Take better photos with your phone

Consumer Reports gives some practical tips to maximize the camera you take everywhere

ST. LOUIS – If you’re like a lot of people, you take more pictures than ever before, but not with a traditional camera. You’re probably using your smartphone, and those built-in cameras, lenses, and editing tools are more sophisticated than ever.

But like a lot of things in life, the latest and greatest features aren’t that great if you don’t know how to use them properly. That’s where Consumer Reports comes in with some handy tips for maximizing the camera you take anywhere.

Portrait mode is a popular feature offered on many phones. What is he really doing? It uses the bokeh effect to blur the background, which really makes your subject stand out. To use it, tap the word “portrait” under the viewfinder, then tap your subject so the camera knows what to focus on. Some phones even allow you to add this effect after you took the photo.

Another cool feature is Night Mode, which keeps your camera’s shutter open longer to let in more light. But you will need a steady hand for the best results. To keep the camera still while the shutter is open, try locking your elbows by your side. Or better yet, use a tripod.

Another tip from CR is to avoid pinching your screen to zoom and instead use your camera’s optical zoom if you have it. This is the telephoto lens labeled as 2x or 3x on your screen. If you don’t have it, get closer to the action or take a larger photo and crop the photo later so you don’t lose resolution.

And if you’re in the market for a new phone, the good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality camera. There are top rated expensive models, like the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max for $ 1,100 ($ 1,550 in Canada) and the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G for $ 1,300 ($ 1,820 in Canada). But there are also more budget models with cameras that have performed well in CR ratings. The Apple iPhone XR for $ 500 (Canada $ 700) and the OnePlus 8 for $ 450 (Canada $ 700) are good options.

Taking good selfies can be difficult. It’s hard to hold your phone up to get a good angle and press the button at the same time. But CR says there’s an easier way: activate the shutter remotely, with your smartwatch, for example. Or most phones have a timer that gives you 3 or 10 seconds before the photo is taken for you, so you can focus on a pose instead of pressing the shutter button.

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