Tips for better images from a Cameraphone

The modern mobile phones are no longer just gadgets for communication. Starting with the addition of the camera to the current phones providing considerable image processing power and software to perform advanced functions, the mobile phone is a creative’s delight!No matter where your muse leads you, be it writing(blogging), photography, painting/sketching its all possible with today’s phones

As an aspiring photographer I’ve always seen the mobile phones as a medium of expression, the handy set of brushes that a creative soul can carry around.Most modern mobile phone users employ the camera on their phones for the occasional quick photography situations, but if you’re really serious about your photography you can put that mobile phone camera to some serious use. The most important skill one needs to develop in order to get good images out of a camera phone is to understand its limitations and find a way to work with and around them.

Here are some tips that I found useful!

1. It’s not always about people! abstracts make good photographs too. Unless you have a good cameraphone chances are that lens on the camera is a decent to average quality, so you are not going to get awesome portraits! The wide-angle lens however can be put use for wider angle shots or trying out abstract imaging.

2. Explore your all camera features on your phone. It took me about three months to find out that my camera-phone had some nifty features like exposure compensation, image filters, different metering & focussing modes! My current smartphone is a Huawei X3 which unfortunately does away with significant features like focussing and different metering modes, but then it also offers some neat android apps like Vignette and CameraFX which are helpful with limitations imposed by the hardware.

3. Accept and get used to shutterlag and other limitations! Anybody who has ever shot an image with a cameraphone has would have noticed the delay in capturing the image once the shutter button has been pressed (termed shutter lag). This shutter lag makes the cameraphone unsuitable for shooting fast action events which the cheapest point and shoot could capture. The solution, get used to your specific cameraphone’s lag time, avoid capturing fast happening events. Then there are other limitations, like ISO or how sensitive your camera is to light.

4. Learn how to hold your phone properly to get a sharp image.Not all phones are easy to operate as cameras. Models are constantly changing moving buttons around, even getting rid of them – so if you’ve bought a new cameraphone try to shoot as many images as possible to see what is the position in which camera shake is minimal. On a related noted, please do not use the digital zoom option in your cameraphone – it’s a sure shot way of ending up with a crappy image!

5. See the light. Now that’s kind of lame statement! actually photography is all about light and how it interacts with objects in your frame, in the case of cameraphone photography it just is, more relevant. Camera sensors in your mobile phone aren’t exactly as good as the ones in full fledged point & shoots hence better light means better images. The aesthetic sense of the image also depends on how you position the light and how it interacts with subjects in the frame and its the same as for shooting with any other camera. Using a cameraphone imposes special restrictions on capturing diverse lighting conditions. I am completely aware that phone cameras have come a long way and are as good as compacts now (or even better with apps!) but if you don’t own one of those, don’t fret! There will always be a sweet-spot where the camera can perform – yes, the only way to know that is by trial and error. Once you’ve identified the range of light within which your cameraphone “performs” things get much easier.


6. Composition is an important factor when making good images, no matter what camera you’re using. Learning the fundamentals of composition will come in handy not only for your cameraphone images but in general for photography with any camera. Sticking with images with strong texture, color, shapes etc. will keep your images interesting and ofcourse if it’s a smartphone you can add some “pizazz” with apps.

Ps: Some images used in the above post were shot in a cameraphone and processed with Adobe Lightroom, rest were shot with Vignette and CameraFX apps.Images in this post were shot on Nokia N73, Samsung U900 Soul and the Huawei ideos X3

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Author: Balachandar Radhakrishnan

I work in Project Management and love music, photography & more.

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