Where's my Camera When I Need it?

Jeff Cable

The days of missing those once-in-a-lifetime shots or picture-perfect opportunities because you left your camera at home may become a thing of the past due to the growing popularity and improved technology of camera phones. While their technological capabilities still pale in comparison to point-and-shoot digital cameras and digital SLRs, camera phones have become a convenient backup for those days when you are not equipped with your camera.

However, just because you take pictures with your cell phone doesn’t mean the rules of photography don’t apply. Here are some tips that may help make your camera phone images look like those taken with a digital camera (or as close to that as they can be).

Keep your lens clean – It sounds obvious, but be sure to keep your lens clean. Most people keep their phones in a pocket, purse, or backpack. These areas can cause dust and dirt to build up and subsequently show up in your pictures or even worse, scratch your lens. Consider purchasing some lens wipes to safely clean any harmful particles from your lens.

Keep still and focus your shot – Try to avoid moving your hand when shooting pictures with your camera phone. Like using any camera, a shaky hand will result in a blurry picture. And don’t forget to focus your shot. Most camera phones use an auto focus mechanism, which makes this task much easier. However, if you have the option of manually focusing the shot, you have a better chance of avoiding a blurry picture.

Plan your lighting conditions – Make sure you plan the lighting conditions for your picture. Though it is ideal to take your picture in a well-lit area, too much light may wash out your image. It’s also very important to avoid backlighting your subject. To do this, make sure the light is behind you and not behind your subject.

Frame your shot – Be sure to properly frame your shot. Although one advantage to camera phones is their ability to allow you to capture spontaneous moments, the rules of composition still apply. Properly framing your subject within the field will result in more appealing and professional-looking pictures. 

Mind your phone’s memory – Between ringtones, music, and text messages, you may be using more memory on your phone than you know, and taking pictures at a high-resolution takes up more memory than a low-resolution picture. Frequently emailing pictures you want to keep and deleting those you do not will help make sure you never run out of memory at the wrong time. If you have a memory card slot, it helps to purchase a memory card to boost the storage of your phone.

Don’t be afraid take tons of shots; they’re free! – What camera phones may lack in quality, they can make up for in quantity. Like most digital cameras, a camera phone allows you the luxury of taking as many pictures as you need and only keeping the ones you want.      

Now the only thing left to do is get out there and take pictures. Of course, even if you practice all of these tips with your camera phone, you may not always get your desired results. Don’t give up! Experiment with the different settings on your phone and practice each of these tips, and you will develop your very own techniques for taking memorable, high-quality shots with your camera phone.