It’s the camera we have with us the most, isn’t it? So we might as well learn to use it as well as possible. That thing in your pocket can shoot an occasional decent photo, as long as you pay attention to a few details. Here are my tips for maximizing that lousy point-n-shoot that’s also your cellphone.
- Motion/camera shake is the most common problem for smartphone camera shooters. The best technique is: steady yourself. If you are standing, hold the camera in two hands and jam your elbows into your sides. This will create a ‘human tripod’ that will help your overall image sharpness.
- Recognize that the lag time (usually about a half second or so) is a fact of life with these point-n-shoot machines, so try to anticipate it: plan ahead, and if you’re trying to shoot that shot of the bride walking past you down the aisle, learn your camera’s lag time so you can shoot a bit early and catch the action.
- Check your camera phone’s settings to see what quality options are available to you. You’ll probably want to shoot at the highest option most of the time, unless you know what you’re shooting is only for quick email/messaging use.
- Make sure to keep your fingers out of the front of the camera’s lens! This can be a big problem if you’re not careful. I usually hold my camera phone by my fingertips to take care of this problem.
- Droid specific tip: if you’re shooting an outdoor scene and the result looks too light, a good trick it to reshoot with the camera’s flash turned on. The flash will fire, not affecting the image, but the camera will use a smaller aperture because of the flash, darkening your image by about 25%.
- Clean that lens off! It’s been in your pocket, or your purse, after all. It’s gotten sweated upon, dropped, lost and found. It leads a pretty tough existence, so it stands to reason that the camera lens isn’t going to be pristine. Check it for smudges and dirt before you shoot, and wipe it off if dirty.
I plan a followup post that will look at a bunch of the cool apps that are out there for your smartphone enjoyment…but they’re only enjoyable if you’ve shot a decent photograph! So if you haven’t taken the time to master the photographic quirks of your smartphone, what better time than now.
Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog