5 On Your Side

Flip phone horizontally to take better photos, videos

Posted July 13

Almost everyone has a camera in their pocket or purse, but not everyone is an expert photographer. 

One look at some of the pictures shared on social media, and it's clear many people could use a little picture taking direction. There are a few strategies, though, that can help amateur photographers shoot more like a pro.

"A lot of people use the camera on their smartphone since it's always handy," said Consumer Reports' Terry Sullivan. "For that you need a lot of light to make your video look good."

Sullivan says to keep the video from being shaky, so hold your phone with your elbows close to your body, then twist at the waist to follow any action. 

Also, stay away from the digital zoom. Sullivan says it  reduces the quality of your video.

Instead, zoom with your feet," Sullivan said. "Get right up to what you're shooting."

Action cameras, like GoPros, can add a cool perspective. With their small size and mounting accessories, you can put them just about anywhere. Most require a special app on your phone as the viewfinder.

No matter what kind of camera you use, though, it's usually better to shoot eye level with your subjects even if that means getting on the ground with your kids or your pets.

A final recommendation, shoot video horizontally—not vertically—so that it fills the screen when you post it online.

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