Because camera phones are typically more simplistic than most stand-alone digital cameras, observing good technique is central to making great photographs. The first thing you should do is to make sure that your camera lens is clean and dust-free -- a wipe with any eyeglass cloth will do the trick. Then set your camera to take pictures at the highest resolution and image size possible. These steps will improve your shots dramatically regardless of what you're photographing.
When choosing subject matter, it's important that you familiarize yourself with your camera phone's limitations. Such devices usually don't do well with movement or low light. Scenes with either of these conditions may turn out blurry, and dimly-lit images will often contain digital "noise," or grainy imperfections. If your phone has a built-in LED flash, use it to illuminate nearby subjects, but it will do little good if you're shooting something far away. As you frame your picture, avoid using the digital zoom because this feature simply crops the image, resulting in a more pixilated photograph. Instead, move closer to or farther away from your subject matter, if possible.
Once you have your picture composed, there are still a couple of things to remember before you press the shutter release button. Because camera phones often have a slow shutter speed, try to hold your device as steady as possible when taking the picture. For best results, hold the phone with both hands, take a deep breath and slowly exhale as you snap the photo. When you hit the button, you'll probably notice a slight delay. Compensate for this lag by continuing to hold the camera still for a second or two after you depress the shutter release button.
After you've taken some photographs, there are still things you can do to improve them or to make them more interesting. Adobe Photoshop, used for editing photos on a desktop or laptop computer, offers numerous tools with which you can clean up and sharpen your images, or even make them look better when enlarged. If you want to edit images directly on your phone, programs like the iPhone's PhotoForge offer tools like automatic noise reduction, white balance and exposure adjustments, and the ability to create filter effects.
Armed with these tips and techniques, you'll be surprised what you can do with a simple camera phone.
More Great Links
- Baldridge, Aimee. "The Camera Phone Book." Washington: National Geographic. 2007.
- Bilton, Nick. "Mobile Phones Eliminate Single-Serving Devices." The New York Times. Jan. 6, 2010. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/mobile-phones-ingest-more-single-serving-devices/
- Hadhazy, Adam. "How to Take Better Cell Phone Photographs." TechNewsDaily. Jan. 29, 2010. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://www.technewsdaily.com/how-to-take-good-pictures-with-your-cell-phone-100128-0111/
- "History of Wireless Communications." CTIA--The Wireless Association. September 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.ctia.org/media/industry_info/index.cfm/AID/10392
- Jeffries, Stuart. "The Rise of the Camera-Phone." The Guardian. Jan. 8, 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jan/08/stuart-jeffries-camera-phones
- Johnson, Dave. "Digital Focus: Better Photos from Your Camera Phone." June 14, 2005. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://www.pcworld.com/article/120980/digital_focus_better_photos_from_your_camera_phone.html
- Johnson, Dave. "Five Tips for Great Photos with Your Cell Phone." PC World. March 2, 2009. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://www.pcworld.com/article/159775/five_tips_for_great_photos_with_your_cell_phone.html
- Johnson, Joel. "Take High-Quality Pics with Your Phone's Low-Quality Camera." Popular Mechanics. Oct. 1, 2009. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/4282963
- "Photo Gallery: How to Take Camera Phone Pictures." National Geographic. 2011. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-tips/camera-phone-photos/#/fountain-portrait-england_23020_600x450.jpg
- "PhotoForge." GhostBirdSoftware. 2011. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.ghostbirdsoft.com/#photoforge
- Maney, Kevin. "Baby's Arrival Sparks Birth of Cellphone Camera--and Societal Evolution." USA Today. Jan. 23, 2007. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/kevinmaney/2007-01-23-kahn-cellphone-camera_x.htm
- Rocco, Shawn. "Cellular Obscura." Dec. 3, 2010. (Jan. 3, 2011)http://cellularobscura.blogspot.com/
- Smith Aaron. "Mobile Access 2010." Pew Internet and American Life Project. July 7, 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Mobile-Access-2010.aspx
- TechNewsDaily Staff. "Gallery: Cell Phone Photographs." TechNewsDaily. Jan. 28, 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011)http://www.technewsdaily.com/shawn-rocco-cell-phone-photos-100128-0112/