Are you a baby boomer traveler who never uses their cell phone camera? Uh, that would be me. But now that I have a new Motorola Droid phone, I’m determined to put all of the features to use, including the camera. There are time when I’m traveling that it would come in handy. So, today’s guest post came just in time for me. Professional photographers Tom and Michele Grimm, authors of the new handbook, The Basic Book of Digital Photography: How to Shoot, Enhance, and Share Your Digital Pictures, share 5 tips for taking great camera phone pictures.
As camera phones become more prevalent, they are expected to become as popular for casual photography as regular point-and-shoot digital cameras. Unfortunately, camera phone photos are often poor or mediocre. But that is usually the fault of careless shooters, not the quality of the phone’s camera. Here are five simple ways to instantly help you make better pictures with your camera phone.
1. Keep the Camera Phone Steady. Many cell phones are small, lightweight, and awkward to hold for shooting. In order to prevent blurred pictures, use both hands and brace your arms against your body. For additional support, lean against something solid, such as a tree or a wall. A common problem is the delay after you press the shutter release until the camera fires, so remember to remain motionless until you are certain the shutter has opened and closed.
2. Get Close to Your Subjects. Move closer physically, or adjust an optical zoom lens (if available) toward its telephoto setting. Note that shooting close up at a wide-angle setting can distort your subjects, which is particularly unflattering for people. Do not use a digital zoom function; it only enlarges the pixels in a picture, which degrades the image.
3. Make Sure Your Subjects are in Good Light. That way your pictures will show the most detail. Beware of harsh sunlight that creates dark shadows and high contrast in phone photos. If available, use the built-in light or flash even in daylight to give more clarity to your subject. Or, when indoors, turn on more lights if you can. Try to avoid backlighted subjects, unless you want them to turn out as silhouettes.
4. Keep the Lens Clean. Most lenses are protected only by a see-through plastic or glass cover, which can quickly get dirty when carrying your camera phone in a pocket or purse. Also, the lens is quite small, so dust or finger smudges will be more evident in your pictures. Wipe the lens gently with a microfiber cleaning cloth designed for regular camera lenses or eyeglasses.
5. Always Shoot at the Highest Image Quality. The names of the quality settings vary with the phone manufacturer. For example, the choices might be called: high, medium, low; or super fine, fine, normal; check your phone’s user guide. Image files are automatically compressed to save space in the phone’s internal memory or on a removable memory card; the higher the image quality you set, the less compression.
©2009 Tom Grimm and Michele Grimm, authors of The Basic Book of Digital Photography: How to Shoot, Enhance, and Share Your Digital Pictures
Thanks to Tom Grimm and Michele Grimm, authors of The Basic Book of Digital Photography: How to Shoot, Enhance, and Share Your Digital Pictures, for today’s tips. The husband-and-wife photojournalism team have spent nearly four decades traveling the globe. They’ve visited every continent and more than 130 countries in search of the perfect photographic image. Their photographs and articles have been published worldwide in magazines and newspapers and on the Internet. The Grimms are authors and illustrators of thirteen adult and children’s books. To learn more about them, please visit www.TomGrimm.com.
Disclosure: I have included an Amazon link to The Basic Book of Digital Photography: How to Shoot, Enhance, and Share Your Digital Pictures for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage for purchases made at Amazon.com.