Here are our 10 top tips for taking better cameraphone pictures:
1. Light = Fantastic
Photography is all about light. To take a good picture you need enough light to illuminate your subject in an appealing way - and this is doubly important with a cameraphone, because its smaller lens captures less of the light that's available. Shoot outdoors whenever you can, don't be afraid to use the flash to add extra 'fill-in' light, and if you have to shoot pictures indoors, use flash or try turning on a light to help.
2. Stay steady
Because it needs more light than a specialist camera, your phone has a slower shutter speed (the shutter stays open for longer to let more light in). This means your picture is more likely to be blurred by small, subconscious movements that our hands make all the time. Try steadying yourself on a wall, tree, table or doorframe; and practise holding your breath at the moment you press the shutter in order to minimise movement further (sounds extreme but it works).
3. Be ready for shutter lag
Like all digital cameras there's a slight delay between you pressing the button on your phone and the picture actually being taken. The solution? Practise. You'll quickly get used to anticipating when to press the button to capture the moment you're aiming for. If you need to capture fast-moving subjects then try using the multi-picture or burst mode if your phone has it.
4. Get close
Photography is all about light. Legendary war photographer Robert Capa once said: "if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough." Get as close as possible (without being rude) and make sure that your subject fills the screen
before you shoot. If you're shooting landscapes, it helps if you have a large central object to centre the image around. Also, think about the subject(s) you really want in the frame, and leave everything else out.
5. Clean the lens
It's obvious when you think about it. Your phone sits in your pocket or bag all day, tumbling around with all manner of things that can smudge the camera lens. It's hardly surprising that it doesn't always come out with the clearest images. Take a second to wipe the lens (with a glasses cloth if you have one, a clean bit of T-shirt if you don't) and you could find it makes the world of difference.
6. Explore the settings
It won't have as many fancy settings as a professional camera, but your phone still has plenty of useful stuff to improve your pictures. Night mode is a must if you're in any kind of low-light conditions. Other modes can help you focus more effectively on objects closer or further away. If you're feeling more adventurous, try experimenting with ISO settings, if you have them. These change the way that your camera reacts to light - the higher the ISO number, the more sensitive the camera becomes to light (but the compromise is 'grainier' images). Play around and you'll soon find out what works best in different situations.
7. Never trust a digital zoom
Unless your phone has an optical zoom (and most don't), stay away from the zoom button. Digital zoom effectively means that the sensor 'crops' into a smaller portion of the same image, which results in lower image quality. It's a lose-lose situation.
8. Don't be a stereotype - use the timer
Holding your phone at arm's length to take a snap of you and your mates is never a way to get a great picture. If you want to take a nice photo with yourself in it then use the timer - use either a tripod to support the cameraphone or lean the phone against a solid object to get a steady shot.
9. Make sure you're shooting high res
Your phone probably gives you a few different options for the resolution of your photographs (it's offering to keep your file sizes down so that your pictures are easier to email). In the age of 3G, and with plenty of storage on most handsets, there's really no reason to shoot at anything less than the highest resolution. If you want to make pictures smaller, it's better to do that later, you will get higher image quality by downsizing your images afterwards using simple imaging software on a computer.
10. Keep experimenting
The greatest thing about cameraphones (and digital cameras generally) is that you are free to shoot as many pictures as you want. Take advantage - and experiment. Try shooting scenes from different angles (stand on a chair or shoot from ground level), with different settings, and in different types of light (you can always delete any that don't work later). Blur is usually a bad thing in pictures but sometimes it can produce beautiful abstract images. Cameraphones are best at shooting things close up, but that's no reason not to snap a beautiful sunset. Try a few things and you could end up with something very special.