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It’s official: we’re in the Year of the Pig, and celebrations across the world are well underway.

The Chinese New Year begins according to the lunar calendar rather than on January 1, and this year’s Spring Festival ends on February 19 – giving you plenty of chances to snap incredible pictures on your Xperia XZ3.

With its advanced 19MP Motion EyeTM camera, the XZ3 is the perfect device to help you get amazing shots on the move amidst the colourful, fast-paced parades and celebrations. Thanks to its SteadyShotTM technology, it’s also ideal for correcting any ‘hand-wobble’ that might occur as you’re shooting on-the-go.

Lanterns line the street for Chinese New Year

Get the shot: 16:9 aspect ratio, HDR off, Shutter Speed 1/100, f 2.0, iso 80, EV -1

To help you get shots that will stand out at one of the most photographed global events in the world, check out our top tips below:

A dragon dances down the street for Chinese New Year

Get the shot: 16:9 aspect ratio, HDR off, Shutter Speed 1/4000, f 2.0, iso 1600, EV -1

Small details make a big impact

At Chinese New Year parades, there could be hundreds of people clamouring to snap a picture of the dragon as it dances down the street. But look closer and you’ll find hundreds of beautiful moments and details that capture the atmosphere of the event. It could be people enjoying the festivities, pets that have been brought along to take part, or the incredible decorations and delicious treats lining the walkways.

Chinese New Year decorations, taken using the XZ3

Get the shot: 16:9 aspect ratio, HDR off, Shutter Speed 1/160, f 2.0, iso 40, EV -0.5

What will really make your photographs stand out is your ability to see the little storytelling details that sum up the event in a more unusual and graphic manner. Try taking close ups that combine the subject of the image with a background element that lets the viewer know exactly where you are.

Get the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/1600; ISO 800; EV +0.3

Use the Xperia’s manual exposure

Your XZ3 will do a great job of working out the correct exposure, but if you want to have a consistent style for multiple Instagram pictures, then you need to think about how you want your images to look and control the exposure accordingly. In the below image we’ve used under exposure in order to give the images a defined shape in hard light, making the colours pop despite overcast conditions. You might find you like to overexpose for a brighter, lighter feel. The key is experimenting and working out what you like.

Get the shot: 16:9 aspect ratio, HDR off, Shutter Speed 1/1000, f 2.0, iso 400, EV -0.5

Use Autofocus burst

When things are happening quickly and the scene is changing fast, there are significant advantages to shooting a burst of images. If the position of your subject is changing rapidly, capturing the perfect shot in a single frame can simply boil down to a matter of luck. Shooting several images and using the XZ3’s Autofocus burst feature will allow you to select the best images.

Chinese New Year celebrations captured using the XZ3

Get the shot: 16:9 aspect ratio, HDR off, Shutter Speed 1/1000, f 2.0, iso 400, EV -0.5

Use the HDR feature

In manual mode you can shoot HDR images. When you have a tricky scene with both bright light and dark areas, it does a great job of capturing vibrant colours and details.

A pig decoration, snapped using the XZ3

Get the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/250; ISO 400;  EV 0.0

Don’t follow the crowd

At busy, popular events, search for a quiet back street or an unusual angle. Wear your most comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking in order to find that little niche no-one else has seen. We walked 14km when we took these pictures!

Small details from Chinese New Year celebrationsGet the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/100; ISO 50; EV +1.0

Adjust your shutter speed

For fast moving action use the Xperia’s manual shutter speed setting. Use a shutter speed of 1/1000 or faster to allow you to get crisp images of objects such as swaying lanterns and festive dancers!

Ornate costumes in the street parade for Chinese New YearGet the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/100; ISO 125;  EV -0.7

Change your perspective

If you want an interesting image, then you need to make sure you have a different perspective. Don’t just take wide scenes from head height: get up close, pull right back or kneel down. That way your picture will offer a real sense of the event. We crouched on the floor to get the shot below.

A street performer, captured using the XZ3Get the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/100; ISO 64; EV -0.3

Try Face metering

Sony Xperia XZ3 knows when there’s backlighting and accommodates for it, allowing you to get the best exposure. Face metering ensures that any faces the camera sees in the image are correctly exposed. When you’re shooting images of people this should be your go-to setting. Here, we used the manual EV between – 0.3 and -1 EV so we didn’t lose too much detail.

An image from a Chinese New Year parade captured using the XZ3Get the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/125; ISO 50; EV -0.3

Arrive early

At a major event you will need to get there before everyone else in order to guarantee the best photos and not just a shot of the backs of people’s heads. You have to be prepared to put in in the hours in order to get the best result.

Dancing dragons captured on the XZ3Get the shot: 4:3 aspect ratio; HDR off; Shutter Speed 1/125; ISO 40; EV 0.0

And if you’re looking to impress your social media followers with videos of the action, then the XZ3 can help you once again. Thanks to its 4K HDR Movie recording capabilities, you can shoot in true-to-life colour with incredible clarity – great for when you want to relive the experience of being there!

Have you snapped your own Chinese New Year pictures on your Xperia smartphone? Upload them to social media with the hashtag #Xperia so we can take an admiring look!