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March 26, 2014

Pina Gruden’s top Lumia photo tips from Puerto Rico

One of the biggest incentives for photographers to enter the recent Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico competition was the promise to learn from Stephen Alvarez.

Why? Because he’s a world-renowned National Geographic travel photographer and he’d promised to give a masterclass to the five winners on the paradise island of Puerto Rico.

The fabulous trip now over, we spoken to Pina Gruden, one of the winners, to find out what new skills she brought back home. For any aspiring Lumia photo artists amongst you, here are her top tips on how to capture your travel memories with a Nokia Lumia 1020. And as proof that those tips work, each one is accompanied by a gorgeous photo that illustrates it in action. Thank you, Pina!


lumia 1020 capturethemoment

Capture moments

“Set white balance to cloudy to get warmer colours, slightly underexpose (EV -0.3) to prevent the sky in the background to be “burnt out” and to set the mood, then just move around to get the composition you like.”

lizard lumia 1020

Get closer

“Set the focus to manual and get closer to your subject. The manual focus is really good in Lumia 1020 and it’s especially useful for close up shots of non-moving objects. Here I was lucky that the little brown lizard was too absorbed in observing the dried-up dead lizard to notice me getting closer.”

meetalocal puerto rico lumia 1020

Meet a local

“Take some portraits of local people (this was definitely hardest for me- plants and animals are much easier subjects ;). But photography’s a good way to get to know some of the local people, ask them about their life and culture.”

greenery puerto rico lumia 1020

Go green

“In this picture of mangrove islands I like the light coming through the trees. I set the white balance to sunny, which gives you a true green colour when you are shooting in an environment that contains a lot of green (forests) and again underexposed the picture a bit (EV -0.3).”

breathtaking view lumia 1020

Put it in perspective

“One of the things I learned on this trip is that it’s good to include people in your photos. They can give your photos another perspective, make them more alive and maybe help the audience to imagine they are there too.”


No filters, no problem

Pina tells us these pictures are just as they came from her Lumia 1020 camera, with no adjustments or filters added. “Another thing I learned on our trip is that if I take time to adjust the white balance, exposure, shutter speed and focus, and think about composure, I can get pictures  I like without spending time adjusting them in a photo editing program.” Awesome, really, for a phone camera, but didn’t we know that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the world’s best camera smartphone!

Inspired by each other

We’ve been happy to find out from all the winners how much they learned from each other. “The trip to Puerto Rico with Nokia and National Geographic was a brilliant experience,” Pina continues. “The whole team –  Stephen from National Geographic, Katie, Tomi and Elisa from Nokia and other winners Elena, Kaveer and Shanya were really helpful and I learned a lot from everyone. Since everyone came from a different background, we saw the same places in different perspectives and could share our views with each other, which I think is really good for photography.”

This is exactly what we love about mobile photography and the global Nokia Lumia photographer community… the desire to share, inspire and learn from others wherever they are in the world. What is the best tip you’ve picked up from another photographer? Did you learn something new from Pina? Is there something you’d like to add? The comments section below is all yours!