Remember when cameras used to be just cameras and telephones were used just to call people? These days, gadgets are designed to multi-task. You can now use phones to do many things such as take pictures, access the internet, and send written messages. One obvious advantage of having a camera phone is that it is very convenient for you to take a picture whenever you want to, if you’re the type who always has a mobile phone nearby. You don’t have to stick a bulky camera in your bag all the time in the off chance that you’ll see something interesting enough to shoot on the way to the store.
Of course, the features of mobile phone cameras are severely limited. You won’t have much control since there aren’t much adjustment settings to play with, the resolution is lower than a regular camera, and the image quality might not be up to par. However, there are new models out in the market that are addressing these liabilities, and technology is evolving so fast that pretty soon mobile phone cameras will be able to compete with regular point and shoot cameras.
At this time, the megapixels (MP) of camera phones can range from VGA to over 12MP. I must stress that the image quality is not necessarily proportional to the number of megapixels. Having a high MP count simply means your picture can be printed in bigger sizes. Of course, a very low MP such as 1MP means you will end up with a small sized image which you might not be able to satisfactorily post process without losing quality. A 3MP camera phone is sufficient in most cases (The two photos in this article were taken with a 2MP camera phone).
To get the most out of your mobile phone camera, keep a few things in mind:
Go closer – far away objects might come out blurred or too small to be recognizable. Avoid using the digital zoom (if it has this feature) if you can since this can reduce image quality by making pixels bigger. Also, try not to crop in post processing to make your subject look larger in the frame. This will also negatively affect the quality. Instead, go closer to your subject but not too close or again, the image will be out of focus.
Don’t move while you’re taking the shot – camera phones (at least mine isn’t) are not equipped with shutter speed adjustment settings. There seems to be no way to tell just how fast the shutter moves so best to keep still when you take the shot since there’s a possibility it will show camera shake.
Play with the camera modes – many camera phones have modes such as panorama, night mode and sequence mode. Your phone might even have a video mode. These are all very easy to use since they basically do the hard work for you. The panorama mode will stitch several pictures into one right then and there and the night mode can automatically illuminate dark areas.
Take lots of pictures – your phone screen might be too small to make any photo mistakes noticeable. If you’re used to taking five shots of a subject with a regular camera, take ten shots at least with your camera phone. Some of them might be blurry or pixilated and you won’t be able to tell until you upload the images in the computer. If you have lots of shots, at least there will be more options to choose from.
Take pictures with crazy camera angles – phone cameras can go where regular cameras might have difficulty accessing. No, I’m not implying that you become a voyeur. Just that you don’t have to stick to the usual ‘camera at eye level’ position. Camera phones are really small and thin compared to ordinary cameras and easier to handle. You can take a shot with one hand and play around by angling the phone in an unusual viewpoint.
Clean your lens – the phone camera lens might be tiny but it doesn’t mean you don’t need to clean it. It’s a common oversight not to wipe the lens properly and your shot might blurry not because of camera shake but because of the dried up sweat that has built up on the lens (yes, it’s a gross thought). We handle our phones all the time; we put them in our pockets, stick them to our ears, keep a firm grip on them as we walk, on place them on public tables or countertops. Can you imagine the dirt that can accumulate on the lens if you don’t bother to clean it? A cleaning cloth used for eyeglasses or sunglasses will do the trick.
Tags: cellphone photography, mobile phone photography, photography inspiration, photography tip