa.

4. Clean your lens

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Fingerprints. This is the biggest culprit when it comes to having a dirty smartphone lens. And dirty smartphone lens leads to a 30% loss of image quality. The lens in your handheld device also gets dirty when its kept in your pocket all day. Therefore, make it a habit to wipe the lens with a microfiber cloth, or a clean tissue. You’ll thank us for the image clarity when you edit the final details, allowing you to take better photos with your smartphone.

5. Study your camera’s features

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This seems like a no brainer. Most users simply splurge on the best marketed phone and fall for their attractive taglines. Features like ‘wide angle, dual angle, portrait mode and burst mode’ certainly has its benefits. But the question remains, do you know how to maximize those features? Most users probably don’t know where to begin. Therefore, take some time to experiment with your mobile. Head out, take a couple of photographs, edit them, try different filters. Before you know it, you’ll start to take better photos with your smartphone!

If you’re interested to elevate your photography skills, check out our 5 tips for food photography and 8 close up photography hacks. Alternatively, visit our wildlife image series for more animal inspiration!