TURN OFF THE FLASH Especially if you’re looking for mood...


Especially if you’re looking for mood in your photos. Of course, you will also need some source of light, but you should be able to manage shooting up to 1/15th of a second, and if not, steady your arms on a table or against a wall. This mom caught a moment between daughter Gianna and family friend Michael Ryan, above, at a homemade carnival, with the natural light from a popcorn machine catching their faces. Credit: Nicole Green of Bellmore

There’s an old saying among photographers: It’s not the camera that takes the picture, it’s the photographer.

Maybe you got your wish this holiday and you are now the proud owner of a smartphone or a digital camera. Or maybe you love your old camera. Whatever camera you have, you can take better pictures.

The more you know about your camera, the easier it will be, so get to know your camera and all its functions — or in the case of a cellphone, its limitations, such as its fixed lens.

To advance your photography skills, look at the past, particularly at great photography. Head to the Internet and look up icons Jacques Henri Lartigue, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Elliott Erwitt or Shelby Lee Adams.

You may also find inspiration from these reader photos, which nicely illustrate tips and techniques for getting better photos.

But in the end? Make your own photos. Most people take pictures of other people’s pictures. But only you will see the world the way you do. And only you will make pictures in your own, peculiar, quirky way.

So go ahead — point and shoot.

Photos by phone

The same take-great-photos tips apply when using smartphones and cellphones, but here are a few extra things to note:

-- Cellphones have fixed 35 mm lenses, so you’ll definitely want to step in. The zoom is almost always your photo cropped, so leave it full-frame.

-- In choosing settings, opt for the highest quality, super-fine, before anything else. Then, amp up the pixels.

-- Use extra care in using light, because your in-camera meter is more basic. You will need to watch the very bright or the very dark.

-- Play with some of the really cool photo apps designed especially for cellphones. Some can give your pictures an old-fashioned look; others will zap up the color; still others will convert your photo into a square.

-- In posting photos to Twitter or Facebook, use the same good manners you would with a camera: Ask permission.


Latest Videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months