Whether you're a newcomer to taking pictures or a seasoned camera veteran, taking great pictures with a smartphone camera isn't always easy. Things have gotten substantially better though with more recent smartphones like the HTC One M9, which now uses a 20MP rear-facing camera sensor instead of the 4MP Ultra Pixel camera from last year's One M8. Although the cameras on smartphones are no substitute for a real professional camera or a really good point and shoot, you can get some really great shots especially if you're utilizing the camera settings baked in. This is true with the HTC One M9 as there are numerous different settings and camera features to play with, most of which can help you enhance the overall image quality and ending result after taking pictures.
While in some cases you may have just enough time to open up the camera and snap off a shot before you lose your chance to get the picture you want, but if you have the time beforehand to set things to optimize your images before taking them, make sure to select the right camera mode for what you're shooting. If you're trying to grab a picture of text on a page for instance, HTC has a "text" mode just for this particular type of photo.
Since lighting might become a common factor during any instance where you're taking pictures, another mode you'll want to acquaint yourself with is HDR. You won't always get the best lighting for any situation, sometimes it'll be too dark, other times it'll be too light. HDR works to combine images with multiple exposure rates into one image that brings out the best in both light and dark areas of the scene to produce the highest quality shot possible.
When taking pictures, sometimes you'll be able to leave the Max ISO on auto and images will come out just fine, but in situations where lower light levels might be present, adjusting the ISO settings to let in more light can help to get you a slightly better image result when taking pictures in low light. You can tweak the settings between auto, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 depending on what you need. The next time you think adjusting the ISO settings might be a factor, play with them and see which looks best for the images you're trying to take.
While the first few details we mentioned here can sort of be used while playing things by ear in a case by case basis, one thing that can help you get the best pictures possible is making sure you change the default aspect ratio for shooting and leaving it at this adjustment. HTC has this set to 16:9 so the viewfinder for the camera takes up the entire screen, but you will get more detail and a better resolution shot if you adjust this to the regular aspect ratio for the image sensor which is 10:7. This will make the image more square than before but you can always crop it after the image has been taken to get it just the way you want it.
Unlike some smartphone cameras, HTC's One M9 has a full on Manual Mode for you to mess around with which lets you change and adjust nearly every detail of the image from Max ISO settings, to shutter speed, to the white balance. Playing around with manual mode is going to take some getting use to if you don't have a lot of camera experience, but having the features there can allow for some amazing quality images if you get things just right, and practice makes perfect. Just like with HDR and Text, Manual Mode can be found in the camera modes button which is the left most button at the bottom of the screen after you open up the camera options.
Sometimes you won't be able to get as close to your image subjects as you'd like, and in this case you may need to end up using the zoom. In most cases the zoom on smartphone cameras is not ideal, and this is because it's just a digital zoom so it's all software. With the 20MP camera sensor in the HTC One M9 though the digital zoom is better than in last year's model phone from HTC, so don't shy away from the zoom completely. You don't want to zoom all the way in for your shots as this will result in things looking too blurry and grainy, but zooming in just a little can help you get a slightly better shot of your subject without losing too much clarity of the photo.
Most smartphone cameras are equipped to handle the processing of auto focusing your images while also setting up for the correct exposure with the auto-exposure feature. The HTC One M9's 20MP rear camera is no different, and these are things you'll want to acquaint yourself with. It may take some getting used to and may end up requiring you to got through a few photos before you finally get the hang of things, but try to become familiar with the right times to let HTC's camera software do its job and give you the exposure and the focus of your subjects automatically. You can alternatively tap the screen to auto-focus and auto-expose points of your images as well, but there will be times where it is better to let the software carry the load. Taking lots of pictures and messing with this particular detail can help you learn when and when not to use the auto functions.
Another mode to become acquainted with is your macro mode. If you're trying to take close-up shots to get extremely fine detail, this is the best mode for the job to give you the absolute best possible photo. Macro mode will tend to blur things out in the background to help with the focus on the main subject, so if this is what you're wanting then check out Macro mode to see how it fares with your subjects.
Even after you play around with different camera settings and modes, images may still not come out quite like how you want them, and in this case you can take things a bit further and adjust, tweak, and enhance/edit them after the images have already been taken and are sitting in your gallery. You can give light touches of enhancement to the photos using HTC's built-in edit features, but it might benefit you to look into an application which gives you a little more control and a lot more features for editing your images. This way if the picture doesn't come out how you want it by messing with the camera adjustments before taking it, you can alter even the littlest details afterward to get things perfect, and many apps offer tons of options for enhancing your pictures.