Ever wonder how your Facebook friends take such crazy good shots with their Androids when they’re on vacation? They’ve probably read articles just like this.

Today, I’m going to explain how to easily improve your Android photography skills by implementing 5 easy tips.

5) Take Shots from Above

Whether you’re taking a photo of a group of people with the rear camera or taking a selfie with the front camera, everybody looks better when you take a shot from a slightly downward angle.

The reason? Shooting down on a subject can smooth out awkward lines, wrinkles, and double chins. It can also help lighting strike the right parts of your face.

4) Adjust the Shutter Speed to Trick People Into Thinking You Have a DSLR

You don’t have to have a fancy camera to adjust your shutter speed and get shots like this:

shutter speeds android

Instead, all you need is a phone that lets you adjust your shutter speed (like the LG G4). The G4 features adjustable shutter speeds between 1/6000 and 30 seconds. Whether you’re capturing the night sky or getting a picture of a fast-flowing stream, this shutter speed can trick people into thinking you have a professional camera (okay, you won’t trick everybody).

Faster shutter speeds capture the action more clearly and freeze all the details. This can reduce graininess. However, you might have to tinker with the ISO settings to ensure your pictures come out as intended.

Slower shutter speeds, on the other hand, are ideal for capturing a moving object as part of your shot. The main downside to slow shutter speeds on a smartphone is that your pictures can become blurry in places you didn’t intend. You’ll need a steady hand (or, better yet, a tripod or stable object) to get the right shots.

3) Turn on Auto HDR

Many modern Androids now use HDR to make your photos look amazing. Basically, HDR (High Dynamic Range) takes multiple identical shots at different shutter speeds, then combines those photos to create a photo with uniform lighting.

auto hdr android

In layman’s terms, it means that both the background and the foreground of your shots can have the same lighting, which can vastly improve the appearance of your photos.

Look for an HDR setting in your camera settings. Many of the 2015 flagships have an “Auto HDR” button on the main camera menu. This setting automatically detects when HDR is needed, then activates it without you needing to do anything. It’s highly recommended.

2) Install the Default Google Camera

Today, most Android users can install the default Google camera (if you don’t already have it). Why would you want to do this?

photosphere android

Well, aside from the nifty interface, the Google Camera also has one of the coolest Android features – PhotoSphere.

PhotoSphere is how you take those photos you see on Google Maps, where someone has taken a 360 degree panorama of everything they see.

After you take a PhotoSphere, you can scroll around it to get a real sense of being in that place. It’s a great way to capture vacation memories and moments in a way that a traditional photograph cannot.

The Google Camera app also has nifty features that might not be available on your default Android camera, like Lens Blur, HDR+, fisheye, and Android Wear support.

1) Understand the Rule of Thirds

If you’re going to implement one photography rule from this list, implement the rule of thirds. I’ve never taken a photography lesson, but I like to imagine this is what they teach you when you walk into the photography classroom at 8:00am on the very first day of class.

rule of thirds android

The rule of thirds is the best way to trick people into looking like you know what you’re doing with your Android camera.

Basically, you imagine the subject of your photo on a 3×3 grid. You align the subject where these lines intersect in order to “create intrigue and eye-catching tension”, according to photography experts.

Fortunately, many Android cameras actually have Grid View. This grid view will display 9 squares on your screen.

Line up the subject where the squares intersect and you’ll be getting a job with National Geographic in no time at all (just kidding).

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