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Android tricks for fantastic photos

Android tricks for fantastic photos
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How many photos have you taken with just your smartphone? Just think about the countless photos you've taken of your friends, pets, objects and family members. What about those you've taken while traveling to exotic locations and your favorite nearby destinations?

When capturing these cherished memories, of course, you want to get the best shot possible, either for sharing online or saving on your own digital scrapbook. You don't have to be a professional photographer to get the most out of your smartphone's camera. Sometimes, a little bit of tweaking and know-how is all it takes.

Here are some quick and easy tricks for taking better photos with your Android.

Clean your lens

My first tip may sound simple but it could make the difference between a keeper or an image destined to be deleted. Before taking a shot, make sure your phone lens is clean!

Fingerprint smudges, specks of dust and lint can blur your phone's camera lens and ruin an otherwise perfect picture.

Make sure you wipe it down with a piece of cloth before taking a photo. To avoid scratches, the best way to clean a camera lens is with a microfiber cloth. If you're planning on doing extensive photo shoots with your Android smartphone, make sure you have at least one of these cleaning cloths handy.

Choose the best resolution

Next, to maximize your Android smartphone camera's capabilities, try setting the resolution to the highest possible. This ensures that your image will be as sharp as it can be. Maximizing your resolution also means you have more flexibility when it comes to editing the photo, like cropping or zooming, for example.

It's not the same for each Android phone, but to check your camera's resolution, open your camera app and look for its respective "Settings" section, it's usually under "Photo resolution" or "Photo Size."

Note that the higher the resolution, the bigger the photo's file size so plan accordingly. If you're running out of storage space and you don't mind grainy shots, take your resolution down a notch.

Frame your subject properly

Before you take that picture, there are a few composition techniques you can employ to improve your images dramatically.

One is the "Rule of Thirds." This technique breaks down the image into nine quadrants and according to this theory, the best location to put your subjects is along where these quadrants intersect. This creates a balanced, well-organized and more visually appealing photo.

To aid you in adhering to this "Rule of Thirds," you can turn on your camera's gridlines by digging into its settings and turning on "Show grid in viewfinder."

Set your focus point and exposure

With most of our everyday smartphone shots, we usually rely on the available lighting - natural daylight, indoor lighting inside the office, or a dim lampshade in our bedroom, for example. Inadequate lighting and improper focus can cause blurriness, over or under exposure and uneven shots.

One quick way to fix focus and exposure issues is to tap on your viewfinder/screen to select your area or subject of interest. Your camera settings will then automatically adjust its focus and exposure based on that area.

Another feature that can help you resolve exposure issues is High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR will take photos of different exposures in rapid succession then merges them to create an evenly exposed image.

To enable HDR on your Android phone, look for the HDR option under settings and toggle it on. Some Android phones will have the HDR option instantly accessible next to the Flash setting.

Bonus tip: Although your smartphone's flash can help you in extreme situations, avoid using it since it washes out your image most of the time.

Stabilize your shot

Another trick to achieve better results with your Android smartphone's camera is to stabilize your shot to avoid blur. The best method is to use a tripod but if that's not available, use two hands to operate your phone as much as possible. Also, try leaning on a wall to stabilize your shot even further.

You can also try extending your arms when taking the shot to add more stability. Remember, the less movement you do, the sharper your image will be.

Take multiple shots to choose from

To nail that perfect shot, take as many insurance shots as possible. Try taking shots of your subject in rapid succession and select the best one of the bunch after the fact.

If possible, do burst shots (by holding the shutter button) and sort the pictures out later.

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