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Phone photography 101: CNET’s guide to taking better pictures – CNET

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Sarah Tew/CNET

So you’ve got yourself a lovely new phone and you want to head out and take more professional, high-quality photos with the powerful camera you’ve now got in your pocket. Or perhaps you’re using an older generation phone and want to squeeze everything you can out of your pictures. Lucky you, as CNET has been busy testing every feature of today’s phone cameras, and we’ve put together a whole range of how-to guides that will take you through everything you need to start taking incredible images using just your phone camera.

If you’re keen to learn more, bookmark this page, as we’ll be updating it with new content as it gets published. So treat this article as your comprehensive guide to mastering cell phone photography.


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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In this guide, we take you through the main steps you’ll need to take to start shooting better-looking images on Android phones or iPhones, from composition tips to using manual control and editing for impact. If you’re serious about your phone photography, there’s more to using the phone’s camera than just pointing it at your subject and pressing a button. Professional photographers like me are regularly blown away by the shots I can get from my phone. Along the way, I’ve gathered some photography tips that anyone can use.


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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If snagging glorious landscape images is on your travel photography bucket list, this guide will explain how smartphone photography can use the weather, natural light and composition to your advantage when shooting with just a phone camera app. While some of the tips apply to recent handsets with multiple lens options, many are relevant whether your phone is three months or three years old, Apple or Android.


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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

More interested in the tiny world under your feet? In this guide we show what additional lenses you’ll need to capture intimate macro details of insects and other wildlife on any phone (a macro lens is a must). “Macro photography” is taking a photo of a subject in extreme close-up so it appears life-size or larger in the resulting image, all without compromising image quality. Close-up photos are popular especially for nature photography, because they can capture details of insects, flowers and more with incredible clarity. And you can achieve this effect even with your phone camera.


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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you love all things automotive, then step this way. We take an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera to some beautiful countryside to shoot the car with just the smartphone cameras on our Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. I’m going to take you through my top photography tips on how to get pro-level images of cars using just your phone’s built-in camera. Plus, how photographers use photo editing apps to turn a good shot into a great one (and we’re not talking Instagram filters).


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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Heading out to the skate park with your mates this weekend for some street photography? Read through our photography tips on using light, angles and burst mode to capture awesome action photos. Snagging great action photos doesn’t require a pro-level dSLR. Your iPhone camera is capable of capturing some brilliant moments, as long as you put in a bit of effort too. We also share our favorite editing apps for action shots.


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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Maybe you’ve got tickets for a great concert and want to come away with some great visual memories. Don’t be that person spoiling the view with an iPad in the air — check out our tips for taking great iPhone photos at a rock show. Stage lights make concert pictures tricky, so we share an editing app trick that compensates for dim lighting, tips for using a wide-angle lens and zoom and a shutter button technique that makes it easier to capture fleeting scenes better within your camera app.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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