Most everyone is using their cell phone camera either exclusively or in addition to their ‘regular’ camera. You mobile phone may be a smartphone or a basic cell phone. Regardless of the brand or style, the fact that you have your cell phone near you most of the day and night means that you probably also have a camera with you all the time also.
The quality of cell phone cameras is improving rapidly and at this time cameras in the 8 MP neighborhood are becoming popular. Of course cell phone functionality is improving as well as the features of the apps that you import right into your cell phone to support your photo efforts.
As more people become aware of the abilities of the modern cell phone, smartphone or tablet mobile device cameras will be used more and more by both amateur and professional photographers.
During recent events such as Flight 1549’s Miracle on the Hudson, the devastation of Superstorm Sandy on the Eastern Seaboard or recent social upheaval in Syria and Iran the pictures were provided first and best by people, often called citizen journalists or street journalists, who were using their cell phone cameras.
With their ability to share images, video and stories immediately to blogs and social media cell phones and other mobile devices are at the cutting edge in the latest media revolution.
With Mobile Devices the Photo Editing Apps are a Key Part of the Picture Taking process
Cell phone apps are constantly being updated and old favorites are replaced by hot new titles. Your best bet is to explore online for available photo apps for smartphones. Reading some of the user reviews should also be very helpful when selecting photo apps.
The main point to remember is that cellphone and other types of digital photography are still photography. There may be some special considerations but the old rules regarding picture composition, focal points, focus, exposure and other considerations still apply.
Some Cell Phone Photo Tips
Smartphones typically use an LED flash – Most smartphone flashes function like LED flashlights. Their color temperature may not be accurate and they may not produce a fast enough flash to capture movement of any kind. If you have this type of camera flash on your cell phone try to add some other source of existing light to augment your lighting.
Avoid using the zoom function – on a cell phone the zoom function simply enlarges the size of a portion of your image using the same amount of picture information that made the original scene. By using the zoom function you are telling your camera to make a poor quality enlargement of one section of your original. Until some type of optical zoom becomes available your best option to get the best results will be to resize or crop your original photo files in photo editing software on the backend.
As your smartphone is a multipurpose device it gets used a lot. With that in mind be aware that the lens on your smartphone may be seriously smudged after being in your pocket for weeks and after your smartphone has been used in all kinds of weather.
Get close to your subject – One of the most common mistakes with camera phone images is that their subject ends up being a tiny, unrecognizable object in the distance. Camera phone images tend to be small so fill up your viewfinder with your subject.
Move slowly and keep steady – Be as still as you can when you press the shutter button to get the sharpest possible image. Due to their light weight and their odd shape this is more important to remember for cell phones than for a dedicated camera. Also, some phone cameras may have an unusually long lag time between when you press the button and when the picture is actually taken.
As with all photography, when taking portraits make sure your background is as uncluttered as possible. With a cell phone it will be very difficult to throw the background out of focus using a shallow depth-of-field.
Purchase an SD card with the largest capacity you can afford. Currently 32 GB or 64 GB cards are a good choice but check to see the maximum capacity your cell phone can accommodate. With a high capacity SD card you can take a lot more pictures on one run and you can also use your cell phone’s settings that yield the best quality results.
Working With Cell Phone Picture Files
How do I transfer my pictures and videos from my cellphone to my MS Windows computer?
I don’t hear this question as often as I did just a few years ago. Smartphones and advances in cellphone and tablet software have made the process much easier. If your device has the needed software, there will be an ‘import pictures and video function’ that will bring your picture files into your computer. Connect one end of a USB cable to the cell phone and the other into a USB port on the computer. Wait a few seconds for Windows to recognize the phone and display the AutoPlay window. Click the ‘Import pictures and videos’ option in the AutoPlay window, then the Import Settings link. Click Browse and select a folder on your computer in which to save the photos from the cell phone. Alternatively, leave the default ‘My Pictures’ destination folder selected.
If you have an older device you may still have options:
Try emailing the photos to your email address as an attachment to a message. This may not work due to the limitations of your device or mobile service
Buy a memory card for your cell phone. Check to see if your device takes a memory card and what kind is required. Many cell phones use a microSD Memory Card up to a capacity of 32GB or 64GB. MicroSD cards often include a converter that will allow your microSD card to fit in a regular SD card slot such as the one in most laptops. Also, your PC may have a card reader or you can buy and external car reader for your PC or Laptop for under $15.