9 easy ways to take better smartphone pictures

MILWAUKEE -- It's pretty clear that the smartphone is replacing the point and shoot camera. While smartphone makers are working to create cameras that are nearly foolproof, there are still a few easy ways to make your pictures pop.

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I chatted with my friend Juan Bagnell, photo enthusiast and senior editor at PocketNow.com. He literally wrote the book on taking better smartphone photos (available now on Amazon!)

Here are some of his simple tips to take your smartphone pics to the next level.

1. Tap to focus. This tells the camera what you'd like to feature in your photo, instead of just having it guess.


2. Find your light. Take selfies facing the sun and watch out for shadows. For dinnertime food shots, move candles closer to your plate for better illumination.


3. Hold your phone horizontally when you shoot video so it fills the entire screen of your monitor or HDTV. (Snapchat bucks this trend)

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4. Make sure you have enough phone storage before you head out for an important shoot. Get a memory card if your phone supports it.


5. Invest in an inexpensive tripod. It takes hand shake out of the equation and lets you be in the shot using the (better) rear camera. Plus, you can take better low light pictures.

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6. Take time to learn about some of the camera settings. You don't want to be trying to remember where a setting is when an important event is happening.

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7. Play with different angles - don't be afraid to get low, high or up close for a more unique shot!


8. Take a breath instead of "run and gun" photos. Set up your shot, look at your surroundings or wait for a distraction to clear the frame.


9. Use both hands to hold your phone and pull your elbows into your side to create a steadier shot.

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