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How to take pictures with your mobile phone

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With the latest high quality camera phones we can all take great photos with our mobiles. What's more, we can share them with our family and friends at the touch of a button.

Camera phones have experienced a meteoric rise in popularity and quality over the last few years, and some of the best camera phones on the market now offer image quality comparable to dedicated digital cameras. This means more and more of us are looking for a camera phone to replace the need for a separate camera.

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Our guide to taking pictures with your camera phone should help you understand a little about what you need to take great snaps on your mobile, and how to start sharing them with family and friends around the world.

What should I look for in a camera phone?

Megapixels
The higher the megapixels on your camera phone, the higher the resolution of your images, and therefore the more detailed they will be. However, it's worth bearing in mind that megapixels are not the only factor affecting image quality.

Flash
It has taken a while for the flashes on camera phones to catch up to digital cameras, but camera phones with high-quality built-in flashes have now become commonplace. The first camera phones only offered a very poor flash or a 'night-mode' option, but now you should find that any good camera phone comes with a decent LED (Light Emitting Diode) flash that has several settings for your environment.

Memory or Memory Cards
Having enough memory to store all the photos you want to take is really important. The higher the megapixels, the larger the photo file size is. All camera phones come with a limited amount of internal memory, but this usually only enough to save a couple of pictures. Although mainly high-end handsets come with larger on board storage, most decent handsets now support a memory card slot and come bundled with an 8GB or 16GB memory card, which can be expanded further. If you plan to take a lot of pictures with your mobile then you should probably invest in one of these to make sure you never have to delete anything before you get back home!

Zoom
The Zoom function on some camera phones is limited to just digital zoom. The downside of this is that digital zoom simply enlarges the area in the centre of the image and stretches out each pixel as it goes, which can distort your image. Optical zoom uses lenses to zoom in much the same way as a traditional camera. These are starting to become more common in high-end camera phones.

There are of course lots of other features to consider, too, such as autofocus, white balance and exposure control, but the four listed above are the most important to make sure you can take great images really easily.

How do I take great pictures?

Taking pictures with your mobile is easy! Camera phones are intended to allow us to snap situations we would normally miss, so the process of taking pictures with your mobile phone is designed to be quick and straightforward.

The process will vary from phone to phone, but usually activating camera mode will be as simple as sliding open a lens cap or pushing a dedicated camera button. With some phones, you may have to navigate through the phone's menu system to find the camera option, but this is normally a very simple and quick process too, and once found the camera icon can be added to the phone’s home screen. In some high-end camera phones, the camera can also be accessed right on the lock screen.

You should be able to use your phone's display, exactly like a digital camera display to compose your shots. And like any normal camera, you can turn your phone sideways to take a landscape-orientated snap.

In some touchscreen camera phones, you can make a pinch gesture on the screen to zoom in and out. Most allow you capture a photo by simply tapping an on-screen icon, but some that do not come with a dedicated shutter release allow you to take the shot by pressing down the volume button.

With touchscreen camera phones you can also tap on the screen to focus on a particular subject, allowing you to add a depth of field to your shots.

Once you have taken your pictures you can share them via a wide variety of options. Almost all modern smartphones have the option to share your images on directly on social networks and image sharing sites. You can also email and message them.

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