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objects at a certain distance are in focus) it's known as 'bokeh'. This is hard to achieve with a smartphone camera, but another way is to follow a moving subject. Try focusing on a friend as you walk along together, keeping them in the same position in the frame as you move; when you take the shot, the background will be softened by motion blur while your friend is in focus. This effect works best with a slower shutter (more time to create blur), so avoid Sports mode, use a low ISO and turn off flash.

5 Use a timer The self-timer is a useful function for shooting without camera shake as well as for including yourself in the frame. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S's timer is accessible in the Camera, Settings menu. If your handset doesn't have a timer, third-party apps can help: try Camera Zoom FX from the Android Market. This timer gives you up to 10 seconds to get into the shot once you've pressed the capture button.

6 Add effects Under Camera, Settings, Effects, you'll find a number of filters

A Special effects can liven up any photo, but even better is applying your own creativity, such as picking an arty angle you can apply, such as Sepia. These can be fun and help to mask any shortcomings in image quality. To get more creative, an effective trick is to shoot from an unusual perspective: try capturing a group shot from a low angle after your team conquers a mountain, for example,

7 Get up close One final and essential piece of advice when shooting with a small, low-resolution camera that has no optical zoom: always make the effort to get close to your subject. It pays dividends.

Organising your images

Keep track of your snaps with built-in and add-on metadata tools

Taking pictures is pointless unless you actually get round to looking at them later. That in turn means organising your photos so you can quickly view the ones you want. Tags make relatively light work of this organisational process and means items you later want to retrieve can be found much more easily. Naming photos as you go is good practice, but not all apps you may use on your Android device will allow you to do so. Transferring shots to a PC for tagging can be easier.

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IView tags 'Metadata' is information stored along with an image, such as the camera used, the exposure and, most importantly, any tags (keywords) associated with it. Apps such as Astro can tag selected items, but for faster batch-tagging import your photos to your PC from your Android device. If you have a suitable microSD card adapter, you can plug it in directly.

2 Add a tag Label the photo folder, then click on any photo and press the Tags field at the foot of the Windows Explorer window. Type in a descriptive term; you can enter multiple tags separated by semicolons. To later find this or similar photos, click the Explorer search field and enter 'tag: x', replacing 'x' with one of the keywords you entered as tags.

J Arrange by tag Alternatively, open your photo library and select Tag from the Arrange by menu. A list of available tags and thumbnails of associated images will appear. Select the tag you want. To see file information, including the number of pictures with that tag, right-click any blank spot within the folder and select View, Details from the contextual menu.

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4 Share shots on Photo Gallery For more photo tagging tools, try the free Windows Live Photo Gallery (download it from tinyurl.com/2bh6x67). This lets you batch-convert photos, make quick fixes, add tags and share images on Flickr, YouTube and Facebook. Once you've got an account, you'll be able to upload shots straight from your Android device for sharing and online storage too. You'll need to enter your Windows Live ID, or register one if you're not already signed up. The app trawls your hard drive and displays all the images it finds. Click an image to view its tags. To add a tag, edit the information on the right. Click under Descriptive tags, enter keywords and hit Return. You can also add 'People tags': the app finds any faces in the image and lets you put a name to each.

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5 Add ratings and captions You can also give each photo a caption and a star rating (far left). Again, click a photo and adjust the metadata displayed on the right. To search for a set of tagged images, enter your keyword in the search box; to search for multiple tags separate each keyword from the next with a forward slash (/).

6 Fix photos Windows Live Essentials Photo Gallery also lets you make basic edits (left). Select an image and click Fix at the top of the window. Options then appear at the right-hand side to let you adjust the picture's colour and exposure, crop or straighten it, sharpen up detail, fix red-eye caused by flash, or turn the photo black and white.

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