How to Capture the Perfect Holiday Photo with Your Phone!

The holidays are here and families have traded posing in front of the traditional Polaroid(r) or disposable cameras for squeezing everyone in the lens of a camera phone. Of course, taking a photo with your phone isn’t the same as using a professional camera[DSLR], but with a few adjustments to your camera features, you can have a high quality alternative at your fingertips!

These five simple steps can help you create traditional-looking holiday portraits right from your phone by simply changing a few settings and applying some awesome creativity-boosting apps:

Step 1: Use your “Rule of Thirds” Grid. Think about your composition before you take the picture. One of the easiest and best ways to improve the quality of phone pics is to turn on the camera’s gridlines. Placing your subject directly along the gridlines or within the intersections will create a more balanced and leveled photo.

Step 2: Avoid Using Zoom. Don’t be deceived by the digital zoom feature on your phone. Avoid it at all costs. Digital zooming enlarges the image rather than enlarging the subject of the photo, and it can cause pixelation. For a larger image, move closer to your subject or crop it.

Step 3: Use Natural Light. Lighting is one of the most important things to consider when taking photos. Since phones don’t produce quality images in low-light conditions, use the flash feature to lighten up shadows, help with harsh backlighting and avoid dark, blurry and busy images. For maximum effectiveness, use the light from another phone or tablet. Simply open a blank webpage or other white screen, turn the brightness up and voilá! A miniature soft box!

Step 4: Keep it Steady. If possible, stabilize your phone with a stand or tripod (Joby’s GorillaPod or the Gekkopod) or at least prop yourself against a wall. The stability will reduce blurriness from camera-shake and force the camera to capture as much light as possible. For optimal results, use both hands.

Step 5: Post-Processing. Arguably, applying a few cool filters to a photo can enhance the image tremendously, but don’t overdo it. A subtle approach leads to a more natural result. There are more than a million apps that do a great job of enhancing photos. One popular one in particular is Instagram. Others include Snapseed, Photo Lab and Prisma.

Advanced users, the Adobe Lightroom app let’s you fix exposure problems, white balance, and more!

Even for the novice photographer, these tips can prove effective. But when applied by skilled, talented and capable hands, these tips can help maximize the image quality of your camera phone and create some stunning images that are unmistakably professional.