TrustedReviews - The why before you buy TrustedReviews - The why before you buy TrustedReviews - The why before you buy
A city skyline with a silky camera affect on the river

If you pack anything for your next holiday, pack this smartphone

Promotional Feature by Huawei

Great photos will help you remember the best holidays of your life years after they happened. Until recently, sacrificing some luggage space for a dedicated camera was the best idea, but those days are over thanks to phones like the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus.

The latest phones in the P series won the TIPA “best photo smartphone” award in 2017. They are true photographic travel buddies whether you’re heading off the beaten path to discover the heart of a foreign country or just looking to soak up some culture with a city break.

Their camera experience focuses on the artistry behind photography. Thanks to the combined efforts of Huawei and photography master Leica, owning one is like having a photo studio in your pocket. We have some tips on how to get the most out of the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus cameras while travelling, whether you want to record memories you can cherish for years or just get some great images for Instagram.

Master night time photos

Night photography is one of the trickiest tasks for a phone camera but the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus have the hardware needed to put them a league above most rivals. First, these phones have optical image stabilisation.

This uses a tiny motor that tilts the camera to compensate for the slight hand movements we all naturally make when holding something. The result is that the Huawei P10 and its sibling can take longer exposures without that blurry look some phones produce when you’re shooting handheld rather than with a tripod. You don’t have to put away your phone just because the sun has gone down.

The Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus use this ultra-versatile feature alongside a smart image processor to tweak the camera settings to cope with any scene you throw their way. No matter how dark your scene looks, these phones can deal with it.

The P series of devices is also the first to offer dual camera pixel binning technology. Whenever you point the phone at a scene, two camera sensors ‘look’ at it, not just one. This lets the processor combine the feed of both to produce a higher-fidelity image with less noise. And less noise is what we’re after.

A smarter camera makes taking night-time photos a lot easier, but you need good technique as well as good hardware. You need to think even more carefully about where your light is coming from, particularly if you’re not going to use the dual LED flash, which we’d advise doing if you can.

Unless you want to use sharp stark shadows as part of your composition, look for softer, more diffused light sources. The light from shop windows is much better than that of a street lamp to illuminate someone’s face, as it will cause much softer, more flattering shadows. This is particularly important if you’re taking someone’s portrait.

Night portraits are also a great opportunity to use the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus’s Monochrome Mode, which gets rid of the yellow cast most street lighting washes over everything it touches. You can also use these moments to test drive Portrait Mode.

This simulates the effect of a wide aperture DSLR lens, many of which cost thousands of pounds or dollars, blurring the background to make your subject seem even sharper, and more vital. It’s accessible with one tap from the camera app.

A portrait photo of a woman taken at night

Capture surreal sunsets

A great sunset across a beautiful vista may well be the most memorable view of a holiday, the lush orange and red tones adding drama, and even romance, to mountains, cityscapes and beaches alike. However, it takes a good camera like the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus’s to be able to capture it in all its glory.

Why? It’s a surprisingly tricky scene for a camera, because it features very bright and much darker areas right next to each other. It’s something our eyes are great at dealing with because they can see with much greater dynamic range than the average camera.

Point a camera at a glorious sunset and you may find either the golden tones in the sky blown into white, or the land half of the image cast in shadow. Or both. You lose a lot.

This is where the Huawei P series’ HDR Mode steps in. You may well have used this before, as it’s one of the top tools in any mobile photographer’s arsenal. It stands for high dynamic range, and optimises a photo to get much better detail, colour and all-round clarity in the darkest and lightest areas of an image.

It’s what lets the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus capture an image where the sun is still just peeking over the skyline while still bringing out every rooftop, street and sun-blushed shoreline at the same time. With a bit of skill you can even make the Huawei P10 or Huawei P10 Plus bring out more than our eyes can perceive, for a truly dramatic and hyper-real effect. If that won’t help you get Instagram likes, nothing will.

A sunset over a city skyline

Dramatic water shots

If you’ve ever been to a nature photography exhibition, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a photo that makes water look almost surreal. An image where the little waves and eddies of any river or sea have been smoothed into silk, with the sort of serenity you normally only see in photos of rare and perfectly-still lakes.

The photographer hasn’t stumbled upon some fantasy land where water doesn’t behave as it does in the real world. They’ve used a trick you can try with the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus, using a long exposure.

The Huawei P series devices have a mode dedicated to this exact style of photography, called Silky Water. It’s part of the Light Painting section of the camera. Silky Water Mode uses multiple merged exposures to turn choppy waters into beautifully smooth ones. And, unlike using a DSLR, you don’t have to worry about overexposure too much either, where the shutter is open so long that parts of the image look too bright, or even turn into blocks of pure white, ultimately destroying detail.

To get the most out of Silky Water, you will want to use a tripod, though. You need to keep your device as still as possible while shooting, to avoid blurred details and ghosting. The results are worth the effort.

A city skyline with a silky camera affect on the river

Make meals look appetising

Who doesn’t love to eat? Food photography is one of the pillars of social media posts, with food in general being central to any good holiday. But with so many people posting your lunch, you need to get this one right.

The classic food photo is taken from directly above your dinner, flattening plates and cups into pure geometric shapes to let the, most likely, organic shapes of your food stand out all the more.

You can use the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus’s Hybrid Zoom to great effect here. The dual camera setup lets you zoom in, framing your food, without the detail loss caused by standard mobile phone digital zooming. Just pinch to zoom and the phone does the rest.

Food photography is also a great time to use the Huawei-Leica shallow depth of field effect, which blurs out the background to bring your food into sharper relief. Using this is a great idea if you want to shoot from an angle rather than straight down, to make the restaurant, or surroundings, part of the image without letting it pull focus away from your food.

A plate of food and a glass of wine