OnQ Blog

8 tips for great summer photos with your smartphone

Jul 3, 2013

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

summer photo taking tips

With summer in full swing, vacations and road trips may be in your sun-filled horizon. And with a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processor in your smartphone or mobile device, the power to capture a beautiful memory is built right into your smartphone and mobile devices. Check out some tricks and tips to help you get the most out of the camera features on your Snapdragon powered smartphone.

Tip #1: No flash for fireworks

The Fourth of July can mean a ton of great fireworks shows that are stunning in person but look lackluster in photos later. To get some fiery shots, be sure you have a good location with a clear view of the show. If you can, get upwind of the fireworks so you don’t have smoke in your shots and in a spot where there isn’t a lot of ambient light. Also be sure to steady yourself as a shaking hand results in blurry images. Lastly, turn off your flash and effects and if you have the option, as one set of fireworks is going off, tap on your screen to lock in the exposure and focus for your shot and then take the photo on the next burst of fireworks.

Tip #2: Keep it clean

As you’re on the move this summer so is your smartphone. It’s easy to forget how often it ends up being tossed around, dropped and played with in the sand, grass and everywhere else the sun and wind take you. Taking a moment to dust off the lens can help your pictures turn out less blurry. You can also get a lens cleaning kit for less than $10 from any camera retailer.

Tip #3: Zoom with your feet, not your phone

When you’re saying safely behind the glass at the Zoo but the lions warrant a close up, there are apps that can improve your smartphone’s ability to zoom. Our mega-multi-tasking Snapdragon processors support using multiple apps at once so you can quickly pull up apps like Camera Zoom FX (available for Android) to zoom up to 6x, capture 10 shots per second and even use voice activation for a better picture taking experience.

Tip #4: Capture pictures using rapid fire shots

While you’re outside soaking up the summer rays, too much light can make or break the quality of your pictures. Try using the HDR (high-dynamic range imaging) setting that’s likely already built into your phone’s camera. A Snapdragon processor is designed to enhance HDR through faster image processing, which will quickly capture both bright and dark exposures, combining them for the perfect picture at sunset. Some HDR settings may work at a slower rate than others, so there are alternatives for quicker HDR processing. Try out the ProHDR app (for Android) or the Blink app (available for Windows Mobile).

Tip #5: Remember the Rule of Thirds

Try gaining a new perspective on your photos with the Rule of Thirds. Imagine a big hashtag being drawn on the scene, cutting it up into nine even boxes. Try to position the important parts of your image on one of the lines or in one of the boxes. To capture a day of surfing for example, align the lower line with the horizon of the water, and position your friend surfing a wave in the lower right corner. And if you miss the shot the first time, don’t worry, Snapdragon processors have a built-in Image Signal Processor (ISP) for a short lag-time shutter speeds, so you’ll catch him catching the next wave.

Tip #6: Tell (and share) A Great Story

Before you hop the next flight to paradise, don’t forget to download a few apps for editing and sharing your photos with friends. Our mega-multi-tasking Snapdragon processors support using multiple apps so you can use these apps without compromising your smartphone performance. A couple of our favorites include PicShop (for Blackberry), Fhotoroom (for Windows), or Photo Editor (for Android). All three have tools to quickly edit pictures and share with built-in social buttons.

Tip #7: Stay Charged

You’re about to take a great group photo in front of a dropping sunset when it happens–your battery dies and the group groans. Smartphones with Snapdragon processors already are designed to optimize your battery life but sometimes you just need a little more juice to capture that moment on the sand. The Snapdragon BatteryGuru app, free and available for Android, learns how you use your phone and then automatically works in the background to help extend your battery life.

Tip #8: Keep Videos Short

Your powerful Snapdragon processor is built to enable high-quality video capture, but they can quickly gobble up lots of your smartphone’s memory, leaving you less room for other memories. Recording shorter videos of your summer memories can help you save space on your smart phone and make uploading them to all your social networks faster. Try the Vine app (on Android) or Instagram to quickly capture and share some great summer footage.

What are your tips and favorite apps for capturing great images with your smartphone? 

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Nattida Samanukorn

Staff Writer, Snapdragon Blog