Tablet tips: how to take and edit your summer snaps

From perfect lighting to editing tricks, your tablet has everything you need to produce holiday photos you’ll want to share

Even the world’s best photographers – with fancy lights, expensive cameras and a whole team behind them – need to edit their photos. So, even though the cameras on modern smart devices have never been better, there’s nothing wrong with adding a few finishing touches to make your photos just that little bit better.

A couple of editing tricks can turn a photo that’s not quite soaring into something that’ll set your socials ablaze. While your smartphone is geared up with loads of cool features to edit your photos, if you’re using a tablet there are even more ways to play – even though their capacity for producing great photos is often neglected.

But before you start snapping or editing, it’s worth familiarising yourself with your tablet’s built-in features. Here are some top tips to get you started and if you’re looking to up your photography game, check out our latest tablet deals.

1. Think about the lighting

Couple looking at phone together

When taking photos, nothing is more important than lighting. It’s always best to use natural light where you can, but beware of the glare of the summer sun. Photos taken in the late afternoon when the light is softer are more successful.

If you want to grab a snap of your family on the beach, adjust the camera’s exposure. On most tablets, you should be able to tap the screen to reveal the automatic focus area, and then move it up and down.

Never point your tablet camera directly at the light source, whether you’re outdoors or inside. If you snap someone in front of a window, for example, they’ll end up looking like a silhouette. And when you’re shooting at night, don’t be tempted to use the flash – even if your tablet has one. The tiny flashes on smartphones or tablets rarely produce good results.

2. Keep things steady

To avoid blurry pictures, a steady hold is key, and it’s especially important for tablets which don’t usually have image stabilisation capability to compensate for your shaky hands.

If you’re planning on some serious photography, invest in a tripod or a clamp to hold your tablet steady, or try a flexible mini tripod that can wrap around railings or branches to give a firm hold when you’re out and about.

Alternatively, make sure to grip your tablet with two hands and use your elbows as support. If you dig them into your sides just above your hips, you’ll find it easier to keep your tablet still.

3. Get the composition right 

Kids watching mobile phones with headphones on

In the days of film cameras, setting up a photograph could take hours, so creating the perfect composition was part of the plan. Today, when we can take multiple shots in an instant, it’s easy to forget just how important the balance of a photograph is. Think about where you place your subject. Consider the angles that the background or the negative space creates. Keeping the elements of your photo on a diagonal line, for example, can help add dynamism. And frame your photo carefully.

If you’re taking a snap on the go, make sure to wait until the coast is clear. You don’t want a random guy in a hi-vis jacket popping up in the corner of your picture. 

Some tablets will allow you to add grid lines to your preview, which makes it much easier to finesse your composition and keep things straight. Don’t be tempted to zoom in to get the detail you want. It’s always better to move closer or to take a wider shot and crop it later with your tablet’s editing tools.

4. Choose a good background

Kids watching mobile phones with headphones on

If you’re taking snaps of your friends, take a minute to think about the backdrop. If you’re not using Portrait Mode – which blurs the elements behind the subject – then avoid anything that’s too busy (unless you’re after that Where’s Wally? effect).

If you’re dabbling in documentary or landscape photography, think about how to make your picture as interesting as possible. Look at how the objects of your scene relate to each other, and consider the mix of colours and shapes in the background. Moving your lens just a little one way or the other can give you dramatically different results.

5. Invest in some add-ons

There are lots of photography apps that can help give your photos a professional feel, and this is especially true for tablets because the editing and photography apps are designed with the bigger screen in mind. Whether you’re looking for studio-quality portraits in a snap, a way to increase your depth of field or to add special effects or filters – there are many tools at your disposal.

Alternatively, add on a more tangible extra, such as an external camera attachment. Using a clip-on lens can open a whole new world of photography, allowing you to experiment with shooting possibilities like fisheye and telephoto effects.

6. Become an expert editor

Back from your holiday and bamboozled by the number of snaps you took? Be ruthless and delete any you don’t feel have potential. Once you’ve selected your chosen snaps, put your editing hat on and get down to business. Most tablets will allow you to add filters, crop photos and adjust the colour or saturation of your photos, so you can play around and create stand-out shots. You can also download apps with photo-editing tools, which will help you create mini masterpieces from your summer snaps.

The key to editing is experimentation, and watch online tutorials to learn more tips and tricks. The more you learn, the better your results. Don’t forget to take a look at our latest tablet deals.

Published: 6 May 2024

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