Camera Phone Photography: 5 quick tips

Camera phone technology has improved rapidly over the past three years, so much so that camera phones are overtaking digital point-and-shoots as the every day camera of choice for most smartphone users. Personally, I don’t even carry a camera around these days unless on assignment for work or on holiday. My Droid X2’s 8 megapixels, though far behind the futuristic capabilities of advanced point-and-shoots, is more than enough for day to day photo opportunities. Plus, one device is easier to carry than two, and I tend to value that kind of simplicity.

That said, camera phone photography does have its own set of limitations and challenges. Some are the same challenges of digital photography in general, while others are unique to camera phones, but never fear, these limitations and challenges CAN be overcome. Below are 5 tips for stellar camera phone photography:

1. Get close to the subject — Camera phones, with their lower resolution and digital zoom limitations, tend to leave amateurs with tiny, unrecognizable subjects. Get up close and personal. You’ll have a clearer subject and more interesting shot.

Bad camera phone photography of Jordin Sparks
Don’t follow my example. This picture of Jordin Sparks that I took from a thousand miles away is NOT a good picture.

2. Choose the highest quality setting available on your camera. It’ll take up more space on your phone, but why limit the photo’s detail and resolution when you can upload the pictures and free up space later?

High-res Blackberry photo of the U.S. Capitol
Would you believe this picture was taken on a Blackberry?

3. Stabilize, stabilize, stabilize — the stealthy walk-by photo snap rarely works.

Unstable camera phone shot
This picture of my man Diamond Rings would have been so much better had I stopped dancing for three seconds.

4. Edit later, on your desktop or tablet, for better results. Picasa is the amateur’s (free!) best friend.

5. As with traditional photography, quantity bets quality. The more pictures you take, the more likely you are to walk away with that one great shot. More importantly, the more pictures you take, the more you will get used to your phone’s camera. You’ll be a better judge of its shutter lag (the time between pressing the shoot button and the picture actually taking), know its lighting sensitivities better and be a better judge of how to coax the highest possible resolution from each and every shot.

Spending an hour or two after the fact going through 200 pictures and only finding 5 that you love is better than being bummed that the 10 pictures you did take were all mediocre.

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