Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
I'm amazed just how good modern smartphone are at taking photos in low light. I remember when capturing stars required a big camera, a tripod, and a lot of patience.
Now I can do that with a smartphone.
The above is a handheld shot taken in Snowdonia, North Wales, UK.
Here's another of a roundhouse, again taken in North Wales.
How do you hold your smartphone to take photos? If you're like the majority, it's something like this, pinched between index finger and thumb on one hand, and middle finger and thumb on the other.
This isn't the best ways to hold a smartphone. Not only does it translate any finger tremors to the smartphone, but it's also not that stable, and I've lost count of the number of people I've seen drop their phones holding it like this, especially if there's a little wind.
You can get away with this in good conditions, but in low light or in windy conditions, you'll get a lot of ruined photos.
There's a better way.
Here's what this looks like from the front:
Here I'm using my thumb on the volume button to trigger the shutter button, rather than tapping the screen.
This is a far more stable, secure way to hold a smartphone. It takes a little bit of reprogramming the muscle memory to pull it off smoothly, but after a little practice you'll have it figured out.
This hand position is not only good for low light photos, but also for windy conditions.
It also works for shooting vertically.
A few more tips for steadier shots:
Keep your elbows tucked in to the side of your body as much as possible.
Brace yourself legs or hips (not abdomen, chest, or back -- those body parts move as your breath) against something that doesn't move.
Take a deep breath before pressing the shutter, and start exhaling slowly as you squeeze the shutter.
However, for the best possible results, nothing beats a smartphone clamp attached to a tripod or a clamp, especially if you want to take rock-steady video.