PHONE CAMERA PHOTOGRAPHY
The best camera is the one you have with you when you want to capture that special moment in time or the unexpected shot.
A good photo is a good photo regardless of the camera.
“ A photographer went to a dinner party. After showing some of his work, the host said, “You must have a good camera.” The photographer didn’t say anything until the end of the night. When he was leaving he said, “ That was a delicious dinner. You must have a good oven.”
Obviously the portability of the mobile/cell phone is one of the benefits. It fits into a pocket or handbag easily. It is almost always with you.
It is great for taking shots discreetly. For example, in Street Photography when you want a candid shot without being observed. Turning the sound off helps to avoid being noticed. However, keep in mind camera phone etiquette and consider the impact on the subject/s. Respect the rules of museums and theatres. If possible ask permission.
The phone camera can be used as a notebook. If you see a book that you want to buy or borrow you can take a shot of it instead or writing it down. The same goes with furniture, clothing, hairstyles and receipts etc.
Another good use is to record where you parked the car in big multistory carparks. Snap the post nearest to the car showing colour/level and letter of the location.
One of the most popular benefits of the phone camera is the ability to edit and share immediately. Photos can be shared by Mail, Message, iCloud, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
A picture is worth a thousand words. For example, “Carol and friend Evodia both work for the same company but in different cities. Evodia in Melbourne and Carol in Sydney. They were having a conversation on messenger from their respective design studios. They were both planning to go to an industry talk which was traveling to both Sydney and Melbourne. Turns out the event is in Melbourne first.
So Evodia jokingly says to Carol:
"Ha! Melbourne always beats Sydney!"
Instead of replying with words, Carol took a photo out of her studio window and sent it to her saying: "beat this!"
Evodia replied with a shot out of the Melbourne studio window saying: "Ahh okay you win".
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY IS BOTH SKILL AND AN ARTFORM
USING THE CAMERA APP (iPhone)
Launch the Camera App from the Locked Screen. When your phone wakes up there is a camera icon on the bottom right hand corner. Swipe it up to open the camera app.
Launch the camera app from the Home Screen. The home screen contains all the apps on the phone. Tap the camera icon to open the app.
Launch the camera app from the Control Centre. It is faster to use the control centre. Place finger at the bottom of the screen and swipe upwards and the control centre opens. Tap the camera icon.
Launch the camera app from the Multitasking Mode. To switch quickly from one app to another that you are using, press the Home button twice. Tap on the camera app thumbnail or the icon.
Using the Viewfinder. The screen transforms into the viewfinder. Everything you see on the screen will be in the photo. You can also see other icons; Flash icon, HDR icon, Camera selection, Shooting mode menu bar, Filter icon, shutter button and the image preview thumbnail.
View finder missing filter icon
When you are ready to snap the photo, tap the shutter button on the screen or press down the Volume + or Volume – button on the side of the phone.
Preview the Image. After shooting each image a preview thumbnail appears in the bottom left hand corner. Tap this to see your photo. Then you will see a variety of options and icons. ‘Camera Roll,’ where your photos are stored. ‘Done’, ‘Edit’, (rotate, enhance, filters, red eye, filters, and crop) ‘Cancel’, ‘Undo’, ‘Revert to original’, ‘Save, ‘Trash’.
Camera roll etc missing Cancel etc
Switch Between Front and Rear Cameras. The phone has two cameras. Front facing camera and rearview camera. Tap the camera icon to change it from front camera to rear camera. Front facing camera is for ‘selfies.’ The rear camera has a much higher resolution then the front facing camera.
Front and Back
Switch Between Portrait and Landscape Modes. Portrait mode (longways) is good for close up to the subject where the background is not important. Landscape is good where the background is important to put the subject in context. It is good for large groups and large objects and landscapes.
Activate the AE/AF Lock. When you try to take a person the automatic face detection focus square shows up. More than one can appear. What ever is in the box will be in focus and properly exposed. When there are no people in the photo the Automatic Focus/Automatic Exposure box may not appear. To make it appear top where your focal point is and the box will appear. If you are taking multiple shots of the same thing you can hold your finger down until the box pulses and that keeps AF/AE turned on.
Zoom. To zoom in use your thumb and index finger and pinch them together on the screen. The zoom slider will appear. Use your finger to drag the slider dot. However, zoom tends to increase blurriness and noise. You need plenty of light and use HDR . It is far better to crop to bring the subject closer than to use zoom because you enlargen the subject not the pixels..
HDR Mode. High Dynamic Range should be used in low light situations. Each time you press the shutter button it takes 3 or 4 photos at different exposures. Then the photos are quickly combined which offers better clarity and a more true representation of what you saw. To turn HDR on tap the icon at the top of the viewfinder. You can keep both photos the original image and the HDR image if you go to phone settings and tap on photo and camera option and turn on or off the ‘keep normal photo’.
HDR Mode Viewfinder
Use of the Grid. Another feature you can turn on and off in ‘settings’ is the camera grid. This will help with the rule of thirds. It doesn’t appear on the photo.
Shooting Modes. Depends on the model of phone. The menu bar is above the shutter button. Slide it to access each mode. ‘Slo-Mo’, ‘Video’, ‘Photo’, ‘Square’, ‘Pano’, and ’Burst’. As above
Filters. It is possible to incorporate special effects filters. Tap the filter icon (or edit icon)You can choose the filter before you shoot or you can add them to a photo after wards. Many photographers suggest not to use in camera filters but to edit with a powerful program on your computer for much better effects. Develop your own style of editing rather than picking your favourite filter for every photo.
Filter options bar
Flash. The flash is a bright white LED flash, although the newer phone cameras have a ‘True Tone Flash’, which is better. Tap the flash icon to turn on, off or auto. Most photographers say ditch the flash because the colour temperature is wrong. The flash gives your subjects yellow skin, demon eyes and motion blur, it doesn’t freeze action. There is only so far you can push a phone camera sensor in low light. (Dealing with low light will be mentioned later.)
Panoramic. Select from the shooting mode menu. Hold the phone camera in an upright (Portrait) position. There will be a yellow line and a large white arrow. Position the camera to the extreme left or right if you tap the arrow to change the direction. Tap the shutter button and pan slowly in a steady horizontal motion. Either press the shutter button to stop or wait until the arrow reaches the other side. If this option is not available you can take a series of shots and stitch them together with a post processing app.
As above Viewfinder missing pano on shooting mode bar
Burst. By holding the shutter button down the camera will take continuous photos. This is a good option for sporting events and birds in flight. Newer phones have Burst on Shooting Mode menu bar. Tap the thumbnail it will take you to Camera Roll. You will see a thumbnail of a pile of photos. Tap that thumbnail. Then tap favourites. At the bottom there is a strip with grey dots under some photos. These are the ones that the camera thinks are the best. Tap the circle in the lower corner of the ones you want to keep. Tap done when you have chosen your favourites.
Geotagging. Your phone camera can record metadata like the time and date and location of the photo. You can display a map to show where the photo was taken. The down side is if you want to publish the photo it will tell those able to view the photo where you are/were. If you don’t want people to know where you are you can turn off geotagging. In settings tap Privacy from the submenu tap Location Services. You can leave Location Services on for other apps but scroll down and turn off the switch for the Camera option.
Map of fruit photo, Privacy, Location Services, Camera
Screen Shot. To take a screen shot press the Sleep wake button and the Home button at the same time.
Keep the Lens Clean. Because the phone is traveling with you everywhere in pockets and bags, the lens gets dirty and fingerprints. Remember to wipe it before you start taking photos or you will have misty, smudgy shots.
Also be careful not to put your fingers in front of the lens when shooting.
Choose the Highest Quality Possible. Some phones allow you to choose resolution. Always use the highest possible resolution because of the small sensor. This will make the file larger and longer to send/share.
Anticipate Shutterlag. Get used to your phone camera’s shutter speed. It is slow. So when something interesting happens you will have a good idea when to press the shutter button and press it many times or hold it down to burst.
Keep Still. You need to hold the phone camera still for longer than usual, especially in low light. Use both hands and stabalise the camera by bracing your arms against your body or on a fence and hold your breath.
The Rocks in rain
Too Much Light on the Viewfinder. We all know the problem of the sun shining on the LDC screen and you can’t see to compose the shot. This is difficult to combat. Try to move into the shade to take the shot. Cup your hand over the screen. You can alter the brightness of the screen from the control centre, just push your finger up from the bottom of the screen to access the control centre. You might have to guesstimate the shot and then go into the shade to check it and try again if necessary. You can invest in a anti glare protective film to stick on the screen. Body Guardz$15-$30.
Check. Remember to check that your battery is charged. Check the settings are what you want. Check the usage. Make sure you have enough storage space in your phone before setting of on a photoshoot.
Settings, General, Usage, Photo & Camera
Now you have the skill lets get creative.
Remember a good photo tells a story, evokes emotion and engages the viewer.
Sandra Forbes Storm Clouds
Just as in camera photography there are rules and tips to help you take creative pictures. It is your knowledge, skill and your photographer’s eye that will make a good photo.
Post Processing. There are many third party photo apps (listed later) that you can install to help make your photos look better. Apple has their own iPhoto, which is an excellent post processing tool. Having post processing apps in the phone is a good idea if you are traveling and don’t have your computer with you. However, when you have access to your computer, it is better to import your photos and use a more powerful post processing tool like Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. Take shots in colour you can change them to b/w but not the other way around.
Don’t throw away mistakes until you have checked them on your computer. It is a much better screen than the phone. Sometimes blur can be effective.
The rocks ruin
Light and Composition are the most important elements in good photography.
Light. In phone camera photography light is extremely important. The subject needs to be lit well. Learn to read the light. Always be aware of the light source make it a habit of noticing the different light situations. Light changes all the time with the time of day and weather conditions. Avoid direct sunlight; overcast days are best for faces.
Alfred Pleyer’s Face
The golden hour just before sunset and the blue hour just before sunrise can make stunning shots. Before and after these times is a nice light too.
Rain clouds and sun
The primary light source in general should be in front of your subject and behind the photographer. However this rule can be broken and still produce interesting shots. Two situations where you are facing the light source is when you are taking sunsets and sunrises. This can create interesting silhouettes. A sunset always looks more interesting with a silhouette in the foreground to give depth to the photo.
Watch out for lens flare. It is a trend these days to include a flare but it can be over done. However it can create interesting shots. A tiny lens can give whacky light effects.
Careful of flare, Carol’s Eiffel Tower.
Move the sun around in the frame. To capture foreground detail, just lower the camera to below the sun and keep it out of the frame.
Move sun around Carol
You can buy a polarizing lens to clip on or you can use a third party App. You can also use your sunglasses as a polarizing lens.
Low Light. This causes the most problems with phone photography. In the evening, in the shade or indoors the phone camera gets much more sensitive to movement so the images often appear blurry, noisy (grainy) , out of focus, discoloured and pixilated instead of being vivid and sharp.
Banjo chatting up the barmaid
So try to add more light to the scene. Turn on lights inside. Stand subject near a neon sign.
Hold the camera as still as possible. Brace arms, hold your breath, stand it on something solid. You can get a tripod for a phone camera.
Turn on HDR, it will make full use of the available light and capture as much as possible in a more efficient way.
Don’t use zoom it makes it grainier. It is better to crop later.
Don’t use a filter. It is better to add it later.
Take the photo with a third party app like HDR Pro.
Post process with a third party app like Photoshop Touch.
Use a powerful editing app on your computer.
Manually activate the AE/AF setting. Slide it onto the subject or a light patch or a dark patch.
Use a flash but this can cause problems too.
You can never match the bright light of day.
Carol inside museum
Using the Flash. Pay attention to the range. If you are too close it will be washed out, discoloured and produce red eyes. If you are too far away it will be too dark.
Red eye boy
Keep the subject away from walls, mirrors, and windows. Glasses and earings can cause flares.
Hair, hats and noses cause shadows.
There are external flashes available for phone cameras.
But it is best to turn off the flash and use HDR, especially to capture ambient light. A candle lit table or a fireplace needs ambient light and a flash would drown it out.
Carol-Ann’s restaurant table
Composition. Remember the Rule of Thirds. Don’t plonk the subject in the middle of the shot. Use the grid and keep the focal point on the intersections or along the lines.
Boy in surf selfie
Keep the horizon straight and on one of the lines. You can use the crop tool to balance the photo properly.
Change Angles and Perspective to be creative. Get down low for landscapes and little children. Use portrait mode. Take shots looking down onto the subject. Keep walking in the scene and take shots from different vantage points.
Take Panoramic Shots but be very careful where the light source is. Don’t pan through the sun it will cause unwanted flares.
Get up Close. This is especially necessary for good photos with a phone camera. It has a small sensor with a wide depth of field and everything is in focus so to make the focal point obvious block out the background by getting up close. It also blocks out the light, which the camera is metering. It helps give structure and avoid a flattened perspective. Therefore small objects will show detail like a macro shot. Getting up close avoids the need to crop but be careful not to get distortion.
Depth of Field. Getting a narrow Depth Of Field is always a challenge with a phone camera but adding a fake a blur can make it worse and look unnatural. Blur added is not how a lens works. An app makes the blur uniform with a sharp transition from sharp to blurry. Just try to keep the background simple and not distracting. Get up close. Black out the background. However it is possible to blur the background a little if you put the subject far way from the background and use portrait mode.
Show Depth. Use leading lines and the ‘s’ curve to keep the viewer engaged and give depth to the photo. Placing an object in the foreground also gives depth to the photo but be careful where the focal point is and make sure it is in focus and not the object in front unless that is the subject. Be careful not to have distracting colours, patches of light, reflections or shiny objects in the frame taking the viewers eye away from the main focal point.
S curve leads eye to the subject, the castle. Gives depth to photo.
Put something in the foreground to give depth to the photo.
Show Scale. When taking bugs or small objects have a hand , finger or common object in the shot to give a sense of size. For large structures use a person or a car to show the size of the structure.
Person on the mountain
Focal Point. Make sure the focal point is obvious. Use rule of thirds, leading lines and colour.
Rule of thirds and colour.
Framing. Frame the shots to highlight the subject.
Use tree to frame subject.
MORE TIPS FOR MAKING GOOD PHONE CAMERA PHOTOS
Take loads of Shots. Use different angles and different lighting and later choose the best.
Taking Moving Subjects. You need a good sense of timing when taking moving objects, animals and people. You can pan with the moving person or object, which keeps the subject in focus but the background blurry to show movement. In sports photos it is good to capture facial expressions when the participant has done something good. Preset everything before the subject moves into the shot. Then when it comes into the frame shoot in burst mode.
Pan with moving Bicycle Taxi,
Taking Shots When You are Moving. Keep the phone as still as possible, hold your breath; brace your elbows into your body. Use the app Camera+ to show you the levels and use image stabilization.
through car front window
Timing. You need to be patient to take candid shots. You may have to wait for the right moment. Of kids, people and pets. Keep your distance, use zoom or preferably crop. You can capture spontaneity and emotion
Use Reflections. Be careful of unwanted flares from reflections.
Taking Shots Through Glass. Turn off flash. Clean windows. Hold as steady as possible. Use optional Pro HDR app.
Shooting Buildings. Use the rule of thirds. Use different perspectives. Utilize foreground. Use fish eye lens attachment.
Use AF?AE lock to change the place of metering the light.
Taking People. There are two types of shots candid and posed. When posed you tell the subject where to be. Make sure there is no harsh light causing shadows. Give them a prop to help them relax.
Candid shots can capture authentic emotions and actions. The purpose of a candid shot is to capture the moment in time. You need to be unobtrusive and as inconspicuous as possible allowing your subjects to get on with what they are doing. Turn the sound on your phone off.
try black and white but it is best to change to b?w in post processing you can't change it back to colour from the camera.
Try candid shots. Get up close.
Group Shots. Everyone needs to be clearly seen in the viewfinder. Everyone needs to be doing the same thing at the same time. Watch for unwanted shadows, check the light source and choose the right angle. Always take several shots in a row to hopefully capture everyone doing the same thing. Use Panoramic for large groups.
Babies. Get down to their level. Give them a toy. Be patient and wait until they look into the camera.
Animals. Focus on the eyes.
Travel Photos. Take photos to tell a story in chronological order. Take Candid shots of people and combine them with places. Take sunsets and sun rises.. Turn on HDR. Using AE/AF lock tap the screen in different places to get different lighting effects. Editing app can boost the colours. Don’t use flash. There are a variety of apps that can tell you the time the sun will set and rise. Map-a-Pic even tells you where to take the pic.
take inside hotel
There are many other things to learn.
How to use iPhoto.
How to view, organize, edit and share your photos using the photo app.
Learning to use third party apps. Here are some:
Photo FX Ultra, Camera+, Camera Awesome, Snapseed, Mobli, Photoshop Touch, Instagram, iPhoto, Map-a-Pic.
Discover iCloud’s Photo Stream and Shared Photo Stream
Other ways to share your photos.