posts on CNET

Simple smartphone photo tips

Today's smartphone cameras have become nearly as complex and feature-laden as the compact cameras they replaced. It's easy to get overwhelmed, but here are four simple tips for better photos that will work with virtually any modern smartphone.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Most smartphones now have an option called HDR, which is short for High Dynamic Range.

When you take an HDR photo, your camera actually shoots three photos at three different exposures: low, standard, and high. Then, your phone stacks all those photos to create one composite image that's super sharp and looks closer to what … Read more

How to mount your smartphone on a tripod (DIY)

This five-minute DIY project is the simple solution to shooting time-lapse videos, getting steady shots, and even capturing group selfies. It's a simple way to securely mount your smartphone to a tripod, and it only costs about $15. Assuming you already own the tripod.

The solution is easy. I used an L-shaped bracket to prop up the phone and secure it to a standard tripod. The secret is in using a 1/4-inch nut, a trick used in the stringpod and the gliding camera strap.

You'll need:

A 1-inch L-shape corner bracket Some kind of adhesive (epoxy … Read more

How to shoot eye-catching food photos with your phone

Roll your eyes, but I'm one of "those" people who launches her smartphone camera at the sight of food. Sometimes, it's to catalog the delicious (or maybe not-so-delicious) meals I've had; other times, it's to share those experiences on Instagram.

But there's an art to capturing food photos. A simple lighting error can make your soup look like something post-digestion, while a slight tilt of the camera can make it look magazine-worthy.

If you want to know what techniques make food photos stand out from the ones that look like this, here are … Read more

Insider tips for smartphone photography

When we set out to tackle an episode all about photography, we knew one thing for sure: most of us leave our dedicated cameras at home in favor of our smartphones.

In honor of that tradition, this week's episode is all about getting more out of your phone's camera.

To kick things off, Eric explains exactly what makes smartphone cameras so advanced and tips you off on what to look for the next time you're shopping for a phone.

Then, Donald and I show you how to use some of the best (and lesser-known) built-in camera features, … Read more

This is the best diet ever

Happy Friday! Just in time for a beautiful weekend here in San Francisco, we are giving away free copies of Cyberlink PhotoDirector 4 that normally MSRPs for $99.99. You all know by now that I take gazillion photos of my baby everyday, but you should also know that I sometimes have to take fifty photos to get one awesome photo, especially when she's constantly on the move like she is now. So, having a great photo editing and sharing tools are important to me, so I can easily put together a collage or do a quick edit before … Read more

Add special effects to your smartphone movies

In my youth, I wanted nothing more than to make movies. But the tools just weren't available -- not on my budget, anyway. And even if I'd had a movie camera, special effects were out of the question. UFO invasions, dinosaur attacks, bomb explosions -- these were the purview of Industrial Light & Magic, not little Ricky Broida.

Oh, to be a kid again. Armed with nothing more than a smartphone and the right apps, you can shoot in razor-sharp HD and add all kinds of startlingly good special effects.

You handle the storyboarding and final edits; I'… Read more

Turn iPhone photos into beautiful watercolors with Waterlogue

There is certainly no shortage of iOS photo apps, but Waterlogue is worth investigating for its ability to create convincing watercolor paintings across a variety of styles -- and also well worth its $2.99 price. If you are looking for a new outlet for your stock of iOS photos, Waterlogue is sure to enliven your Instagram feed. It would also be fun to use in conjunction with a printer service such as Pixuru.

To get started with Waterlogue, tap the camera button to select a photo, snap one using the app, or use one of the 10 example images … Read more

Make pretty pictures with pretty iPhone photo app Faded

I know what you are thinking: another iPhone photo app?

I pass on the vast majority of iPhone photo apps I come across, but Faded has the goods that make it a contender in this crowded field. It boasts a gorgeous design and a number of powerful yet easy-to-use editing tools. The app costs only 99 cents, though a number of filters and effects are available only after you make an in-app purchase. You can buy small packs of filters or effects for 99 cents, or get them all (36 premium filters and 40 premium effects) for $4.99. The … Read more

Turn photos into reminders or links with Shoots & Leaves

Shoots & Leaves is a clever app with a clever title. Odds are your iPhone's camera roll is littered with photos that are not destined for a scrapbook or worthy of being included in your next iTunes sync. If you are like me, then you snap pictures of book covers in book stores as reminders to to investigate them further for potential purchase. Or you snap a picture of an empty ink cartridge so you know which kind to buy the next time you are in Staples. Or you snap a picture of a particularly good bottle of wine … Read more

Never shoot a vertical video with your iPhone again

Horizon is an app we all wish had existed long ago. The premise is simple: no matter how someone is holding their phone, the app will only record horizontal video. I originally discovered the app while reading a post on TUAW.

Some might even view this app as a cure for Vertical Video Syndrome. I know I do. Not familiar with VVS? Here, watch this video and then come back. I think we can all agree, VVS needs to stop.

There are three modes to the app:

The first mode keeps the video framed horizontally and at the same size. … Read more