Using Your Cell Phone to Take Pictures

To help promote our 2018 Calendar Photo Contest we’d like to provide our customers an opportunity to enter the contest without having a high end digital camera or a long background in photography.  It is my intention through this blog post to create better amateur photographers that have limited means and little time to fully immerse themselves into the endless info that surrounds photography.

Enter our 2018 Calendar Photo Contest by clicking HERE

If you have a smart phone purchased in the last 5 years or so you have a very powerful and intuitive camera always at you finger tips.  Many of us do not have the means to purchase even the low-end digital Camera but with the right knowledge, the camera in your phone can do what high end cameras just years ago accomplished.  The trick is knowing how to use it properly and what add on apps you can get for free that will allow the images to become truly worthy of sharing and even printing.

Learn your basic camera functions available on the most popular smart phones.

Now that you have an idea of the basic functions of your smart phone here’s some tips to go one step further.

Don’t use the zoom feature. Crop the photo afterwards instead.

The Zoom feature will leave photos looking grainy and somewhat blurry, negating the whole point of the zoom.  To get the best image quality crop it to the desired area you wanted to zoom in on.  You will be left with a much crisper image.

Do Not use the Flash.

The “Flash” in the camera on your phone is NOT an actual flash but a LED light that usually casts an ill-timed light at your subject. With the editing apps described below I have never had an issue getting darkened images lighter.  They may still be a bit dark but with a little adjustment to the “Shadow slider” in most photo apps, they will look way better than the yellow light and red eye we see on my co-worker Todd.

Clean your lens

Our smart phones are always being shuffled about in our hands picking up sweat, dirt and grime.  Not ideal for a clear image. Use an eye-glass cleaner or your soft cotton shirt in a pinch to clean the lens. Look at the above image of my joy filled co-worker Todd and you can see what a dirty lens will do to your photos.  See the whispy and blurry features especially around the light objects.  That’s what a dirty lens will do.

Learn the fundamentals of photography

This is the biggest one and I saved it for last. Click HERE and the linked blog post will go into depth on this necessary knowledge.

Go out and shoot

Now make some time to try out your camera before you are actually in the situation where you want to take that great picture. Practice an indoor shot of your kid or pet, go outside into the backyard and capture your blooming flowers, get to a place where you can have a wide expanse of mountains or water. The point is to experiment and become familiar with your camera, it’s settings and changing environments. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. It’s how we all learn.

Photo Editing Apps for your Smart Phone Camera

A photo editing app is a program you download through your smartphone that will assist you in creating a better photo.

The number of apps for photography is truly mind boggling and trying to sort through them all can be frustrating and leave you abandoning the idea all together. Here are a few I have used that have turned mediocre photos into ones I really love.  I have purposely chosen ones that are free and easy to use for the beginner.  I usually just use the area of the apps that focus on being able to modify brightness, contrast, shadow, highlights, temperature and sharpness. Search the name in your phone apps provider or click on the links below from your smartphone and download.  Try them out and pick the one that best fits your style and experience level.

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