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Taking photos with your smartphone camera is fun, and has SO many advantages. You have your phone with you most of the time so can snap a quick shot whenever you’re inspired. And, with easy editing apps you can upload to social media in an instant.

But how happy are you with the results? No matter how good they look, filters aren’t always the answer… Wouldn’t it be great to take awesome shots and be thrilled with how they look? #nofilterrequired

Christmas is a popular time of year for photos, so I’ve put together 6 great smartphone photography tips to help ensure you nail this year’s holiday snaps! Let’s make sure you don’t miss that rare extended family photo, the moment the kids open their presents, not to mention all the little details such as the tree or perfectly set Christmas dinner table.

Smartphone cameras are definitely limited in their creativity compared to DSLRs, but follow the tips below and you’ll be closer to achieving DSLR quality images than you thought possible!

Tip 1 – Be aware of lens distortion

First up, be aware that cameras have a wide-angle lens, meaning it will include a lot of the scene in the image. If you stand too far away from your subject, it may get lost in its surroundings. And if you are too close, the edges may be distorted. So if you’re taking photos of friends or family, make sure you leave space around them on the edges – otherwise, the person on the end may not be happy with how wide they look!

Some cameras have a zoom option, and the more recent iPhones have portrait mode, so consider using those as it may improve your image.

Tip 2 – Make sure your camera lens is clean

Ever wondered why your photos look a bit ‘foggy’? Most likely you haven’t cleaned your lens. It’s something we don’t tend to do with our phones like we do with cameras, but a simple polish will make sure your lens is clean so you can get the clearest (or cleanest) shot possible. And you don’t need a fancy lens cloth – a quick wipe with your t-shirt or other soft fabric will do the trick.

Tip 3 – Find the best light

Good lighting is CRUCIAL for good smartphone photography, as phone cameras can’t handle poor light like DSLRs. But by following these guidelines you’ll get great results with your phone:

Whenever possible use natural light. And if indoors try to get close to a window. Basically, you want to avoid indoor lighting being your main or only light source – it’s rarely flattering.

If you’re shooting portraits outside, avoid putting people in direct sun. Instead, put them in open shade (out of the sun but facing the direction of the sun or open sky). This is the most flattering light for portraits.

Tip 4 – Avoid using your camera flash whenever possible.

This tip goes hand in hand with the one above for good smartphone photography: Your camera flash is not very powerful and almost never flattering. If you need some extra light, keep the flash OFF and instead, try getting someone else to shine their phone light on the subject from beside your camera (a great trick for late-night party photos, or if you want to take a food photo in a dark restaurant!).

Tip 5 – Use your self- timer

Using your self-timer is great for selfies and group selfies as it will give you time to compose and pose yourself. It also stops motion blur from pressing the shutter, particularly if you’re shooting in low light.

And there is the added benefit that you don’t have to be holding your camera – by leaning your phone against something or using a smartphone tripod, you can stand at a distance from your camera for much better group photos, and no one has to miss out on being in the picture!

Tip 6 – Get your exposure right in the camera

One of the most common mistakes I see with smartphone photography is under- or overexposed images. And it’s one of the most important elements of a good photo that takes just a few extra seconds to get right.

Once you’ve got your image composed, tap your finger on the screen so a yellow box appears, and then use the slider alongside the box to either lighten or darken the image. If you’re unsure what a correct exposure looks like, for now just try to match what you see on your phone with what you see with your eyes in real life.

So there you go – six top tips to help you take better photos this Christmas season!

If you want to take a deeper dive into smartphone photography, sign up to my newsletter via the website so you’ll be the first to hear about my next SmartPhone Photography Workshop (and others) which I’ll be holding in 2020.

You can also connect with me online on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. And check out my other blogs on the website www.fimimsphotography.com.au.

Happy snapping, and I hope you get some awesome Christmas snaps!

A professional brand photographer for over 10 years, Fi Mims is one of Australia’s best. Renowned for capturing essence, value and story in single shots – this is an artform that has her sought after by Speakers, Thought Leaders and Business People alike.