Just because your camera doesn’t have a large sensor or a nice lens doesn’t mean that you can’t take great pictures with it. As much as I love taking my Canon 5D Mark II out with me, she (her name is Dahlia) can be a bit bulky at times in my messenger bag. On top of that, I can’t exactly fully justify the purchase of a Micro Four Thirds camera or a Leica X1 in this economy. So at times, I find myself turning to my T-Mobile G1. Here’s how to take better photos with a cameraphone.
Note: The above photo was shot with my T-Mobile G1.
1. Don’t Use Digital Zoom
For us professionals, we know this by now. Digital zoom blows up the pixels, and this can simply be done on your computer using Microsoft Picture Viewer, Infranview or some other program that you may use. The cameraphone is essentially a tiny handheld with a prime lens. That being said, get up close and shoot your subject.
Digital zoom can make your images look terrible. When I was shooting my sister’s graduation, I saw many people using their cameraphones to take pictures and also using the digital zoom. Because of the low light environment, they were essentially blowing up a noisy image. People complain enough about grain, minimize it by not using the zoom.
2. Light Your Subjects Well
Always remember that content is king. That being said, lighting is essential to your photography. For starters, don’t shoot into the sun because you won’t be able to see your subjects well unless the camera makes them very noisy. If you shoot with the sun behind you, you’ll have your subjects squinting at you. Leave the camera’s exposure (or brightness) settings on the standard mode. Making the shot brighter without proper lighting just throws off the color balance of the entire shot. Also remember to keep your white balance on Auto and the metering exposure on Center-Weighted.
Don’t be scared, this can be done by just exploring your settings a bit further.
3. Explore Your Settings
The potential of your cameraphone can be unleashed if you’ve go through the settings a bit. That doesn’t mean that you need a iPhone or a G1 though. I used to do this with just a regular flip phone. Experimentation is key and if you don’t know what you doing, you can always remember that Google is your friend.
4. Hold The Phone Correctly
It is always best to hold your phone with two hands. It doesn’t have image stabilization built-in. If it does, it’s digital that won’t do much of anything at all. The slightest movement can make your pictures look blurry. The phone may be very lightweight, and your hands are probably steady, but you still want to get the best quality possible. Flip your phone horizontal and hold it the way you hold your point-and-shoot. Otherwise, try to hold your phone with two hands.
5. Use The Highest Resolution
Using the highest resolution will guarantee the best images that can be edited later on if needed. Your cameraphone may call these settings economy, fine or superfine. Superfine is usually the highest setting.
6. Explore Apps in your Phone’s Market
This is where the smartphone users will be at an advantage. The Apple App Store has a plethora of these. Android also has quite a bit, such as FXcamera. Give them all a try and figure out which ones suit your needs the best. Some wonderful images come out of phones using these apps.