5 Camera Phone Tips
Improving Shots Captured with Your Handheld Device
Let’s face it. These days, the standard go-to camera for capturing the world around us is usually the one that comes with your smartphone. Even professionals, such as Peter Lik, have embraced this incredibly convenient technology that can produce crystal clear landscape photos, action shots, portraits, and yes… selfies (here comes the obligatory groan from every non-millennial adult). Below are just a few valuable tips that will help maximize every planned and impulsive photograph taken with the same contraption you use to play music, check weather, and text your annoying relatives:
1. Clean Your Lens
Would you prefer to look at a beautiful sunset through a clean windowpane or a filthy one? The minute you touch that tiny lens with your sweaty or dirty fingers – you know who you are – or drop it into your gritty pants pocket, it becomes instantly compromised and your images will be less than crisp. To get the best out of your precious gadget, take care of the lens the way you would for any other camera. Constantly wipe clean using a soft cloth and avoid using solvents.
2. Never Zoom
Unfortunately, for those of us who try and use our smartphones like any professional camera, the cold truth is that there are only so many functions it can actually do well. Zoom is not one of them. By zooming with your smartphone, you are just digitally cropping the image and losing quality with every manual “pinch & expand.” The answer is to actually get as physically close to your subject matter as possible when framing. If you still need to, you can always crop the image afterwards.
3. Steady Your Phone
Unless you are going for a blurry or artsy image – you will almost always attempt to get the steadiest capture possible. To accomplish this, you can try resting your elbow(s) or the smartphone itself on a solid surface, such as a nearby rock, tree stump, or even the shoulder of a really good friend – strangers don’t work as well. Always use both hands. Take it a step further by purchasing a stand for your device or try Pete-approved Joby tripods for smartphones – which are light, durable and built for just such a need.
4. Be Ready
How many times have you encountered the most amazing, incredible, unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime scene, only to spend the next painful minute fumbling with your phone’s security code or camera settings? Don’t miss the shot. If you think you may take even one photo during your day, deactivate your security code and make sure your apps and camera settings are where you want them. This will eliminate wasted time and get you that million-dollar shot of a Bigfoot that no one would have believed existed.
5. Let There Be Light
Natural lighting is undoubtedly the best choice to illuminate any subject matter, from your angry cat to the Colorado Rockies. However, if you find yourself indoors without access to natural light, avoid using your flash at all costs. As you may have already experienced, a smartphone flash can do more harm to an image than help it. Instead, search for any artificial light that may help out: lamps, overhead lighting, etc. But, be careful about serious glare that can result. You may have to experiment a little, but that is all part of the adventure of photography and getting to know your smartphone.