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When you’re going on a city break, taking an incredible picture that captures the essence of the place is something that’s always on the wish list.

But when so many people have visited that same city before, it’s tough to capture shots that feel unique, or haven’t been replicated hundreds of times over by keen Instagrammers before you.

So when we took the newly launched Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus to Barcelona, we wanted to show you how to take amazing pictures that stand out from the crowd.

Surfer stood on a beach

With the 13MP and 5MP dual camera system on the Xperia 10, and the 12MP + 8MP setup on the Xperia 10 Plus, taking high quality images is made easy. Try using the Bokeh effect and 2X optical zoom features* to get an artistic effect, or get closer to the subject of your image without moving your own position.

To get the most out of your Xperia smartphone when you’re taking city photography, we’ve compiled a list of top tips.

Barcelona cityscape, with a swing in the foreground.

1 – Capture shots in 21:9
One of the biggest advantages of the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus is that you can capture imagery in 21:9 aspect ratio. What’s more, as you take the photo, you’ll see everything you’re capturing right there on the screen. Shots in the 21:9 ratio quite simply fit more in, ideal for a gorgeous panoramic-style effect as shown in the cityscape shot above. There’s plenty of room for the swing in the foreground, as though you’re soaring over the buildings below.

Structure reflecting light from it’s windows

2 – Play with the light
There’s a lot to be said for golden hour, when the light turns redder and softer just before sunset, bathing everything it touches in a warm, summery glow. But even in daylight, you can take brilliant photographs by using clouds, skies and reflections of light as your own personal props.

Four columns in the sun

3 – Use Manual Mode
If you want to make your photos stand out from the crowd, head to manual mode. This is where you can alter the settings to achieve the exact look you want (and it’s always better to alter the settings before you take the image rather than using filters afterwards). Adjust the white balance to account for the lighting in your shot, while if you’re shooting at night, you may need to up the ISO setting to let more light into the lens.

Barcelona architecture

4 – Get up close
If you’re at Parc Guell, standing a few metres back from Gaudi’s famous lizard and snapping away to your heart’s content, you’re going to be producing an image everyone has seen before. Instead, look for unusual angles by moving the phone into different positions.

Communal bikes in Barcelona

5 – Look for patterns and small details
Strong, clean patterns can produce striking images, even when the subject is part of the city’s everyday landscape. Above, an image of bicycles-for-hire is rendered interesting by the position of the phone, with the bikes seeming to repeat endlessly against a similarly staggered segment of palm trees.

What are your photography hacks when you take your Xperia out and about? Let us know in the comments below.

*2X optical zoom is exclusive to the Xperia 10 Plus