Bucket trucks on parade, community gift drives, and holiday office parties: Are you equipped to catch festive moments on the go?

Capturing holiday celebrations is a long-standing tradition. With the advent of mobile devices, preserving memories and sharing them has never been easier. Use these mobile photo-taking tips to make the most of your personal and professional holiday photos.

Focus & Expose

Tap your subject to bring it into focus. Then, slide a finger up or down to adjust exposure.

Lock the autofocus by tapping and holding down on your subject in the preview. Slide your finger up or down to adjust exposure for the mood you want to capture. Make sure HDR (high dynamic range) is on when facing difficult lighting scenarios. By taking time to set up a shot, you can focus on composition.

Capture the Action

It can be difficult to make sure everyone looks good in an office or family portrait. Hold down the shutter button to use burst-mode, then pick out the best of the bunch afterward. If you’re having trouble keeping a steady hand, try using the self-timer feature to give yourself a few seconds to stabilize your device after pressing the shutter.

Motion Photos

Animated Photo of Waterfall
Take a motion photo to capture a moment of movement.

Many modern devices let you take moving images, such as Apple’s Live Photos option on the iPhone. These are great for sharing with friends or posting on social media. On Android devices, make sure “Motion Photo” is activated in your settings. If you have an iPhone, launch the Photos app, select a photo, and swipe up for animation options such as looping or bouncing. Think outside the gift box and give animated photos a try.

Dual Lens Tricks

Does your phone have a dual lens system? Take advantage of features such as portrait mode to get a shallow depth-of-field effect. By switching to the telephoto lens, you can get close-up details for a faux-macro look.

Avoid using digital zoom, which typically returns grainy, unattractive photos. Get as close as you can to your subject for the best quality.

Turn off the Flash

old car on street
Natural lighting captures the essence of the scene.

Most modern devices have cameras with complex light sensors and low aperture lenses, so you can forget the flash. Natural light does a better job of conveying a mood, whether it’s opening presents in front of the hearth or snapping lineworkers on a snowy day for your next holiday card.

More Tips:

Above all, enjoy yourself! We’re often tempted to constantly snap away and hope for the best. Don’t miss the moment to obsess over documenting everything. Use these tips to capture special memories so you can quickly return to the present.