3 tips for taking better smartphone photos – PLUS 10 window options to add value to your home
The smartphone has become the everyday camera for many people, simply because it's always on hand. But smartphone photos often aren't so great, especially when you see them on a larger screen or printout. Here are three ways to fix that:
1. Hold your smartphone steady. Smartphone photos turn out blurry if you don't hold the phone steady. Today's bigger, thinner phones can be harder to hold when taking pictures and most phone cameras don't have image stabilization. Always hold the phone with two hands and, if possible, brace your elbows against your torso or knees or on a table or chair back.
2. Don't use the zoom. Smartphones don't have big, bulky "optical zoom" lenses. Their "digital zooms" crop the image, so you can wind up with a splotchy, blurry shot. Instead, zoom with your feet: for a close-up, move in; for a wide shot, step back.
3. Check out some apps. Your phone's built-in camera app is fine, but downloadable apps can give you big benefits. Instagram and Hipstamatic offer easy-to-use, one-touch filters. And you get added control from apps such as Camera+, Snapseed, and VSCO Cam. Many are free.
10 GREAT CHOICES FOR UPGRADING YOUR HOME'S WINDOWS
Windows can personalize a new home or add more value to an existing one–so know the styles available and the benefits each offers. Here's what the experts say.
1. Double-hung. This is the most popular style. The top and bottom sashes move up and down independently, letting in more air. They're a great option with young children or pets, since you can keep the bottom closed for safety, but open the top for ventilation. Most models have sashes that tilt in or come out for cleaning.
2. Single-hung. This very basic window opens only from the bottom. The top sash doesn't move. They're less expensive than double-hung, but can be hard to clean from the inside.
3. Casement. These are hinged on the side with a crank at the bottom that opens them. Older homeowners prefer casements to double-hung windows you push up and pull down. The crank also makes for easy opening in hard to reach locations, such as over a kitchen sink.
4. Sliders. This design uses panels that slide on a track. It sometimes includes a fixed middle panel, with two sliding side windows. It's another good option for older homeowners because there's no lifting. This style also provides great ventilation and big views.
5. Picture. This is simply a large, fixed window that gives an unobstructed picture of the view it provides. It is often combined with double-hung or casement windows on each side.
6. Bay. This style uses three windows at 35° or 45° angles. They can be fixed picture windows, casement, or double-hung. Bay windows are great in living rooms and master bedrooms, especially with a window seat. Their angled surfaces let in lots of light.
7. Bow. This is a rounded bay window. The shape is created by putting three, five, seven, or nine narrow casement, double-hung, or fixed windows at 10° angles to each other.
8. Awning. This window is hinged across the top and opens outward from the bottom. The design is good for high locations, above a door or another window.
9. Basement hopper. This is the opposite of an awning, hinged at the bottom and opening in from the top. It's usually used to let light and air into basements.
10. Geometric. These are fixed units that come in a variety of shapes. They're used alone as an accent, or above a large window or door. Geometrics add style and can bring light into large foyers and hallways.
If thinking about new windows has you thinking about a new home, we can help with the financing. When you decide to take advantage of today's opportunities to upgrade, downsize, or buy a first home, we're happy to answer any questions. We can also help with refinancing your current home or funding home improvements. Please call or email us any time. We're always here for you... Have a great day!
P.S.: Mortgage rates are still at historically attractive levels. When buying or refinancing, it's smart to start the process early. Please call or email us to explore your options!