6 Tips for Improving Camera Phone Photos

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Taken with iPhone 4G

Camera phones have opened up a whole new world to hobbyists who enjoy the convenience and ease of phone photography. Learn some of the secrets you need to know to take great looking photographs with your camera phone by simply taking advantage of its capabilities, and learn how easy it is to share your photos to your friend either electronically or by printing them out. Whether you’ve never used your camera phone before or you already snap and send phone pictures daily, there are ways to improve your phone photography and shape up your photos.

1. Take care of your lens
Camera phone lenses get dirty very easily. Phones spend a lot of time in pockets, in bags and being used in all manner of weather and conditions. As a result they get dirty and can easily become damaged – fingerprints are a common problem on camera lenses – especially if your phone doesn’t have a lens cover. From time to time clean the lens of your camera using a soft cloth (sunglasses cleaning cloths are great).

2. Avoid Using the Digital Zoom
As tempting as it might be to zoom in on your subject when taking your picture (if you have a zoom feature on your camera phone), if the zoom is a ‘digital zoom’ it will decrease the quality of your shot to use it (you’ll end up with a more pixelated shot). Plus you can always edit your shot later using photo editing software on your computer. Of course some camera phones are beginning to hit the market with ‘optical zooms’ – these are fine to use as they don’t enlarge your subject by enlarging pixels. Instead, physically move yourself closer to your subject in order to fill up more of the frame.

3. Use the highest resolution possible on your camera phone
Some phones allow you to choose what resolution you want to take photos at. It almost goes without saying (but we like to state the bleeding obvious) that the higher your resolution the clearer your shot will be. This is especially true for camera phones which often have sensors of under 1 megapixel in them. Keep in mind however that the higher the resolution the larger the file size of the images you take – this means if you want to send images they can end up taking a long time to send.

4. Timing is everything
Hold still! Unlike the shutter release on a regular camera, which fires when you press down, many cell phone cameras do not take the picture until you lift your finger off the button. Most camera phones suffer from shutter lag, meaning the photo is not captured until a second or two after you snap it. Remember these two timing issues and be sure to hold your camera phone very still until you are sure your image is captured.

5. Edit Images Later
Whilst it can be fun to use your camera phone’s inbuilt editing and effects, editing pictures later on your computer produces much better quality images. Take your shots in color at high resolution to keep your options open on how to treat it later. You can always make it black and white on your computer, but you can’t make it color if you take it in Black and White mode.

Taken with SE K810i

6. Get Close to Your Subject
One of the most common mistakes with camera phone images is that their subject ends up being a tiny, unrecognizable object in the distance. Camera phone images tend to be small due to low resolution (although this is changing) – so fill up your view finder with your subject to save having to zoom in on the subject in editing it later (which decreases quality even more). Having said this, getting too close on some model camera phones creates distortion and focusing issues (particularly if the camera phone doesn’t have a macro or close focusing mode).

7.Remember the limitations
More likely than not, your camera phone does not allow you to make any adjustments to compensate for lighting and environmental conditions. It is difficult to capture fast-moving subjects or anything in low light with phone photography. Do not depend on your camera phone to take high-quality photos of your favorite band in concert and expect the snaps to be even halfway decent. The best camera phone pictures are taken of still subjects in bright daylight. If shooting indoors, light your subject well.

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