Convergence in mobile phone technology has lead to mobile phones which can be used for much more than calling. Now Camera phones as they are called are a breed of mobile phones which apart from communicating can be used for snapping photographs. There have been innovations in this field & now one can find sensors upto 12MP incorporated in mobile cameras having features like smile shutter, face detect, panorama etc. Though inspite of such advancements still a lot of mobile cameras can’t compete with standalone camera due to the size factor which bring limitations. Still one can’t deny the utility of small digital camera in your pocket in scenarios when you forget or do not bring your digital camera along. Here I’ll share my tips & experience on taking good photographs from the digital camera of your mobile phone.
Quality Parameters & Image Size:
Open your camera application & head over to settings. Here you should find “Image Size” & “Image Quality” as options. Now go inside Image Size & set the image size to the highest. Also set Image Quality to High or Super Fine as allowed by your camera. By doing the above your phone camera will now shoot & save the image in terms of best quality & resolution.
Focus means the ability to get a sharp image of the object to be photographed. Most of the low end camera phones have a lens having fixed focus which means the lens will not be able to focus on too close or too far away options. While shooting with such phones care should be taken to check that the subject ain’t too far away or too close to the camera. Most of such cameras focus properly when subject is in between 5-10 feet so its advisable to shoot in this distance. Whereas higher end camera phones have Auto-Focus mechanism which upon depressing the shutter button(Button on your camera phone which you press to take a photo) focus appropriately on to the subject to give you a clear image. You can determine whether your camera mobile lens is a fixed focus or auto focus by depressing the shutter button halfway. If you see a small box in the centre of the screen which gets green/red on shooting your camera phone is an auto focus one. Having Auto-Focus should help you take snaps at varying distances.
ISO & White Balance:
If your camera offers you the ability to alter ISO settings & White Balance then make use of it. White Balance controls the appearance of whites in your photographs. A white dress should look white irrespective of the ambient lighting. If you’re shooting in daylight set White Balance to Sunny. If under shade, set it to cloudy. If indoors, use incandescent or bulb as applicable & similar. I think you got what I mean.
ISO defines the sensitivity of the sensor. If you are shooting under low light(read indoors) or shooting fast paced action, a higher ISO should be set to get sharp & well exposed photographs. Whereas you can use lower ISO when shooting still objects or when under sufficient lighting.
Here getting close means to get close enough to the subject such that you can get a fairly big image. You need to follow this as mobile phones generally do not offer optical zooming which requires one to get close to subject. I do not recommend using the zoom(digital) of your camera phone which further depreciates the image quality. Not getting close will mean your subject mixing with the environment. The result is a poor photograph.
If your mobile has LED flash then use it when the ambient lighting is low. Cheap camera phones have a single LED which won’t help. For good illumination Xenon Flash or Dual LED flash are a must. Check your mobile manual to know the type of flash it offers.
Keep it Still:
Due to slower processors, slower memory card transfers camera phones exhibit shutter lag. Shutter lag is the delay when you depress the shutter & the time till the scene is captured by the camera. Due to shutter lag, often you miss the precious moment. Almost all mobile cameras exhibit them so it is recommended to keep your hands steady while taking photographs. Shooting with both hands offer additional stability. Also learning to anticipate the moment will come handy to counter shutter lag & capture that perfect moment.
Night, Macro, Landscape & other modes:
Night mode should be turned on when shooting at night or low light conditions. Do note however that when night mode is activated shutter lag gets aggravated & you also will need to keep your phone steady while shooting to avoid getting hazy pictures. Macro mode should be turned on when you need to photograph an object close to the lens. Macro mode will only be available if your phone supports auto-focus. Similarly you can switch to Landscape mode when shooting a scenery or to Portrait mode when photographing a person.
Manuals are provided not to sell them to scrap dealer but to give information about your phone & to use it efficiently. Going through the manual should give you tips & information on utilising the phone’s camera more effectively.
Keep on shooting:
The more pictures you take with your camera mobile the more you will able to get good pictures from it. The saying “Practise makes man Perfect” holds very true here.