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How to Take Cell Phone Photos
Cell Phone Photography?
Think you need a great digital camera to take good photographs? You probably already have one in your purse or pocket!
That's right - today's cell phones have advanced so much in recent years that you can take some really great photos no matter where you are. The newest smart phones on the market are so technologically advanced that you can take photographs and film video and then upload your creations to Flickr, YouTube or Facebook within seconds. No need for a USB cable or even a computer.
With digital image editing software available for download through a variety of cell phone applications, you can create stunning, artistic photos that will have your friends asking, "what kind of camera did you use?"
So, let's have some fun with the ubiquitous device! Here's how to take cell phone photos that rival any image you can create with more expensive digital cameras.
Photograph Capabilities of Cell Phones
Today's cell phones have evolved greatly over the past decade. Smart phones, and many other cell phone models now include the most, if not all, of the same capabilities of point and shoot digital cameras:
- Zoom in or out
- Turn flash on or off
- Auto focus
- Adjust focus and exposure
- Set white balance
- High megapixels (fine resolution)
- Ability to change resolution (to reduce image file size if desired)
- Effects (distortion, solarize, negative, grayscale, vintage, dots, distortion and more)
- Ability to choose between front-facing camera and rear-facing (allows you to take self portraits or photos of scenes behind you)
- Video capabilities
Unlike digital cameras, smart phones are mini computers and can do much more. With certain applications, you can immediately to edit your images on the fly to add filters, boost color, change to black and white, sepia tone, or antique, and even stretch or distort the photo. Not only that, but you can instantly share your photographs via Facebook or other photo sharing sites like Flickr or Picasa without waiting until you get back to your computer.
Taking photographs with your cell phone is just as easy as using a point and shoot digital camera. Just go to your camera settings and click. Now, if you want to change any of the settings (set forth above), do so. Most cell phones, even older models, at least have an auto-focus feature and built-in flash. Pressing the shutter release is either done on the side of the cell phone, or on a small icon on the face of the screen.
Like any other digital image, you can delete photos that do not turn out as you wish. Many cell phones have a bit of delay between pressing the shutter release and capturing the image. Keep this in mind and try to anticipate your shot. More recent/expensive models have a setting that allows you take photos without the shutter release delay.
Digital Photography with Your iPhone
Advantages of Cell Phone Photography
Many photographers who own expensive camera equipment still enjoy advantages of cell phone photography. Among other things, using a cell phone is less intrusive than holding up a camera. Often, subjects can remain more at ease and will act naturally while images are captured. When a camera goes up to a photographer's face, it can be a red flag that changes expressions (think of kids' faces with those "cheesy" grins) or causes the subject to perform in a non-natural manner.
Because cell phone photos are made without the photographer looking through a viewfinder, the broader viewpoint that is afforded can allow the photographer to make adjustments within the frame to capture elements of a photograph that might otherwise be missed. Think of it as having your range of vision widened, rather than narrowly focused through a lens at your subject.
The easy portability of a cell phone means that you'll probably always have it when a photo-taking opportunity presents itself. I've often found myself at one of my kids' soccer games or gymnastics meets without my regular camera. My cell phone is a handy substitute for a camera. Plus, as mentioned above, I can instantly email grandma and grandpa with the cute images captured at the game. Its practically real-time!
Finally, if you are not ready to invest in a digital camera, you can try your hand at photography with your cell phone. Just like other digital cameras, no film is required, and you can delete images you don't like. Once you learn how to take cell phone photos, you can decide whether and how much to invest in a stand-alone digital camera.
Cell Phone Photography Applications
If you own an iPhone, Droid, Casio Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony Ericcson, etc., you may want to consider cell phone photography applications.* Smart phones allow you you to download apps for free, or at a minimal cost. This can allow you greater flexibility in digital image editing right on your cell phone.
Alternatively, you can offload your photos from your cell phone to your computer and then use applications such as iPhoto to enhance or change the images that have been downloaded onto your laptop or tablet computer.
Among the various photography applications for cell phones, I've tried Lightbox Photos for Android, which is said to rival the Instagram application for iPhone. Lightbox automatically connects with social networking sites, including Facebook, so you can share your photos and view friends' photography. But I prefer using Lightbox for its photo effects. The application includes ten different filters that can slightly or dramatically change the images you capture on your phone.
There are a number of additional smart phone applications for photography, which include the following, among others:
- PicSay Photo Editor (regular or Pro versions)
- Adobe Photography Express
- QuickPix (allows quicker shutter speeds and can snap stills while you are shooting video)
- Pho.to Lab
- Camera+ (includes a stabilization feature that doesn't fire the shutter until the phone's motion sensor detects that you're holding it still)
- Pro Camera (adds independent focus and exposure points with full color-correction tools)
- Old Photo
*Note that I have not sampled all of the applications listed here. A review and comparison of various cell phone photography applications may be the subject of a future Hub.
Ready to Take Cell Phone Photos?
Its time for you to start considering your cell phone as more than just a device for phone calls or texts. Today's smart phones have some serious photography capabilities. And, the applications you can download will help take your cell phone photographs to artistic levels.
Take a new look at your cell phone and think about some of the great photos/art you can make with it!
Do you use your cell phone to take photographs?
© 2011 Stephanie Hicks