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GLOBAL – You’re off on holiday, and you see a glorious vista, swathed in the magnificent colours of the setting sun. You wish you had a camera on you, and reach for your pocket automatically. It’s time to put your mobile phone to good use and capture a fantastic shot.

Capturing landscapes is incredibly challenging. After all, you’re faced with a truly awe-inspiring view, and it can be a frustrating experience to try and lock in the beauty of your surroundings in a satisfactory manner. There are a few tips you can use to help you on your way to Ansel Adams territory.

Breaking the 'rules' is okay, as long as you get the impact you desire
Work with unusual angles to get a dramatic effect

Camera settings

First off, make sure your phone is set to the correct camera mode. You want manual focus: Select the ‘mountain’ setting. This ensures that your camera focuses on ‘infinity’ – the perfect setting for landscapes.

Next, many cameras (including the Nokia N8, of course) offer the ability to add a ‘grid’ to the image. This overlays a set of lines across your screen. Don’t worry, they won’t show up in the final image, they’re only there to help you compose your photos.

Finally, if you’re taking photos of wide, sweeping landscapes, set your camera to a wide-screen setting. It’s unusual, and the extra space you get to play with might add that little bit of magic you need to get the photos you want

Taking the picture

If the sun is setting, or if you’re taking photos in darker bits of the world, like forests etc, you’ll have to pay extra attention to holding your camera perfectly still. Lean it against a tree or hold it against a bench, a rock, or your car: it makes a huge difference!

To get an appealing composition, try to follow the ‘rule of thirds’. Easy with the grid setting enabled: Simply align the horizon along either the top or the bottom of the grid lines (depending on whether the sky or the ground is most interesting), and take your photo.

If anything in the foreground is getting in the way, take a bit of a walk. Some times, taking as little as a few steps to the side or forward hugely improves your photos – just don’t walk off a cliff as you’re trying to get the perfect shots!