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If you’re one of the people lucky enough to own a Nokia Lumia 1020, then you’ll know what an amazing photographic mobile magic machine it really is. Question is how do you get the very best out of it? Well, to help answer this, we’re launching a new series where we ask the best smartphone photographers out there to share their expertise.

First up, mobile photography guru Richard Dorman, owner of an incredible 183 Nokia devices, and the man behind mobile photography blog Richard’s tips are so detailed that we’ve split them into two parts, to give you twice the fun. Over to you, Richard!

1. Freezing objects

Unlike most smart phones, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is equipped with a Xenon flash so you can freeze moving objects without getting a blurry image. Useful for taking photos of people in motion, but it does mean you can do other things too, such as freezing moving water.  For example


Depending on conditions, you might be able to simply force the flash to “on”, however you might have to manipulate some other controls to avoid the image being a complete white-out. I recommend you start with dropping exposure to -1.3.

Another great tip shared in this excellent article fromSteve Litchfield, of All About Windows Phone, is to set exposure time to 1/125 seconds to eliminate any ambient light in the image. Very useful when you are taking shots of your mates dancing.

2. Landscapes: Part One

I think that using a grid when taking landscapes is important as it means your horizon will be level when taking the image. So make sure you use a grid that gives a horizontal line; either the simple “cross hairs” grid, the “golden ratio” grid or the “rule of thirds”. Many people will tell you that using “rule of thirds” to compose landscape images is crucial and is the only way to ensure a great result. Personally I disagree, even though I use it – like all rules, it’s there to be broken; it very much depends on the view in front of you and sometimes a centrally composed image can be better. As an example, this image uses a combination of rule of thirds and a central horizon.


Here’s another image that uses a combination of different rules.


So the best tip I can give you is: take the image that feels right to YOU!

 3. Landscapes: Part Two

Smart phone cameras use a weighted average metering to determine the amount of exposure with which an image is taken. This can create problems with landscape images especially when the sky is a lot brighter than the land and you end up with a completely white sky in your image. You can try to control this by using ISO and exposure and you can also try moving the camera slightly so that the horizon is lower. This should change the metering result and the camera will compensate automatically. If none of this works, then HDR might be the answer.


To take this image I had to move around behind the reeds, which must have looked quite funny to any bystanders who were unaware that I was trying to find the right spot where the sun would not cause the sky to be blown out.

4. Using HDR

Personally I use HDR for two reasons; to manage situations where the difference in light is dramatic within the frame of the image and to highlight elements within an image. The clouds in this image is an example:


For HDR processing I use two programs. The image above was processed using Photomatix Pro and the edit is called “Painterly”. I think you can see why.

The following image is a Black and White and for this I used Oloneo Photoengine


The reason I used HDR is that I wanted to pick out the line of clouds and highlight it as the main focus of the image.

Using exposure to create silhouettes

Here is an example of something I like to do from time to time when walking around cities.


In this image, I dropped exposure to -1.3EV to create the silhouette of the statue while positioning the sun right behind her head. The Lumia 1020 allows you to drop exposure down to -3EV so you can create silhouettes of almost anything interesting you come across.

We hope you’ve found these as useful as us. Richard second set of tip will be published next week. In the meantime, if you want to see more his work check out his amazing Flickr account or follow him on Twitter. And if you’ve got any questions for this week’s mobile photography master, drop them in the comments below.

Title image credit: Stephen Quin