Even though the camera phones are no match to high end DSLRs and its features to control the camera, the camera phone is a strong contender for creating good images. After all photography is an art and the camera is just the tool in the hands of an artist. Recently, I was astonished to see amazing photographs on Flickr shot with the camera phone and thus decided to compile the list of tips for camera phone users for creating compelling images.
- Employ Quality Light: Lighting is one of the most important aspects of the art and a good understanding of light and it’s nature is essential for getting the pictures that you want.
- Aesthetic Composition: The effective placement of the visual elements (and the subject) in the photographic frame according to the rule of thirds and the golden ratio helps in drawing the viewers’ attention to your center of interest. Aligning the subject along the power points adds dimension and interest to an otherwise flat frame.
- Try Different Angles Of Shooting:Experiment with varying viewpoints and angles of shooting to introduce creativity. The angle of shooting convey a certain qualities in the photograph — strength, intimacy, authority, etc.
- Unique Perspective: Perspective portrays your unique viewpoint in the photograph. It enables you to convey your creative outlook; by portraying things around you with a difference. Adding your perspective to the composition weaves a story around the captured scene; elaborating your unique style of observing and photographing and thus helps in making a mark with your photographs.
- Achieve Simplicity: Simplicity is one of the main components of good photographs and is the technique used for enhancing the visual appeal. Simplicity signifies the value of the art by presenting the idea, subject or scene unpretentiously.
- Neutral Background: Not all camera phones provide semi-auto modes and thus eliminating the background clutter by fine-tuning aperture settings for a narrow DOF is not possible with camera phones. Simply, fill the frame with the subject or choose the location with neutral background when using a camera phone as the tool for expressing your art form.
- Shoot In The Magic Hour: The golden magic houris perhaps the most beautiful time to shoot outdoors. The distinct properties of light at this time render beautiful colors, mood and feel to your captures.
- Anticipate The Shutter Lag: Getting used to your camera phone’s timing gives you a better chance of not missing the shots. Being aware of the shutter lag and processing time taken by the camera helps you in capturing the moment with precision when something interesting happens.
- Keep Still: Avoid camera shake at all costs. The camera shake results in blurring the image. Hold the camera still, frame the shot, hold the breath, press the shutter all down and hold it for a second before you release it. Holding the camera still alone helps in getting sharp images.
- Know Your Camera Phone: Even though the excellence of the work of an artist doesn’t depend on his tools, the mastery of tools help the photographer in getting desired results. Similarly knowing the camera and its features help the photographer in controlling the camera in a better way and thus better images.
- Postpone Image Editing: The camera phones are an amazing gift of technology. The latest camera phones provide various modes for tweaking the white-balance and apps for editing the images. Instead of using the editing tools on the small screen of the camera phone, its better to postpone the photo-editing after the photographs are transferred to computer.
- Photo Finishing: With the camera phone and its limited features it is not possible to attain the desired result, for instance blurring the background. You can however add finishing touches to the photograph like enhancing the contrast, correcting the color temperature or even stitch panoramas for the photographs taken with the camera phone by using photo-editors.
- Keep Away From The Digital Zoom: Most of the camera phones feature the digital zoom. Using the digital zoom is like zooming the pixels in the image editor. Instead of getting closer to the subject, it just enlarges the pixels and result in poor image quality. Opt to move closer to the subject manually and use the camera zoom only if it features the optical zoom.
- Capture The Expression: Photographing people being one of the most important utility of the camera, focusing on the expressions goes a long way in creating interesting and lively photographs. Capturing expressionsgives an opportunity to portray human emotions on the photographic frame and adds liveliness to the photograph.
- Take Lots Of Them: In the digital age, you can store a lot of photographs to the memory card and later transfer the photographs to your PC. The same benefit implies to the camera phones as well and thus gives you an opportunity to learn by experimenting with various settings (and thus get comfortable with the camera and your style of photography). The more photographs to take, the more you explore, the more you get to learn.
Feel free to add to the list your tips and techniques for photographing with camera phones.