Mobile phone photography has come a long way since those first sub-1 megapixel cameras with a preview screen so small you were never sure if you’d taken a photo of a baby or a potato. Today the basic camera resolution for the standard smart phone model is around 8 megapixels and boasts a screen so big you can fit a photo of both a baby and a potato onto it.

So as you peel off your new phone’s plastic screen cover on Christmas morning, prepare to enter a world of filters, editing and instantly sharing pictures of your perfectly cooked turkey with the world.

Taking your first photo

Open the camera application and just go for it. Take as many photos as you can and familiarise yourself with the way it reacts, the way it frames shots and the way it reacts to light. Just take loads of photos. Practice does make perfect. Once you’ve taken several hundred shots you’ll probably have worked out a lot of the features, but may have stumbled across several questions.

We’ll try and answer the more frequently asked here:

What’s that HDR thing on the screen?

HDR stands for high dynamic range. When enabled it takes three shots of the same image in quick succession, then analyses and combines them to produce the best possible photo. Pretty great, right? Be careful with this feature, though, it will not make every photo better. If you try to capture a shot with a lot of movement for example, it will blur and distort because the subjects will have moved between the three photos. So pick your moments to use this setting carefully.

How do I focus the camera?

Your phone should autofocus on the most obvious subject in view, however, if you have trouble or want to get creative, you can tap on the screen at the point you want to focus and the camera will make that the subject. This will also affect the aperture, the amount of light the camera lets in, so play around with this feature to ensure the best results.

Portrait or landscape?

It depends on the subject of the shot, but conventional cameras were all set as standard to landscape for a reason: a greater field of vision and more angling choices. But at the end of the day it’s up to you! On a side note, always try to shoot videos in landscape mode as they transfer to other media better this way and are easier to watch back.

How do I edit and share?


Once you have taken a photo, select it in your photo album. Once you select your photo you will see the edit button on the screen. This will make the editing options appear. These range from a cropping tool to a red-eye remover, but vary amongst various products. Play around with these on a throwaway photo to familiarise yourself with them.


To share, tap the designated share button on the screen when you’ve selected the chosen image. On many models you will be asked to select several photos, but you can just choose one, if that’s all you want. When you proceed you will be given various options on how to share, via text, emails or across the various social media platforms. It’s up to you.

So go forth and snap away. The greatest thing about this generation of phone photography is that you can produce great images and share them with friends and family almost instantly. It can also be the worst thing though, particularly for cousin Violet who has just received the 700th picture of you in your new festive reindeer slippers. So use with caution to ensure a merry Christmas!